Vary this recipe as you wish—the shellfish may be eliminated, other fish added. Just be sure to keep the basic proportions the same.
- ¾ pound halibut steak, or similar fish
- Coarse salt
- ¾ pound small shrimp, in their shells
- 7 cups water
- A ¾-pound whiting, cleaned, head on
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 1 small onion, peeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 lobsters, 1¼–1½ pounds each, split lengthwise (optional)
- 3 medium squid , cleaned and cut in rings
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, skinned and chopped
- 3 cups short grain rice
- ¼ cup peas
- ¼ teaspoon saffron, crumbled
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 pimientos, imported, cut in strips
- 18 small mussels
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish
- Lemon wedges for garnish
Skin and bone the halibut, then cut into l½-inch cubes. Reserve the scraps. Sprinkle the halibut pieces with coarse salt and let sit until ready to use. Shell the shrimp and reserve the shells. In a large pot place 7 cups water, the reserved shrimp shells, the halibut scraps, whiting, bay leaf, thyme, parsley sprigs, salt, and the peeled onion. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Strain and reserve 6 cups of the broth. Flake the whiting, removing the skin and bones, and add this fish to the broth.
Heat the oil in a metal paella pan with about a 15-inch base and sauté the shrimp and lobster until they turn pink (leave the lobster a little longer than the shrimp). Remove. Add the halibut pieces to the pan and sauté a minute.
Remove. In the remaining oil, sauté the squid rings quickly, then add the chopped onion and cook until it is wilted. Add the tomato and cook a minute or two until most of the tomato liquid has evaporated. Stir in the rice and coat well with the oil. Pour in the reserved fish broth, boiling hot, the peas, saffron, and salt. Boil, uncovered and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until the rice is no longer soupy but some liquid remains. Add the crushed garlic and stir in the shrimp, the halibut pieces, and the pimiento strips. Arrange the lobster on top and push the mussels into the rice. Place in a 325° F oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed but the rice is not quite done. Remove, cover lightly with foil, and let sit 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve with a green salad and a chilled white wine like Marqués de Riscal.
Nutritional information is based on 8 servings and on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.