Today would have been my father's 67th birthday. In honor of him, I'm posting his favorite recipe, one that we cooked together many, many times.
Seafood - as much as you can get together. I typically use 2 lb. shrimp, 1 lb.squid cut into rings, 1 lb. manila clams, and a lobster or a Dungeness crab.
8 cups water
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
1/2 cup olive oil
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
3 cups Valencia rice
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 tbsp minced parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry sherry
Combine the shells from the shrimp with the water and 1 tsp. salt in stock pot. Boil for 20 minutes, then strain, reserving the stock. Crumble the saffron into the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a wide paella pan (or a very large skillet). Add the peppers and onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add the paprika and tomatoes and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and bay leaves.
Add the stock and sherry. (From this point, do not stir the rice.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the lobster or crab in another pot. When rice is a little more than half-cooked, add the squid. When the rice is almost done, but still has a thin layer of liquid on top, add the shrimp and clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp and clams are just done. Separate the lobster or crab into pieces and place on top for presentation. Place lemon wedges along the edge of the pan.