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Courtesy El Raval

Hey, Playa — Try This Paella

Celebrate National Paella Day on March 27 with this scrumptious recipe for the iconic Spanish dish.

Neil Patrick Harris is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wondercade. In his spare time he also acts — fairly well, too, as his Tony and Emmy Awards can attest.

March 27, 2024 2:44 pm

The iconic, saffron-saturated rice dish from Spain is always a flavor-packed sensation that wows a crowd. (But hey, if you want to sit on your couch and spoon this baby out of the pan solo, you do you. Love that for you.) Today, to celebrate National Paella Day, we’ve got a recipe from Chef Laila Bazahm of El Raval in Austin, Texas.

“I picked up the art of making paella from my mom, but our version was a Filipino twist called Arroz Valenciana, quite different from the authentic paella of Valencia,” says Chef Laila. “It’s essential to devote ample time to developing the flavorful broth, whether it’s seafood-based or made from chicken. Cooking the sofrito, a crucial step, demands patience, often requiring 5 to 6 hours to achieve its full depth of flavor. As for ingredients, I exclusively use bomba rice from Valencia for its superior ability to absorb the broth. Opt for the freshest vegetables, seafood or meats available to elevate the dish further.” -NPH

Paella de Mariscos (Seafood Paella)

Servings: 3 servings

Copy Ingredients

For the allioli:
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 cups pomace oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
For the sofrito:
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil (recommended: Arbequina)
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
For the ajillo:
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2.5 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (recommended: Arbequina)
For the paella rice:
  • 18 oz., or about 10 cuttlefish or sepia, cleaned and gutted
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 3 Tbsp. sofrito
  • 1 cup bomba rice
  • 1 cup fino sherry
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • 2 scallops
  • 4 prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 7 mussels (recommended: PEI)
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil (recommended: Arbequina)

Copy Directions

  • Make the allioli
    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    2. Coat the garlic bulb in oil and salt, wrap it in tin foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour.

    3. Once the garlic cloves are soft, squeeze them out of the skins straight into a blender. Add the raw garlic and egg yolk, blend to a paste for a few minutes, then slowly drizzle in the oil until it emulsifies. Add the salt and parsley to season and then refrigerate until needed.

  • Make the sofrito
    1. Coat a pan set over medium heat with olive oil and sauté all ingredients except the tomatoes and sweat for about 15 minutes.

    2. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring for about an hour or until everything caramelizes. Set aside.

  • Make the ajillo
    1. Blitz the garlic, parsley and oil in a blender until a paste and set aside.

  • Make the paella rice
    1. Dice the cuttlefish and slice the spring onions.

    2. Place a pan over high heat, add a splash of olive oil, and add the cuttlefish, then the sofrito. Sauté until golden.

    3. Lower the heat to medium, then add the sliced spring onions. Sweat down until any excess liquid has evaporated.

    4. Add the rice to the pan and toast for a minute or so. Add the sherry and cook until the sherry has evaporated completely, then add a ladle of seafood stock. Once that stock has evaporated, add another ladle of stock. Repeat until the rice is cooked al dente about 30 minutes.

    5. Once the rice is ready, stir in the ajillo.

    6. In a separate pan set over high heat, sear the scallops and prawns with a splash of olive oil being careful not to overcook.

    7. Add the mussels and a cup of seafood stock over to a pot and cook for about 2 minutes.

    8. Place the mussels, prawns and scallops on the paella rice and top with the allioli. Garnish with microgreens or chives and serve it with a wedge of lemon.

Notes: Store-bought stock may be used and the allioli may be made a day beforehand. If pomace oil and Arbequina olive oil are unavailable, any good extra virgin olive oil can be substituted.

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