I hesitate to call it paella, even though that's what it was intended to be. We didn't follow a recipe, but rather made it up as I went along, and it wasn't even cooked in a paella pan. So instead, let's call it Spanish-style seafood rice.
After a scorching weekend in the sun, we fancied something light yet comforting. A big delicious Pimms-fuelled lunch by the riverside at The Ship in Wandsworth knocked us out; after a quick lie-down on Clapham Common, we headed back home South East, raiding the shops on the way to knock this up.
The subtle saffron flavour in the rice, pepped up with the paprika smokiness of the chorizo and the freshness of the lemon gives this dish a really summery feel. White fish, added at the last minute to just cook through isn't the most strongly flavoured meat but a tin of smoked mussels bought on a last minute whim added an extra seafood oompf.
Spanish-Style Seafood Rice
500gr paella rice
1 onion, diced
7 cloves of garlic, minced
2l fish stock
150ml white wine
1 tsp thyme
5 tbsp chopped parsley
A large pinch of saffron
400gr firm white fish - we used cod
1 tin of smoked mussels
1 bulb of fennel, sliced thinly
2 sweet red pointed peppers, chopped roughly
100gr cherry tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
Heat the fish stock so that it is at a very gentle simmer. Add the saffron strands. In a large pan, heat the oil from the tin of smoked mussels and add the onion and garlic and cook on a low heat. After 10 minutes, add the paprika. Chop the chorizo roughly and add to the pan, along with the thyme. Once the chorizo has released its oils, add the rice and stir to cover. Add the white wine and simmer until it has been absorbed. Add the sweet peppers and the fennel, then add 1.5l of the stock. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. If it's looking dry, add more stock. Don't stir it too much or the rice will go mushy.
Next, chop the fish into large chunks and halve the cherry tomatoes. Add both to the pan, stir very carefully and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat, scatter the parsley over the dish and put the lid on, leaving to stand for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning - I found it needed an aggressive hand with salt - before serving with lemon wedges.