Preheat oven to 350
degrees F. Sprinkle the shelled shrimp all over with coarse salt;
let sit 15 minutes. The salt helps bring back the briny taste of
the sea that most seafood, especially frozen seafood, tends to lose.
HINT: Have all ingredients chopped and measured before beginning the final
cooking of the paella. It is a quick cooking dish that must have all ingredients ready to go. This is called
Mise en Place.
In a large pan over medium-heat heat, heat the clam
juice or fish broth, wine, and saffron; reduce heat to low and keep broth hot (not boiling).
In a large
Paella Pan or heavy
cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Note: You will need a somewhat deep cooking dish, large
cast-iron skillet, or the traditional Paella Pan (a round flat pan with two handles).
Add onion and red bell pepper; stir to blend and
cook 3 minutes or until slightly softened.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in garlic and rice and continue stirring until garlic is
fragrant and the rice is evenly coated with oil, about 1 minute.
Coating the rice with the oil before adding liquid helps keep
the rice grains to stay separated.
Stir in tomatoes,
paprika, and salt. Stir in hot clam/saffron broth mixture. Return to heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer (stirring and rotating the pan
occasionally) mixture 10 to 15 minutes or until rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice in the oven.
Stir in shrimp, artichokes hearts, and peas.
Transfer paella pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, about 15 to 20 minutes
until the rice is almost al dente and until almost all liquid is absorbed. NOTE: Never cook paella until the rice is completely done. If
you do, it will be mushy by the time it reaches the table. Remove from the oven when the rice grains are no longer hard but still have more
bite than you want and a crust forms around the edge of the pan.
Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice
is cooked to taste. Paella must rest after being removed from the oven, during which time the final cooking takes place.
To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and arrange lemon wedges around the top of the
paella. Serve immediately. To eat, sprinkle lemon juice over paella.
NOTE: Always bring
the paella to the table in its pan for your guests to admire before serving. Traditionally, paella is eaten communally with everyone sitting
around the pan and taking the rice directly from the pan with a spoon. Although you are not likely to serve it this way, do leave the paella
pan at the center of the table so your family or guests can help themselves to more.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Hints and Tips:
If the paella is almost al dente and ready to be removed from the oven, but still seems
to have liquid, return it to the top of the stove over high heat.
Without stirring, heat until the liquid has evaporated. Then remove from
heat and cover the rice and let it rest before serving.
If the paella seems dry before the rice is almost al dente, sprinkle with a few tablespoons
of water and allow to cook in the oven 2 to 3 minutes longer. Then remove
from oven and cover the rice and let it rest before serving.