Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Last month my husband and I celebrated the 15 year marriage anniversary and we wanted to have a special lunch, just the two of us. We chose a restaurant where they had paella on the menu, as I was very curious to try it cooked in a professional way and, of course, to reproduce it later in my kitchen at home... The restaurant seafood paella was delicious and at home I made sure not to use the cheapest seafood. Mussels without shells are good when I find them here and there and that's all. Also, as exotic as it might look with the shell-on shrimp on top, it's actually a nightmare to eat paella at the same time you clean the shrimp and all that splatter, oh... You can leave only the tail on. This is something we can do at home, carefully cleaning some shrimp won't be such a big problem.

My homemade seafood paella was a total success, although the whole process requires a bit of attention - buying the seafood and the fish, cleaning and pre-cooking them - but it's worth every minute you spent. It's got outstanding taste, different and whole, and the serving will be spectacular at any meal.

For us, it became one of the dearest dishes which I cook when we want to feel spoiled. Soon I will show you the chicken version, a bit easier, but the seafood paella still is a lot more special.


Short grain rice
300 ml
You can use simple Camolino (brand) rice or Arborio (brand) rice for a more original texture
Fresh fish
1 piece
here I used sea bass, but you can also use trout or dorade (gilthead brim) etc.
Fresh shrimps
300 g
raw, preferably shell-on shrimp
Seafood mix
500 g
you can buy an already made mix or you can make your favourite seafood combination
Fresh black mussels
500 g
optionally, but paella decorated with black mussels looks great
Tomato puree
200 ml
Red peppers
1 piece
2 pieces
Garlic cloves
4 pieces
Celery root
100 g
and a small parsley root or some parsley leaves
50 g
Olive oil
100 ml
0.25 tsp
optionally, 1/4 tsp
1 tbsp
to taste
White dry wine
100 ml
0.5 tsp
and chili flakes, optionally
0.5 pieces

Step by step


First, we prepare the stock for paella, what we need is a delicious fish soup preferably combined with a shrimp soup.

So, take the fish (I had sea bass) and, using a knife, carefully cut the fish fillets (find tutorials on how to fillet a fish on Youtube).


Place the bones, the heads and the remaining bits in a stockpot. Add the celery (sticks or root), some parsley and an onion.

Pour enough water to cover them completely, place over heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. At the end, adjust with salt, turn off heat and allow the flavours to blend for another hour.


While the soup is cooking, there is plenty of time to clean the shrimp: remove the shells, the heads etc. I only left the tails on to look nicer, but it's optional. 

Find Youtube tutorials on how to clean shrimp correctly.


Melt 10-20g butter in a small saucepan and place the empty shrimp shells. Fry and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.


Pour in 200ml water and 100ml white wine demi-sec. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.


And, at the end, if you have saffron, I recommend steeping it in 50ml hot boiling water for 10-15 minutes. 

So, here we have the saffron, the fish soup and the shrimp soup.


Strain the soups then pour some from each soup and the saffron water into a measuring jug. You should have 600ml fish/shrimp stock combined with saffron water. If there is any remaining fish/shrimp stock, just freeze it and use it next time when making paella. 

Measure the rice using the same measuring jug, you need 300ml - that is half of the quantity of the stock. 

Then another 200ml tomato paste or crushed tomatoes.


Semi-preparing the seafood: 

Prepare the seafood mix in advance - thaw, wash, make sure it's clean.

I prefer to make my own seafood mixes, I buy peeled and deveined shrimp, squid, mussels etc. I clean and rinse them, I combine and make portions. I freeze them in small bags and use them whenever I need. 


Quickly cook the seafoon in a skillet with a little olive oil or butter. 

Tip onto a plate and set aside.


Do the same with the fish fillets we cut at step 1: quickly cook in oil in a skillet.  

Then the cleaned shrimp, the ones with their tail on. Tip onto a plate and set aside for now.


Wash the mussels. One way of preparing them would be simply boiling them in water with salt until they open.

Or you can cook them in butter and a little wine, just like in the Moules Mariniere recipe which you can find on my website. I prefer to prepare them like this, I only use a few for paella and we just enjoy the rest :) I also explained how to clean them correctly in the same recipe.

And make sure you discard the mussels which do not open after cooking.


Prepare the paella:

Pour a little olive oil in a large saucepan of about 28-30 cm in diameter. Add in 1 onion and 1 pepper cut into small dices. Fry for about 5-10 minutes, until they start to brown slightly.


Stir in the finely chopped garlic, mix and cook for 1-2 more minutes.


Add the rice, oregano and, optionally, chili flakes, stir well.


Stir in the tomato sauce.


Now pour in 600ml of stock, the soup mixture we prepared earlier.

Mix to combine and taste, adjust with salt, if needed.


Boil over high heat for 5-7 minutes.


Now stir in the fried seafood cocktail and the fried fish fillets.

Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, without mixing.


After 15 minutes, turn the heat to high again for 5-10 minutes, so that paella can brown slightly at the base.


5 minutes before turning off the heat, arrange the fried shrimp on top and the open mussels. 

Finally, turn off heat and let sit without a lid on, allowing all the flavours to blend for 10-15 minutes before serving the paella.

Savour the paella, maybe with lemon slices on top, let yourselves be amazed, it is fantastically tasty...


Quantity: 5 servings (28-30cm pan)
Prep time: 60 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Ready in: 120 min
Publish date:

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