Paella is a versatile dish made with regional ingredients. It is meant to use the freshest, most readily available fish that can be found. If you use fish or shellfish, go with what is freshest and vary the cooking time -- when you add that particular ingredient to the mix -- accordingly. Since we were in San Francisco, we decided to use local, fresh-caught cuttlefish. I encourage you to use whatever your fish market or fish monger was able to catch that day. I also suggest using the thighs and legs of the chicken because the dark meat will more likely stay moist during the cooking process than chicken breast. I season each layer of the dish with salt and pepper, but go easy: the chorizo adds quite a bit of salt to the dish too.
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- *2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups chicken stock, divided
- Large pinch saffron
- 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut in 8 pieces or 4 legs and 4 thighs (dark meat)
- 1/2 pound chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1/4 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups Arborio (paella) rice
- 12 mussels, debearded and scrubbed
- 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail on
- 8 baby octopus
- 4 baby squid, cleaned and sliced into rings, tentacles reserved, and/or 8 ounces cuttlefish pieces
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 2 cooked lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each), tails in the shell, split lengthwise, claw meat in the shell or out, as desired
- Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
- 1/2 cup Lemon Aioli
For the aioli:
Place the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, egg yolks, lemon juice and zest in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Slowly add the oil, drop by drop at first, until thickened. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the paella:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the tomatoes in a small baking dish and drizzle with the honey, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper, and roast until soft. Set aside.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan and add a large pinch of saffron. Put about 1/2 cup of the stock in another saucepan, add the clams, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook just until the clams open; remove the clams from the liquid and set aside, reserving the liquid.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a very large skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the heated pan. Cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Add the chorizo, onion and garlic and saute until chorizo has browned and the onions are translucent.
Add the rice, about 7 1/2 cups of the chicken stock, the reserved clam liquid, and any juices from the chicken and bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken in the rice and let cook, uncovered, until the rice is quite al dente, about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer-the rice on the bottom of the pan should form a dark brown crispy crust by the end of the cooking time. If the stock is disappearing too quickly, just add a bit more of the remaining 2 cups.
Add the mussels, shrimp, octopus, squid, and/or cuttlefish, and peas. Cook until the shrimp are pink and the mussels open. Add the lobster, clams and roasted tomatoes and heat briefly. At this point, you should still be able to see liquid bubbling gently; it will settle when you turn off the heat. Fold in the parsley and lemon aioli and mix until combined, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
*RAW EGG WARNING
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs. Due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.