Lord’s paella, with shellfish but no shells

Lord’s paella, with shellfish but no shells

Arroz del senyoret

Spanish Made Simple

This is a seafood paella for people who don’t fancy getting their hands dirty peeling shellfish while they eat. Senyoret means ‘lord’ in the Valencian dialect and, back in the day, the lords wanted their food prepared and neat. This recipe relies heavily on the flavour of your fish stock. Ingredients in the Spanish Levante are of the highest quality and full of flavour, whether it is an onion or the fish they make the stock with. These ingredients are incomparable to the ones you find elsewhere sadly, but I have a solution. Whether you buy it or make it from scratch, you will need to give it extra flavour by adding more ingredients before you allow your rice to drink it. This is fundamental to any good rice dish or paella.


Quantity Ingredient
100ml olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 fresh squid, cleaned and chopped, (ask your fishmonger to do this)
1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet pimenton
1 tomato, grated, (weighing 150g in total)
350g spanish paella rice, Such as bomba
20 fresh whole king prawns, Heads and shells removed

For the shellfish stock

Quantity Ingredient
20 prawns, heads and shells
a drizzle olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, Cloves separated and finely chopped
25ml brandy
25ml white wine
3 litres fish stock
1 salted anchovy
or 1 teaspoon dried japanese bonito flakes
or 1 teaspoon thai shrimp paste
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1g saffron threads, toasted


  1. I believe that the only way to achieve the flavour that a master arrocero in Valencia will get into his paella is by making a shellfish stock with a previously made fish stock. I know it feels like you’re doubling up but, seriously, it allows you to get good intensity and a depth that you will not achieve unless you do this.
  2. Place the prawn heads and shells in a pan over a high heat with some olive oil. Add the leek, celery, carrot and garlic and cook until golden brown and there is an intense toasted shellfish aroma coming out of the pan.
  3. Flambé with the brandy and wine. To do this, pour the alcohol into the pan and light with a match, keeping your head back. Let the flames flare up then die down, then immediately add the fish stock followed by the anchovy, peppercorns and bay. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Blend the stock to extract as much flavour as possible, then pass through a fine sieve. Pour into a pan over a low heat, add the saffron and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the paella. Add the oil and salt to a large wide pan over a high heat and then add the squid. When it starts to pop a little bit, lower the heat to medium and add the onion. Fry for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Continue to fry for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, then add the sweet pimentón and 20 seconds later the tomato. Fry altogether, stirring constantly, for about 4–5 minutes, or until the tomato has reduced down. Scrape the bottom of the pan while the tomato is cooking to release all the sticky bits.
  6. Increase the temperature to its highest setting and add the rice. Give it a good stir to coat it in the sofrito and sear for 2 minutes. Pour in the boiling stock, give it a good stir and boil for 10 minutes. Do not stir the rice again or you will ruin the texture of your paella. After 10 minutes lower the heat to medium and check the seasoning for salt.
  7. Roughly chop the prawn tails and scatter them over the pan, shaking the pan a couple of times to distribute them. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Ideally a layer of toasted rice will form on the base of the pan, which unfortunately you cannot see but you can judge by the noise and smell – it should sound like it is crisping up and the smell should be toasty. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then serve.


  • You can add mussel meat or other shellfish to this rice, as long as it’s cleaned from the shells.

    Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and it’s grown in just a few countries. Spanish saffron is regarded as the best and most expensive of all, partly because it is toasted and given an extra layer of flavour. As a result it loses weight, so it’s even more precious, gram for gram. If your saffron is not Spanish I recommend you toast it before you use it. Wrap it in foil and hold it with a pair of tongs over an open flame for just 10 seconds, flipping the envelope every other second so that the heat is indirect and even and the saffron doesn’t burn. It is extremely fine and delicate.
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