Head to Spain with Homemade Paella de Marisco

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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.

Vertical image of a large pan filled with paella, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Not only is this a classic Valencian dish, it is also considered Spain’s national dish. And Spain is known for its delicious food!

You can make paella with meat, seafood, vegetables, or a combo of all of the above. And you can even make a vegetarian or vegan version, by adjusting the recipe slightly.

Vertical top-down image of a pan with red handles holding paella with mixed seafood.

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.

Vertical close-up image of a vibrant paella dish with mixed seafood.

This recipe uses many of the same ingredients as a bouillabaisse, and like that French provincial delicacy, you start it off by preparing a stock and incorporate loads of mussels and clams.

Vertical top-down image of a pan of paella with a plate next to it on a white and black towel.

You’ll need a large paella pan (review coming soon!) to prepare this dish, or at the very least a large skillet. I prefer to use cast iron.

Vertical close-up image of paella with a spoon holding a whole shrimp.

If you have any trouble finding saffron, check our recommendations for sources.

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Horizontal image of a pan filled with paella and whole seafood.

Paella de Marisco


  • Author: Lori Jo Hendrix
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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

Horizontal image of paella ingredients prepped in small bowls on a dark surface.

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

Horizontal image of a pan with lightly cooked finely chopped 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

Horizontal image of finely chopped fresh vegetables in a pan.

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.

Horizontal image of finely chopped vegetables in a liquid in a pan.

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

Horizontal image of a pan with rice, vibrant vegetables, fish, and mollusks.

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.

Horizontal image of paella and uncooked whole shrimp.

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.

Horizontal image of a pan filled with paella and whole seafood.

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.

Horizontal top-down image of a pan with a seafood and rice dish next to plates on a dark surface.

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.

22 thoughts on “Head to Spain with Homemade Paella de Marisco”

  1. This recipe sounds incredible. I have a story of my own involving paella. One time I had to make it for a school project, and let me just say that I failed miserably. I’m not even sure that what we made was actually paella, and it looked nothing like this one. I’ll have to try this recipe sometime soon to make up for the abomination I created for that project.

    Reply
    • Hi troutski,

      Awww how terrible! I had something similar happen to me but involving planting house plants, lol. Oh the trauma! Yes you must try again and I am sure it will turn out wonderful and rid yourself of that unpleasant childhood memory, hehehehehe. 🙂

      Reply
  2. It’s been ages since I’ve had paella, and that was in a restaurant, so perhaps it’s time for me to try making it at home. Your recipe sounds delicious. I love clams and mussels, as well as other seafood. I had to look up sepia, because I wasn’t familiar with it regarding food, so for anyone else unfamiliar with it, it’s cuttlefish, a type of mollusk, which fits right in with the rest of the seafood in this dish. I had never heard of Bright Sabroz Rice, either, so thank you for introducing me to both of those items/terms.

    Reply
  3. I had a paella in Spain and I recall it took a long time to cook. To allow the flavors to absorb, there is a lot of simmering and adding stock several times. A vegetarian version nearly always has peppers in it, corn and some red onions and is a great dish for everyone to share. Leftovers are good for stuffing peppers or mushrooms the next day.

    Reply
    • Hi Bella,

      Yes, that description reminds me of making risotto. It’s always nice to have nice glass of wine while in the kitchen slowly adding broth :-). I never stuffed anything with the left overs, great idea! Thank you!

      Reply
      • If you want to leave out the sepia/cuttlefish, we’d suggest replacing it with a roughly equal quantity of another type of seafood (or more of one of the types already included). The mushrooms are also optional, as they aren’t always included in this classic dish, but we like to use white button mushrooms or brown criminis.

        Reply
  4. A lot of Paella recipes call for Spanish style chorizo and it is almost impossible to come by. The Mexican chorizo is not comparable so I am really glad to find this recipe that does not call for it. I also found that it tastes a lot better if it has sat for a day or two. The flavors really marry well after a couple days.

    Reply
    • Hi Kristen,

      I think the Spanish style chorizo and the Argentine style is the same and yes totally different from the Mexican. Oh yes, paella is great as a left over, yum!

      Reply
  5. I visited Spain last summer and I adored the paella! You could find it at virtually any restaurant. I missed it once I got back home. Now I can enjoy it at home! This looks like a delicious recipe.

    Reply
  6. Gu jeremyn,

    How nice that you got to go to Spain! I have not been there yet but everybody I have talked to that went said the food was amazing! Have fun making your own at home 🙂

    Reply
  7. I’ve always been afraid to make paella, because I’m so nervous that it will not turn out. I’m grateful that you posted this and that it is step-by-step. Seems no-fail! I’m also grateful for the tips you include with each step. Actually, I’ve just recently bought my first cast-iron pan, and I think this will be the first thing I try! Wish me luck!

    Reply
  8. Hi malarieours,

    See, it’s not so complicated like one might think and it is fun to make. Congratulations on your first cast iron pan and good luck! I am actually in the process right now of writing an article on the various types of paella pans. Let us know how the cast iron works out please.

    Have fun!

    Reply
  9. I could write a love song about yellow rice. Paella is incredible, and I hope to make this seafood version sometime soon. There is a lot of good seafood where I live, and hopefully once I get settled I can bust out my giant cast-iron skillet and make this.

    Reply
  10. I could say that I’m addicted to paella, I just love it. I live in Mexico and in here people eat paella on weekends. I buy mine from two Spanish ladies that live close to my house, but because of the seafood, paella has become really expensive.

    I’ve seen other recipes that seem too difficult, but this one sounds kind of simple. I will definitely try it and see how it goes.

    One ingredient I would add are these little pork red sausages. I’m not sure of the name in English but in Mexico and Spain they’re called “chistorra” and they give the paella an amazing flavor.

    Reply
    • Hi gaby1283,

      The original paella has meat in it so your little sausages would work out just fine. I am pescetarian so I tend to post recipes without meat but most can be altered or made in their original meat form.

      Have fun trying out this recipe!

      Reply
  11. Well I’ve actually never heard of paella. Other than lobster, shrimp and fish I’m not a fan of the other seafoods so I think I would substitute the clams and mussels.

    Reply

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