We first encountered seafood Paella on the Mediterranean coast where the Valencians prepared the authentic rice dish with clams and mussels still in the shells and served the meal sizzling hot from a paella pan. The dish had been cooked over a hot wood-fire grill which gave the Bomba rice a delicious, smokey crunch.
Once back home, we “Americanized” the recipe by adding ocean fresh Maine lobster to the traditional clams and mussels creating a spectacular Lobster Seafood Paella.
Valencian Seafood Paella is a wonderful dish known all through the Mediterranean as a traditional peasant meal cooked over a wood fire grill and served from the pan. The presentation is spectacular and the recipe delicious and easily scaled for any size dinner party. The wonderful presentation of the lobster, shellfish, rice and vegetables create a dish suitable for any occasion. While the wood fired grill is the traditional cooking method, any outdoor grill or indoor stove top can be used.
Ingredients for dinner for four (scale for more people):
- 4 1-Pound Lobsters (or larger)
- 2 pounds Medium Shrimp
- ½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 medium Spanish Onions, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 pounds Ripe Plum Tomatoes, chopped
- ½ Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- ½ cup Dry White Wine
- ¼ cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 ½ cups Parsley Leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Bomba (Calasparra) Paella Rice (or other light brown, small to medium light grain rice)
- 1 tablespoon Crushed Saffron
- 20 Fresh Littleneck Clams washed and scrubbed
- 20 Fresh Mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 1 ½ Cups Fresh (Or Frozen) Green Peas
- In a large kettle, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the lobsters two at a time over high heat. Cook until bright red — about 6 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a plate and set aside.
- In the same kettle, add shrimp and cook until pink — about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool in a bowl.
- When cool, peel the shrimp and add the shells to the boiling water. Place the peeled shrimp aside and cover.
- Twist the tails and claws from lobsters. Use a large chef’s knife to cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Crack the claws with the knife. Remove sac from bodies. Set the lobster aside and cover.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer shrimp-shell mixture to make two quarts of fish stock for paella, about 30 minutes (Add water if necessary) Strain liquid and set aside.
- When fish stock is ready, warm olive oil in 13-inch paella pan (15-inch if available) over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté five minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, and white wine and simmer about one minute. Stir in pepper and salt. Stir in parsley.
- Stir in 1 quart fish stock and add rice. Stir in saffron. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add a second quart of fish stock. Stir in clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster (tails, claws and bodies). Stir in peas.
- Stirring occasionally, cook until all the clams and mussels are open, about five to seven minutes. Discard unopened clams and mussels.
- Bring paella pan to the table and place on a heat-safe pad and serve immediately.
If you like this Lobster Seafood Paella recipe you may also wish to try our Boston Style Lobster Fra Diavolo recipe, the king of all spicy lobster dishes.
© Wayne Howe 2014