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Seafood Paella

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A classic Seafood Paella is one of the most popular dishes to come out of Spain. This simple recipe is made with different varieties of seafood, Bomba rice, and other traditional ingredients packed with flavor!

Seafood and rice in a large paella pan outside on a striped tablecloth surrounded by wine bottles and salad.

Recipe inspiration

Who is ready to go on a culinary adventure to Spain? Since I did not win the lottery, and probably never will, my summer vacations play out in my head…and my backyard. Nothing screams “Spain” more to me than Seafood Paella. Did you know that not all paellas contain seafood?

Each region has it’s own version, after originally being cooked over a wood fire as a farm workers’ lunchtime meal. The original versions contained snails and rabbit, but I think I will stick with the Seafood Paella! Seafood also reminds me of the ocean, which is my favorite place to go on vacation.

What you will need

The proteins may change depending on which part of Spain you are visiting, but all with be made with authentic ingredients. You will need to purchase a Spanish short-grained rice like “Bomba” that absorbs the liquid but maintains it’s shape.

Bomba paella rice in a measuring cup.

You will also need to splurge on saffron threads to get the authentic paella flavor.

I live in the desert, and fresh seafood is not exactly “normal” around here. I chose to substitute a frozen Seafood Medley {calamari, mussels, octopus, shrimp} for fresh mussels to go along with cod and shrimp.

The last time I made Seafood Paella back in Iowa, a place also not know for it’s seafood, half of the mussels died on the way home from the store….so seafood medley is a much safer bet!

Seafood or chicken broth seasoned with garlic, thyme, paprika, onion, bell pepper and tomato flavor the rice and give this dish it’s amazing flavor.

Rice, clams, shrimp, and cod in a paella pan with lemon wedges and green onions.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

How to make Seafood Paella

Start by heating seafood broth in a large pot. If you can’t find seafood broth, substitute chicken broth. Once hot, stir in saffron threads.

Seafood broth and saffron threads in a saucepan.

Rinse fish and shrimp, then dry on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for ten minutes.

Raw shrimp and cod pieces drying on paper towels.

In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine. Add paprika and stir to form a paste, adding water if necessary.

Garlic, thyme, parsley, and paprika mixed together in a small bowl.

Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a 15-inch paella pan over medium high heat. Add the fish and cook until browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Cod pieces cooking in oil in a paella pan.

Remove fish to a plate and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then add the grated onion, scallions, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Grated onion, scallions, and bell pepper cooking in a paella pan.

Be careful when you add the onions, the oil splatters like crazy!! Stir in the tomato and cook until sauce thickens, 2 to 5 minutes.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

Seafood broth added to the vegetable mixture in the paella pan.

Sprinkle the rice evenly across the pan. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally.

Add the cod back into the pan. Stir in the parsley/paprika paste. Do not stir after this point.

Lower the heat and simmer until rice mixture is no longer “soupy”, but not dry, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp, clams, and seafood mixture over the rice, placing the clam shells so they will open facing up.

Clam shells and seafood mixture with rice in a paella pan.

I added my clams too soon…I can be so impatient. It should not look like clam soup if you are paying attention.

Cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is almost cooked. Remove the pan from heat and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Rice, shrimp, clams and rice in a paella pan topped with sliced green onions.

Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with Garlic Aioli.

A serving of Seafood Paella with an open clam and baby octopus on a small plate with a lemon wedge on the side.

Serving Suggestions

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Enjoy!!

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Seafood Paella

Shrimp, clams, and all of their friends mix perfectly together in this delicious Seafood Paella!

5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: shrimp, seafood, rice, recipe, clams, tomato,
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 512kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • 15-inch paella pan or skillet

Ingredients

  • 6 cups seafood broth
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 0.5 pound cod cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 12 small clams
  • 12 large shrimp
  • 8 ounces seafood mixture* frozen
  • 2 tablespoons minced, fresh parsley
  • 8 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • 6 green onions chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato grated
  • 2 cups Bomba paella rice
  • lemon wedges
  • Alioli

Instructions

  • Heat broth in a large pot. Once hot, stir in saffron threads.
  • Rinse fish and shrimp, then dry on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for ten minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine. Add paprika and stir to form a paste, adding water if necessary.
  • Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a 15-inch paella pan over medium high heat. Add the fish and cook until browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove fish to a plate and set aside.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then add the grated onion, scallions, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened. Stir in the tomato and cook until sauce thickens, 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
  • Sprinkle the rice evenly across the pan. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally.
  • Add the cod back into the pan.
  • Stir in the parsley/paprika paste. Do not stir after this point.
  • Lower the heat and simmer until rice mixture is no longer “soupy”, but not dry, about 10 minutes.
  • Arrange the shrimp, clams, and seafood mixture over the rice, placing the clam shells so they will open facing up.
  • Cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is almost cooked.
  • Remove the pan from heat and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with alioli.

Notes

  • Substitute chicken broth for seafood broth if you can’t find it
  • *Seafood Medley contains calamari, mussels, octopus, and shrimp, and can be found in the frozen seafood section near the seafood counter.

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 640mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1540IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 5mg

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