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Paella is a comforting, colorful dish that originated in Valencia, Spain. It is mainly a rice dish, prepared with whatever you’re craving, or perhaps whatever you have available as leftovers.
In fact, I find it can contain just about anything.
Not only is this a classic Valencian dish, it is also considered Spain’s national dish. And Spain is known for its delicious food!
Paella de marisco is specifically a seafood variation on paella. It’s a particular favorite during the summer because it allows you to take advantage of whatever’s available fresh from the sea.
It’s absolutely stunning because of the colorful presentation and all the incredible seafood it’s packed with. This delicious seafood version will satisfy just about any guest who enjoys eating fish, shrimp, and other types of shellfish of both the crustacean and mollusk varieties.
If you have any trouble finding saffron, check our recommendations for sources.Print
Paella de marisco is a summer seafood favorite in Spain, and it’s no wonder why. The rice dish brings the best of what’s fresh from the sea.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 large onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Spanish paella rice (Bright Sabroz, Bomba, or Calasparra)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 34 ounces seafood or vegetable stock
- A generous pinch of saffron threads
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 1/2 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 10 mussels, scrubbed (do not use any that have opened)
- 10 littleneck clams, scrubbed (do not use any that have opened)
- 7 ounces skinless, boneless firm-fleshed fish (like monkfish or cod), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 10 large shrimp/prawns
- 1/4 cup fresh peas (or frozen, thawed, and drained)
- Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Add oil to a paella pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and bell pepper. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until peppers have softened.
- Stir in garlic, and saute for another minute. Add rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice in the pan, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in wine and bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 1 minute.
- Stir in stock, saffron, and salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until half of the liquid is absorbed, gently moving the pan around occasionally to make sure the rice cooks evenly. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Stir in roasted red peppers. Nestle all of the seafood except the shrimp into the rice. Make sure everything is tucked in and evenly distributed.
- Continue to cook, simmering for 20 minutes, until the seafood is cooked through and the rice is al dente. Add shrimp and peas in the last 8 minutes of cooking, distributing them evenly in the rice.
- Once everything is cooked through, turn the heat up to high for about 30 seconds. This will toast the rice on the bottom of the pan. Keep an eye on it – you’ll be able to smell it when it’s toasted.
- Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges before serving.
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Spanish
Keywords: paella, seafood, rice, mussels, clams, fish, shrimp
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Vegetables, Clean Seafood, Cube Fish, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
With a sturdy cutting board and sharp knife, peel and finely chop 1 1/2 large onions. You can use yellow or white onions here. And try not to cry with our helpful tips!
Finely chop a large tomato, and seed and finely chop a large red bell pepper.
Peel two cloves of garlic and mince them, or push them through your garlic press.
Scrub the mussels and clams well under cold running water. I like to use a small scrub brush to get the sand off.
Cut the fish into bite-sized chunks.
Drain 3 1/2 ounces of jarred roasted red peppers, or make your own. Roughly chop them.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Pro Tip: when choosing your wine, make sure it’s a dry white wine.
I used a light and crisp Sauvignon Blanc, but you can also use Verdejo, Pinot Grigio or Riesling, as long as they aren’t sweet. A variety of excellent options are available from Martha Stewart Wine Co., like my favorite: Terra Sara Verdejo.
Step 2 – Cook Vegetables
Add olive oil to a paella pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. The onions should be softened, not browned.
Stir in the tomatoes and bell peppers. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the peppers are softened.
Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
Step 3 – Cook Rice and Add Roasted Peppers
Stir in the rice and toast it in the pan, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
Stir in wine and allow the liquid to boil for about 1 minute. Add the stock, saffron, and salt, and stir to combine. This dish is excellent with a homemade seafood stock.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until half of the liquid is absorbed, for about 15 minutes. Be sure to move the pan around every so often so the rice cooks evenly.
Stir in the roasted red peppers until combined.
Step 4 – Cook Seafood and Add Peas
Add all of the seafood except the shrimp, distributing it evenly all over the pan. Make sure each piece is nestled into the rice.
You will continue to cook for about 20 minutes, simmering until the seafood is cooked through and the rice is al dente.
In the last 8 minutes of cooking, nestle the shrimp into the paella as well. These will not take as long to cook. Sprinkle the peas over the top at this point too.
Step 5 – Toast the Bottom
When everything is cooked through, turn the heat up to high. Continue to cook for about 30 seconds, until the rice is toasted on the bottom, moving the pan around as it cooks.
Keep a close eye on it. You will be able to smell it when it’s toasted.
Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top, and serve with lemon wedges.
What Kind of White Fish Should I Use?
There are many different kinds of white fish that you can use for this recipe. I used cod because I am a big fan of this variety. But you could also use monkfish, halibut, or sea bass.
Choose based on your taste preferences, and factor in what’s fresh and available at your local market. Strike up a conversation with your local fishmonger, and tell them what you’re making. They’ll probably be happy to help and provide suggestions!
For more seafood dinners that are real winners, try these recipes next:
What kind of white fish will you use in this paella? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to give this recipe a rating after you try it to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 8, 2015. Last updated: August 28, 2020 at 19:18 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.