I like to eat food that tastes good. I like to do this even when I can’t go out to eat, or when I don’t have hours to spend cooking a gourmet dinner. Since I was starving when I got home from work the other night, I knew I had to cook up something fast or give in to the loud, buzzing call of the pizza box. I had shrimp in the freezer and saffron in the cabinet so I decided to whip up a variation on a paella.
This is an extremely simplified version of a Spanish paella, which usually includes multiple types of protein (mmmm, chorizo) and is quite labor intensive to prepare. Did you know that paella was traditionally a peasant food, cooked over an open fire? Paella is distinguished from other rice dishes by the yellow color it gets from the saffron. Mine didn’t turn out terribly yellow, but there’s always next time, right? One thing I really love about paella is how customizable it is. Sure, it’s a traditional dish, but it’s easy to make it your own using different combinations of seafood, meat, and vegetables. Don’t be afraid to experiment - I might go with a pulled pork paella next time.
Simple Shrimp Paella
Adapted from Food.com:
Serves 3-4 people
Glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
pinch of saffron threads
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups fresh or frozen shrimp
1. Preheat your oven to 450, then heat the olive oil over medium heat. Use a paella dish if you have on, and an ovensafe pan if you don’t.
2. Meanwhile, combine the broth and the saffron in a saucepan on another burner and begin to warm the mixture.
3. Once the olive oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about five minutes, or until translucent.
4. Add the cumin and paprika and continue cooking.
5. Add the rice and just a teensy bit more olive oil, then cook the rice, stirring occasionally. Do this for about two minutes.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes and the shrimp.
7. Transfer entire pan to the oven and cook, covered, until broth is completely absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
8. Serve immediately! I ate mine with some crusty bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil. A - mazing!