There are many varieties of paella. There are varieties with meat, seafood or only vegetables. In addition to meat, seafood, and vegetables, fish is also a vital paella ingredient. When cooking fish paella, it is advisable to use a firm structured fish. The fish should be solid and not fall apart. Aside from the structure of the meat itself, the grates can also cause fish to fall apart. After cooking, the fish meat falls off the bones easily and should be handled very carefully.
Therefore it is advisable to use a species of fish that has no grates. ” Is there any such thing? You might be wondering. Sure, monkfish.
Grates bring flavor
At the paella itself, you want to have a firm fish so the chunks of fish can still be recognized as the paella is served. However, this is separate from generating as much flavor as possible. Therefore you want to have many grates because they give a lot of taste.
The fact that the two things go well together is because, in the case of fish paella and seafood paella, we work with stock that has been prepared in advance. You make this stock beforehand in a separate pan and add it later, filtered, to the paella. The paella rice then absorbs all the flavors from the stock.
Preparing separate stock is different from a meat-based paella, such as chicken paella. In this type of paella, you don’t have to worry about meat falling apart, and you can create the stock in the paella pan itself.
In the Paella Valenciana recipe, you can see an example of this method.
To prepare a complete fish paella, you need two different kinds of fish. Solid fish, such as monkfish, for the paella itself. And fish with a lot of grates to create a delicious fish stock.
Head to tail
Reading the above, it looks like you need quite a few species of fish. So how to prevent this and make a great fish paella in a reasonably low cost and efficient way?
Of course, the easiest way is to use ready-made fish stock. This can be diluted, heated and added directly to the paella. There is no easier way.
Another, much more artisan way, is to make a great fish stock by yourself without having to buy all different kinds of fish. This can be done very well by just using the entire animal and not only the parts that you eventually add to the paella.
Imagine, you are making a Paella de Marisco and want to do this using monkfish, prawns, langoustines, and clams. In that case, you can buy a whole monkfish and use it completely.
The shape of the fish causes that only a small part is used and most of it (the bone and the head) will go straight into the garbage bin.
These parts, however, are very suitable for producing great broth. It would be a real pity to throw them away and get a different fish to produce fish stock.
It is, therefore, a good idea to tell at your fish shop that you also want to take the bone, and possibly the head, with you. You can add some freshly cut vegetables and put them together in a pan and make the most delicious fish stock within half an hour.
What can be done to fish, can also be done to other ingredients. The head and shell of peeled prawns, for example, will give the stock an enormous amount of extra flavor. So be sure to use everything you can to create the best taste!