Monday, 4 November 2013

Seafood Paella

Here it is - the recipe! The facebook post of the the picture of this meal attracted a lot of attention - and it is definitely as delicious as it looks! The recipe uses cauliflower rice instead of the traditional white rice which not only makes for a gorgeous moist dish, but also significantly ups the vegetable quota. This makes the meal gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free.

This recipe may look as though it is a lot of work, and also very expensive, but you really should give it a go - there is a little prep involved, but the meal really is quick to make overall. In terms of the costs, I used a whole lot of seafood as I really love seafood and there was a big special on at the shop, but it is very easy to make it on a budget if you would prefer a more const efficient meal. Fresh mussels are relatively cheap from the supermarket so you can use more mussels and maybe sub out some of the more expensive items like the scallops. Prawns can be variable in price, but keep an eye out for specials on the frozen ones at the supermarket and keep them in the freezer ready for meals such as this. Really, any combination of seafood will be absolutely fine. You could even use chicken instead of seafood. The other cost saver is to eliminate the saffron. It is very expensive, but really you use so little of it each time that it really is worth the investment and makes the dish so much more authentic. If you don't want to use saffron you can replace it with turmeric - this will still give a lovely golden colour and tastes great too. 

I put pork sausages in this meal as hubby and the kids love them, but you can leave them out if you prefer not to use them, or for a more traditional approach you can use chorizo - yum! There are some good gluten free, junk free chorizo available - you may just need to hunt them out. I find farmers markets are a good place to find any variety of sausage without the rubbish added. Be wary of the organic sausages from the supermarket. The other day hubby and spent a lot of time in the sausage department reading all the labels as he had a craving and was hoping to find some that were suitable. The organic ones that we saw looked to all intents and purposes to be the most suitable as they were promoted as organic, gluten-free etc. etc. But, on inspection of the ingredients, they contained a long list of additives - the worst offender being the MSG (flavour enhancer). A good lesson not to always fall for the packaging or branding on a product. Read the ingredients list - there can be so many added nasties that you wouldn't expect in some 'healthy' products. 

Seafood Paella

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

3 pork sausages or chorizo, precooked and chopped into thick diagonals
1 dozen mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 dozen scallops, rinsed
2 white fish fillets (I used Terakihi, but Snapper or any white fish would be great too)
250g prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp coconut oil
1.5 cups stock (vegetable, fish or chicken)
a pinch of saffron (about 1/2 tsp) (use turmeric as a cost effective alternative)
2 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp ground chilli or cayenne pepper (omit if you prefer a non-spicy dish)
1/2 head broccoli cut into small florets
1 yellow capsicum, cut into large chunks
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika if you don't have smoked or don't like the taste)
2 tbsp parsley (any variety), finely diced
2 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 medium head of cauliflower, grated or chopped in a food processor to make 'rice'.
Juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste 

1. In a large pot filled with fresh water, place the mussels and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until mussels have opened. Drain the water and set the mussels aside. I found it easiest to precook the mussels for this dish then add them to the final meal at the end. 
2. In a small bowl, place the saffron and hot water. Let sit for a few minutes.
3. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the sausages and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. 
4. In the same pan, heat the second tbsp of oil over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and parsley. Cook until aromatic and the onions are softened. 
5. Add the capsicum, broccoli, tomatoes, saffron (with water), tomato paste, paprika and chilli. Cook for a few minutes - if the vegetables stick to the pan, add a little of the stock to add some moisture.
6. Add the cauliflower, stock and all of the seafood. You can also add the sausages back in at this point to ensure that they are reheated sufficiently. Cook until most of the liquid has absorbed into the cauliflower. 
7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the paella, season to taste. Give it a last mix to ensure lemon and seasoning are well combined.
8. Serve in large bowls with the mussels sitting on top.