Jambalaya meets paella.
This is not quite jambalaya (mainly because there’s no celery or chicken) and it’s nothing like an authentic paella (as my Valèncian friend Xavi delights in reminding me), which explains the silly name I’ve given it. The two dishes are, however, related: paella travelled from Spain to the Caribbean and then on to New Orleans, becoming jambalaya along the way. I like to think of my version as their more relaxed distant cousin.
You don't need to make it in a paella pan. Any broad pan will do, and you can use foil or parchment to cover it in case you don't have a lid.
My fishmonger sells a wonderful mixture of seafood which is made up fresh daily with prawns, scallops, mussels, squid, tuna and white fish, and it’s absolutely perfect here. You could use all prawns or all fish, or any combination of seafood you like.
375ml (1½ cups) vegetable or chicken stock
pinch of saffron (optional)
100g (4 oz) chorizo
4 spring onions (scallions)
1 small red capsicum (bell pepper)
1 clove garlic
sea salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
½ cup long-grain white rice
400g (14 oz) mixed seafood (see note above)
lemon wedges, to serve
Make up your stock with powder, concentrate, liquid – whatever you’re using. Add a pinch of saffron to stain it bright yellow, if you like.
Cut the chorizo in half lengthways and slice it into 5mm (¼ inch) thick pieces. Heat a broad pan with a heavy base over medium-high heat and cook the chorizo for 3 minutes a side. You won’t need oil to do this and the chorizo will render out its orange, paprika-flavoured oil as it cooks. When it’s browned on both sides remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind, and set aside.
Finely slice the white and pale green parts of the spring onions and slice the capsicum into thin strips. Add them to the pan and mince in the garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions have softened and taken on a little colour. Stir in the paprika and cook for a minute until it becomes fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, stock and rice, and stir in the cooked chorizo. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through. Taste again for salt and pepper.
Scatter your choice of seafood across the rice. Cover again and cook on low heat for 5 minutes at most until the seafood is cooked through.
Finish with a sprinkling of the green parts of spring onions, finely sliced into rings. Spritz with lemon juice just before eating.