This beautiful Spanish dish is often a topic of debate. ‘That’s not an authentic Paella Valenciana’, screamed various messengers throughout the internet. But regardless, I’ve done my best to do this as authentic as possible after researching the dish. It truly is a heartwarming dish that any seafood fan will be so grateful for.

I want to thank Orlando Lovesey, all the way from New Zealand, for requesting I tackle this dish.

For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients. Although I want to give a disclaimer with my first recipe. Take all seasoning amounts with a pinch of salt (pun intended, I’m sorry), there are a number of variables, so I recommend using your palate and adjusting if necessary.

List of ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of saffron-chicken stock (or a chicken stock cube)
  • flat leaf parsley
  • 2 lemons
  • garden peas
  • a large white onion
  • a bell pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tomatoes
  • runner beans
  • fresh water muscles
  • king prawns
  • mussels
  • half a monkfish tail
  • paella or risotto rice

Step by Step Guide:

Step 1) Prep the fish. Cut the monkfish into inch thick pieces after removing the cartilage down the middle by running your knife along either side.

Step 2) Next, peel and devein the prawns. Placing the shells in a measuring jug.

Additional tip: If you aren’t very quick with your chopping, then I recommend prepping the vegetables now (dice onions, baton peppers, and diagonally cut the runner beans into diamond shapes after removing the ends). Leave the tomatoes for now though.

Step 3) Get yourself a heavy bottom ovenproof wide pan. Sear both sides of the monkfish giving it some colour from caramelising.

I took the photo too early, some of them, as you can see, haven’t got the colour we want yet.

Step 4) Now remove the monkfish and add the onions then the peppers and then the runner beans to the pan.

Step 5) Next add the paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and stir so that everything is nicely coated. It’s important not to add them earlier as we don’t want the spices burning.

Step 6) Grate the tomatoes. We only really want the middle of the tomato with all the moisture so we can leave the skin out. At this point, warm up your chicken stock. If you don’t have any real stock feel free to use a cube with some boiling water.

Then add the inside of the tomatoes as pictured above to the rest of the ingredients inside the pan and stir it all together.

Step 7) Add the stock to the prawn shells, and then add in the saffron and stir. Leave this for a few minutes. Some people add the saffron straight into the dish, however, I find the heat from the stock brings out the flavour perfectly.

Step 8) Add the garlic to the pan. Again, don’t put this in too early or you’ll end up with burnt bitter garlic.

Step 9) Push all the veg to the side and add in the prawns.

Once they have coloured add the monkfish back into the pan and stir everything together along with the peas.

Step 10) Now you can add in the paella or risotto rice. It’s really important not to use normal long grain rice for a dish like this. Coat the rice with all the flavours in the pan by stirring well.

Step 11) Sieve the stock, and add it to the pan while still hot. Then, add the mussels.

Step 12) Bring the stock to a boil and then place the dish in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 200 degrees or 180 degrees in a fan-oven.

Once the rice has absorbed all the stock and its all cooked. Then pull the dish out of the oven, sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley, and serve with wedges of lemon.

The Result