Paella is a rice dish to be shared. Traditionally it comes from the Valencia region of Spain. The largest paella pan known is used at festivals and has reportedly fed 1,000 people at a time. Any combination of fish, seafood and vegetables will work well. This recipe is for neutral paella without either lung or liver building food so that everyone can enjoy it. Only those poor souls who are allergic to shell fish must avoid it.
Serves 4 as a main course or 8 at a potluck
1 cup short grain white rice, pearl or Arborio
3/4 lb. of firm fish, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 lb. prawns, shelled and deveined with tails left on
3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
8 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
1 (16 oz.) can salt free crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup clam juice (lowest sodium available)
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup almond oil
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 Tbs. minced fresh dill
1/2 cup capers or caper berries
Drain the capers, place in a bowl and pour at least 2 cups of boiling water over them. Let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain them and repeat the process. This will remove most of the salt and vinegar.
Clean the prawns, cut up the vegetables and the fish.
Combine the water, clam juice and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a flat bottom pan. (If you don’t have a paella pan a saute pan with a lid that can go in the oven will work.) Quickly brown the fish cubes. Remove them to a plate before they finish cooking. Do the same with the prawns.
Using the same pan and oil, saute the celery and mushrooms a few minutes. Add the rice and saute until the rice is coated with oil and loses some of its whiteness.
Add the hot liquid, and boil the mixture for approximately 10 minutes until it is thicker yet still has enough liquid to finish cooking the rice (add water if necessary).
Add the partially cooked fish, capers and the chopped herbs. Mix together then place the prawns on top in an attractive pattern. Put the covered pan in the oven at 400 degrees F. or continue cooking on the stove top on low heat.
Remove the pan from the oven when the rice appears done (about 20 minutes). Fluff gently with a fork without disturbing the prawns. Cover again and let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.