Seafood Paella

I recently took a trip to Spain and I made it a point to order Paella at almost every restaurant where it was served. It was my goal to truly get a feel for the dish and create my own version once I got home. 

What makes Paella wonderful is the fact that it can truly be made up of anything you’d like. While I always order paella with chicken and/or seafood. Paella is often made with sausage, rabbit, and with simple vegetables. What is the same across the board, however, is the use of Spanish Saffron. Without this key ingredient, your Paella will lack the distinct taste that it is famous for. 

If you don’t already have Spanish Saffron in your cupboard, check out your local speciality food stores. I’ve had luck at Whole Foods in the past.


2 large pinches Spanish Saffron
3 lobster tails
3/4 lb peeled, deveined shrimp or prawns
1 cup Arborio rice or Short grain rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 large ripe tomato (diced)
Juice of 1 large ripe tomato
1 small-medium sized green bell pepper
1 small-medium sized red bell pepper
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Ras el Hanout Spice
*NOTE: I’ve purchased this Whole Foods and Trader Joes in the past. But it may also be found at your local Middle Eastern food store.
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 lemon

Shrimp seasoning: 
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Ras el Hanout Spice (optional)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Step 1: Dice tomato, onion, and green and red bell peppers. Set aside.

Step 2: Boil 4-5 cups of water and add lobster tails. Allow the tails to boil for about 1-2 minutes or until they turn pink. Remove tails from water. Cool and remove lobster meat from tails. Set aside for later use.

Step 3: Rinse and place shrimp in clean bowl. Season with shrimp seasoning ingredients mentioned above.

Step 4: Place saffron into a small bowl of about 1/2 cup water. Let it soak for about 10 minutes.

Step 5: In large pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and whole cloves of peeled garlic. Stir over medium-high heat until onions become golden in color. Add bell peppers and stir for about a minute. Then add tomatoes and continue to stir until tomatoes are tender.




Step 6: Rinse rice in a stainer and add to pan. Stir all ingredients for about 3 minutes. The add 1 1/2 cups of water to pan and stir again. Slowly add salt, crushed red pepper, paprika, Ras el Hanout, and cayenne pepper. Be sure to give the paella a taste to see if you’d like to add additional salt or spice.


Step 7: Add saffron threads and water it has been soaking in. Add tomato juice and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then decrease to low-medium heat. Cover the pan.


Step 8: Continue to check the paella every 5-10 as it cooks. Liquid should decrease and rice should be tender when ready. This should take about 30-40 minutes. If you are worried about burning the rice at the bottom, decrease heat to low.

Step 9: When rice is fully cooked, add shrimp. Try to poke the shrimp into the rice so that they can cook quickly and thoroughly. Cover pan again until shrimp is pink and fully cooked.



Step 10: Add lobster meat and frozen peas. Cover again until peas are cooked and lobster meat is reheated.

Step 11: Sprinkle with chopped parsley and add sliced lemon to make it extra pretty.


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