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Seafood Rice ❦ Arroz de Marisco

I have a confession to make, I love rice. I can eat it everyday for the rest of my life and never have it the same way twice. I have been away on holiday, in Porto, for the past three weeks and have missed you all dearly! Judging from my emails, you've missed me too! Thank you for all the love. I'm back with amazing food adventures and cool, new restaurant reviews.

Today's recipe is one that is very typical all over Portugal, but more so in the south. The rice is made "malandro", which means saucy, (naughty literally), with extra broth, almost like a stew. I find, gasp, that Portuguese people tend to overcook everything! Vegetables, pasta, seafood and chicken are cooked way too long in most typical households. Sorry, it's true. Therefore, most recipes will call for you to add all the fish and shellfish to the broth first, and then add the rice and cook it along with the shellfish. Big mistake. You'll end up with very rubbery squid and prawns, and empty shellfish. I cook my prawns and shellfish separately, treating each individually in order to achieve the best possible flavour, before adding it back into the rice. I do not use, gasp again, the more typical Portuguese rice variety, Carolino. I just don't like it's short grains, splitting nature and texture, sorry. I use long grain, parboiled rice. It looks beautiful, tastes amazing, and isn't spongy or sticky. Best of all, it stays loose after cooking. You can use any combination of shellfish. Whole head-on prawns make the best version of this rice, since making your own shellfish stock from them is ideal. All of the prawn's flavour is in it's head, and boiling these along with the shells will only take a few minutes. Always a hit at dinner parties, it really is the perfect summer, seafood dish. So, even if you aren't going away to Portugal this year, make this knowing that it truly represents Portugal on a plate. Enjoy XOXO

Seafood Rice - Arroz de Marisco

Serves 6-8

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed, roughly about 100 ml. total

2 Onions,medium sized, diced

8 Cloves of garlic, divided. 4 roughly chopped and 4 whole lightly smashed

60 g. Coriander (cilantro), Fresh. 8 sprigs and the rest chopped for garnish

2 Thyme sprigs, fresh, whole

Prawn (Shrimp) stock ( you will need 2 liters of liquid to make the rice, taking into account the wine, evaporation and adding a bit of water if needed)

2 tbsp. Tomato paste concentrate

400 g. Long grain, parboiled rice

1200 g. Tiger prawns, head and shell on, cleaned, deveined and with shells and heads off and reserved for stock. Keeping 6, cleaned, devained, but whole, for garnish

500 g. White clams

500 g. Mussels

400 g. Squid, cut into rings

750 ml. Dry white wine, divided

1 tbsp. Sweet paprika (pimentón)

1 tsp. Crushed chilli flakes (optional)

3 Bay leaves

1 Lemon, juice and zest

Sea Salt (2 tsps.) or more to taste

Pepper to taste

1. In a large stockpot, add thyme, 2 smashed cloves of garlic, reserved prawn shells and heads. Add 1-1/2 liters of cold water and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for no longer than 20 minutes. Strain stock through fine sieve and reserve, discard shells.

2. In a large stockpot, add enough extra virgin olive oil to generously coat the bottom. On low to medium heat, add onion, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, bay leaves and 4 sprigs of coriander. Cook until onion has softened, stirring often, as to not burn the garlic. Add tomato paste, paprika, chilli flakes and fry, about 1 minute. Add rice and gently toss to coat with onion mixture. Fry gently, while stirring, about 3 minutes. Add white wine, (500 ml.), to deglaze pan, shellfish stock, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste. Cook uncovered, 14-16 minutes until tender, but al dente.

3. In a large frying pan on high heat, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 2 smashed garlic cloves, thyme and sauce for 30 seconds. Add mussels and clams. Add remaining cup of white wine, cover tightly and cook on high heat for 4-6 minutes, just until shells open, shaking pan back and forth gently to redistribute shellfish evenly. Remove from heat and discard any shells that have not opened. Transfer to clean bowl along with cooking juices and reserve.

4. Place frying pan back on the hob. Heat until very hot, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle prawns and squid genoursly with salt and pepper, including head-on, whole ones. Add to hot frying pan and fry, turning once, just until prawns turn bright pink and squid is white and no longer translucent. This should take no longer than 15 seconds. Transfer to a clean plate along with pan juices and reserve, seperating the head on prawns to use as garnish later.

*This image does not have squid, as it is from another recipe (forgot to take a pic), but I wanted to show you how they should look.

5. Check rice for doneness, it should be brothy. Discard bay leaves. Add reserved shellfish, prawns, squid, pan juices and coriander. Fold in gently, taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a decorative serving bowl and top with reserved, head-on prawns, pushing bodies into rice and leaving heads peaking out. Sprinkle with lemon zest and a bit more finely chopped coriander. Serve immediately.

Of course, it would not be a Portuguese table without accompanying this dish with some delicious Portuguese Vinho Verde, and crusty, rustic bread, to soak up all the broth.

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