I’ve got big, big, big life changes coming up! I’m not quite ready to share the dirty details yet, but let’s just say I’m super excited. Sometimes things just happen out of the blue, I suppose. I’ve been a little lost lately, I think. I often feel all over the place, like I can’t quite get a handle on everything that I need to do, or even everything that I want to do. I tell myself that I keep lots of lists and I’m organized, so theoretically that should keep me on track, but there is apparently such a thing as too many lists, and at a certain point, yes, there are too many projects or goals or whatever else. I tell myself that I’m young and I need to take advantage of that now. I’m certainly not getting any younger. But the desire to accomplish some unknown thing to make me feel fulfilled and excited and energetic is often overwhelming. Do I even know what it feels like to be satisfied with my work, be it actually at my job, or with what I’m doing here on the blog, or in my everyday life? Little tasks that get done and checked off the list are of course always a small victory, but overall, I still have a lot that I want to do. This next step is part of that, I think. When I can share with you, I hope you’ll be as happy for me as I am for myself. Did any of that make sense? Was this just a quick, stream of consciousness paragraph that was too vague to make any sense of? Possibly. Thanks for being here, anyway. Plus, look – paella! Crispy rice, loads of seafood, and eating with your fingers? Don’t mind if I do.
It seems as though every other day is some kind of food holiday, but I’m not complaining. It just means I have a reason to seek out and eat all sorts of different things. Doughnuts? I’m there. Fried chicken? Yes, please. I didn’t know, however, that Paella Day was a thing, until Culinary Collective reached out about creating a recipe to celebrate it. Paella Day is officially March 27th this year, which happens to coincide with Easter, so why not make a big, fun dish of paella for the holiday? It’s one of my favorite things to serve at a party. Everyone gets a little shrimp, a couple of clams, and a giant serving of flavorful rice, soft on top and crispy on the bottom. You get to eat with your hands a little bit, peeling the shrimp and getting the meat out of the clams and mussels, and best of all, there’s plenty of room for interpretation. Not a fan of spinach? Try arugula or even kale! Not super into seafood? Add some chicken thighs and bacon, or go crazy with some chorizo. You even can get real professional with your paella party and enter to win a paella kit from Marx Pantry! It comes with everything you need to make a killer paella, including the Matiz paella rice and the Aneto Natural paella base. The rice is a lot like arborio rice, which is used for risotto, but it’s perfect for soaking up all of the liquid quickly, whereas risotto rice generally takes a bit longer. The base, on the other hand, is awesome because it’s made with all sorts of proteins, veggies, and saffron, so you don’t have to worry about buying an expensive jar of the spice itself. Genius! Check out the Facebook pages for Matiz España and Aneto Natural, then leave a comment here (or on Instagram) for a chance to win! I know I’ll be throwing another paella party soon, and I’d love for you to join me.
These are some of my favorite ingredients, which, in turn, makes paella one of my favorite dishes.
Get your rice nice and coated in all of your spices and seasonings.
Add your liquid, peppers, and spinach, and cook!
Arrange your seafood on top and that’s it – it couldn’t be easier.
This is perfect for a party – it’s interactive, you can eat with your hands a little bit, and there’s something for everyone.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, grated with a microplane or finely minced
- 1 knob of ginger, grated with a microplane or finely minced
- 1 cup piquillo peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 large pinch saffron (optional, but recommended)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups Matiz paella rice (or arborio, in a pinch)
- 2 cups Aneto Natural Paella base (or seafood or chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white wine, plus a splash for the mussels and clams
- 1 large bunch of spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 10 jumbo shrimp, shells on
- 10 mussels, cleaned
- 10 clams, cleaned
- In a paella pan or a large, flat skillet, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add in your onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add in your garlic and ginger, stir for a few minutes until fragrant, then add in the chopped peppers, crushed tomatoes, paprika, saffron, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add in your rice and stir to combine. Add in the stock, water, and wine, stir, and then add in the spinach. Stir again to combine, and bring the liquid up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and spread the rice out so that it is flat and even. Don't stir again after this - you want to create a nice, crispy bottom layer of rice! Arrange your shrimp over the top of the rice as it's cooking, then flip them over after about 10 minutes, cover the paella with foil, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.
- While the rice and shrimp cooks, place your clams and mussels in a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add about ¼ cup water and a splash (or two) of white wine to the pot, cover, and let the mussels and clams steam for 10-15 minutes or so, until they've opened. Set aside until ready to use - you can keep them warm by removing them from the heat but keeping the lid on the pot.
- When you're ready to eat, remove the foil from the paella and arrange the mussels and clams over the rice. Sprinkle a little more salt, paprika, and/or saffron over everything, and serve hot! This is one of my favorite things to make for a big dinner party.