New England Seafood Paella

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA

This rich, briny seafood-and-rice dish gets better when tinged with a little smoke. Don’t stir the rice: You want a good crust to develop on the bottom of the dish.

Serves 4–6 with leftovers 

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ pound cooked chorizo sausage, sliced into ½-inch wheels
1 small yellow onion, diced
½ fennel bulb, cored and diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ lemon, diced, seeds removed
3–4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ cup canned diced tomatoes
¾ pound squid (bodies and tentacles), bodies cut into ½-inch rings
2¾ cups fish or chicken stock
1½ cups medium-grain white rice
½ pound monkfish, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound mussels, rinsed
¼ cup chopped parsley
sea salt, to taste 

Light a fire and let the wood burn until the coals are white-hot and covered with ash. Move the coals over to one side of the fire pit to create a two-zone fire with both direct and indirect heat. Place a grill grate over the fire.

Place a 14-inch skillet over the direct heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and when it’s shimmering, add the chorizo and cook until browned on both sides, 3–4 minutes total. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil and the onions; cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Add the fennel and the smoked paprika along with a pinch of salt and continue to cook, stirring, for another 3 or 4 minutes, until vegetables are fragrant and tender. Add the lemon, garlic and diced tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture has thickened somewhat.

Heat the stock until simmering (you can do this inside) and set aside. Add the squid to the pan with the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until it just starts to turn opaque. Add the rice and stir to combine. Pour the hot stock over the rice and bring to a boil (move the skillet to the hotter side of the fire as needed). Move skillet back to the indirect heat, cover and cook for about 7 minutes.

Remove lid and nestle the monkfish pieces into the rice. Cover and continue to cook until the rice is tender and the monkfish is cooked through, anywhere from 8 to 12 more minutes, depending on the heat of the fire. After the monkfish has cooked for 5 minutes, add the mussels and continue to cook, covered. When the mussels start to open (between 2 and 3 minutes, depending on heat of fire), add the chorizo back to the pan to warm it through. When mussels have opened and chorizo is warm, pull the skillet off of the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve directly from the skillet.

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This story appeared in the Winter 2019 issue.

LEIGH BELANGER is a cookbook author, writer and editor. Her second cookbook, My Kitchen Chalkboard, about seasonal meal planning and family dinners, came out in May 2018. Leigh's personal chef and kitchen coaching service, Salt & Lemons, help families eat better at home. Find more of her work at saltandlemons.net.