Love Spring! It's not just the greenery outside that wakes up my senses, star vegetables appearing in the market, but also something's happening under the sea! =D
Asari ( あさり ) is making a loud comeback! See picture on the left ( lifted from the internet ) for its looks for I have no idea what's this shell's name is called in English. Apologies. It is said that the best time to have Asari is Spring and Autumn, when they are the most fleshy and sweet!
There are pretty lots of ways to use these tasty shells but I decided to use them for this Paella one evening. I shall share other recipes one of these days.
The Asari shells play a vital part in providing a good base, just add other favourite seafood to make it complete! We love the tasty rice that blends so well with the seafood. There are various versions of Seafood Paella around the world, but I'm sharing this simple homemade recipe that never fails to please my husband so much!
Recipe for Seafood Paella
Utensil required : 1 large pan, mine is 30 cm diameter. Lid for covering pan.
Ingredients ( Serves 2 )
Rice : 1 standard cup or 155g
Seafood stock : 350ml ( Preparation explained below )
Asari : 300g ( shell intact )
Other seafood : Prawn, squid, scallop, crab, or any seafood you fancy, keeping in mind the volume to serve and cholesterol level to keep at safe
Paprika : 1 big piece ( I used half or a red and yellow one )
Mushroom : 2 large mushroom, thickly sliced
Carrot : 1/2, and cut into wedges
Tomato : Medium size, cut into 6 large wedges
Onion : 1/2, sliced
Garlic : 1 large clove, minced
Curry , Saffron or Turmeric powder : 1 tablespoon
Ketchup : 2 tablespoon
Soy sauce or fish sauce : 1 tablespoon ( without which, replace with a firm pinch of salt )
White wine : 150ml
Olive oil : 2 tablespoon
Preferred herbs like thyme, rosemary and etc is optional.
Garnish : Broccoli stalks and a quarter of lemon
1. Prepare Asari by soaking them in water and 1 large teaspoon of salt for at least 20 mins, placing them in a dim place. This makes the Asari spit out sand or particles, thus making them cleaner to consume. After which, wash Asari by rubbing palm harshly upon them. Drain and wash again until the waste water has appeared much cleaner.
2. Wash and devein prawn without removing the shell. Use knife to cut the prawn's back to do so. Leaving shell intact produces a better flavour. Wash up other seafood and land them in a bowl. Dash salt and pepper 2 times, quick stir, pour 150ml white wine over and put aside.
3. Wash rice, put aside.
4. Prepare seafood stock by boiling seafood cubes or powder concentrate in water. I am using scallop concentrate for mine. Boil 1/3 teaspoon of concentrate in slightly more than 350ml of water. Taste to make sure that it is bland, not too salty.
5. In the large diameter pan, fry the washed rice at medium fire to rid excess moisture. This makes the rice absorb the stock readily. Perform frying for about a minute and remove from pan.
6. In the same pan, heat olive oil at medium fire, fry minced garlic, onion slices till fragrant.
7. Add rice in, stir fry to get a well mix. Add in curry powder, ketchup and fry mixture evenly to get a uniform color.
8. Switch off fire. Add in stock, soy sauce or replacement, extract the white wine soaked within seafood into the pan. Stir well, and spread rice evenly across pan. Spread ingredients across the pan, spaced apart, following the order : Asari, seafood, carrot, paprika, tomato and lastly mushroom.
9. Cover pan with lid, cook at high heat till the mixture is brought to boil, with the Asari shells opened apart. Reduce heat to medium and cook. Check the Paella once every 10 mins, it could be ready by 20 mins later. You'd know that it's ready when the mixture looks moist but the soup is gone. Do not overcook Paella or it will cause an awful burn at the bottom of the mixture. While waiting, prepare garnish by boiling broccoli stalks in another pan with water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, put aside when done.
10. When Paella's done, switch off the fire, chuck broccoli stalks in and leave lid on for 5 mins, let the thing infuse. Serve with lemon squishes.
I have lovely memories of delicious Seafood Paella tried in Australia, Italy and especially Belgium. They were really heavenly with the fresh, plump and extravagant seafood, that often make me reminisce much. We've tried many others around Japan, but sadly; none has managed to satisfy us.
My husband loves this homemade-possible Seafood Paella absolutely, thus I'm pleased that this has become a surprisingly good substitute, and also, one recipe that settles dinner rather easily. ;)