Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

Jan Norris: Food and Florida header image 1

Dinner Tonight: Quick Paella

September 26th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Good friend and solid everyday cook, Lila Steinhoff, sent me the following recipe. Lila’s got a swell garden at her West Palm Beach house, and we trade plant cuttings as well as recipes. I went by to share some plants last week and she was in the middle of cooking this recipe; I asked her for it since Steinie (Ken, her husband) had been raving about it for some time.

Quickie paella

Quickie paella

Lila writes:
“After you left last Sunday, I made it, and as I put the ingredients in the pan, I measured them. Matt (her son, my webmaster) would be so proud! Ha! I am not used to writing recipes.”

  • Lila’s Quickie Paella
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped green onions
    1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
    1 1/4 teaspoons coconut extract
    2 cups water
    1 – 10 oz package of Vigo yellow rice
    about 1 cup of bay scallops (small ones)
    about 3/4 pound of uncooked, peeled shrimp
    about 1/2 lb calamari/squid – (about 8 large tubes with a few bodies) the tiny purple bodies give the paella character, but you need the tubes to give it texture and flavor
    1 – 12 oz jar of flame roasted red peppers (Remove any large pieces of charred peelings. Leave the small ones.)
    18 tightly closed mussels

 Note: Buy all the seafood the day you plan to cook it. Some mussels may open a little in the bag on the way home. Put them into cold, fresh water. After a few minutes, they should be closed up. If not, tap them on the sink. If they still don’t close, throw them away.

Prepare the seafood: Scrub mussels well with a brush, and remove any barnacles and the fibers/”beard”. Throw away any with broken shells. Leave them in clean water until they are ready to go into the paella.

On to the calamari… rinse it. Leave the tiny purple bodies whole. With a scissors, cut the tubes into 1/4-inch wide circles. Set aside.

Rinse the scallops and the shrimp. Set aside.

Saute onion in olive oil in a paella pan or a deep skillet with a lid, until it softens. Add garlic for the last two or three minutes of cooking. Add water and coconut extract and bring to a boil. Add the rice and bring to a boil again. Stir in scallops, shrimp, and calamari. Lay strips of roasted red pepper on top of mixture. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Rice won’t quite be done.

Drain the mussels in a colander and lay them on top of the paella. Cover and cook ten minutes more. The steam will cause the mussels to open wide. Serve with mussels on top (it’s traditional!) or take the meat out and toss the shells. Lightly mix the contents of the paella pan before serving.

This is one meal that can be served in the pan. It looks really rustic.

Jan’s notes: To make this more traditional (and to feed a bigger crowd), add rounds of chorizo sausage and cooked chicken, a pinch of saffron, white wine, chopped tomato, and English peas. Don’t forget to serve with garlic bread to sop up the juices. This is NOT a hard-and-fast recipe and we encourage you to add anything you like, or change quantities of ingredients to suit your own taste. The sky’s the limit.

Also, there’s a cook who makes paella for parties — tailgaiting, backyards, whatever — and has a 4 or 6-foot paella pan he brings to the event. Fun! (It’s a traditional flat pan that’s used to cook this wonderful stew from Valencia, Spain.) I had it for a Fourth of July celebration and it was GREAT! Fed 40 easily with leftovers!

(When I get his name and number I’ll add it here, unless one of Walter Franklin’s group is reading this and can supply it?)

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ksteinhoff // Sep 26, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I only wish she’d fix it more often.

    It’s better the second day, but there’s never any left for a third day, so I don’t know if it continues to improve.

  • 2 Ben // Sep 27, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    For some reason, I have never cooked this. It is odd becuase I dearly love chicken n’ yellow rice… and this is basically a variation with seafood.

    By the way, when is this dish ready so that I can make plans to be there for a taste?!

Leave a Comment