Valencia is on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, and their classic paella - with delicate flavours of seafood and saffron - is perfect for hot summer days. Plus Valencians use fideo noodles in this paella rather than rice, so it is lighter and quicker to cook - ready in just 30 minutes.
The recipe is generous with the fish, so cut it back a little if you like. We've used more luxurious cuts - the monkfish turns beautifully creamy amongst the flavoured noodles, so is worth adding. However, you could substitute mussels for the clams, and leave off the prawns.
You'll also need a very good quality stock. Taste it before adding to the pan to make sure it's richly flavoured enough. Add more salt directly to the stock if needed, as the stock provides much of the flavour for the dish.
Finally do not to move the noodles when cooking, to ensure a crispy base or soccarat forms. And make sure you scrape a little of this out when you serve each portion - it gives a big hit of caramelised-paprika-crunch!
Tested by Nicola, 20th July 2020
Ingredients Serves: 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 450g monkfish tail, outer membrane removed, filleted, and cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tomatoes, cut in half and grated (discard the skin)
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
- Saffron, pinch
- 250g fideo noodles
- 500g small clams
- 8 king prawns (optional)
- 600ml well-seasoned fish stock or lobster stock
- Salt & pepper
- Lemon, cut into wedges
- 4 person paella pan
- Large pan lid (optional)
- Heat the oil in the paella pan over a medium-high heat, and add the monkfish pieces. Pan fry for 3-5 minutes turning occasionally, until lightly golden.
- Reduce heat to low and add grated tomatoes and garlic. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the saffron in a dry pan until fragrant, and crumble over the tomatoes and garlic, along with with the paprika. Stir.
- Sprinkle the fideu noodles evenly around the pan, and pour over 500ml of the stock, reserving the remaining 100ml.
- Lay the clams and king prawns around the pan, and leave on a low simmer for 16-20 minutes trying not to stir. Half way through the cooking time, turn over any large prawns sitting on top of the dish. If it's looking too dry, pour over the remaining stock, and - if you have a large pan lid - pop that on for 5 minutes to help the shellfish cook through. Remove the lid for the last few minutes of cooking.
- The paella is ready when the noodles are cooked through, the clams are open, the prawns are a rich pink and there is very little liquid left in the pan.