The original Spanish paella probably dates to the early 1800s, but I feel like every culture has a beautiful rice dish that is filled with ingredients like chicken, sausages, and seafood. 

Traditional Spanish paella is a true treat – it features saffron-scented rice cooked with rabbit, chicken, local snails called vaquetes, and three types of beans: a broad string bean called ferraura, a lima-like dried bean called garrofo, and a white bean called tavella. 

I wanted to take a traditional paella, make it with local sausage and Valencia or Bamba rice, and then layer in a beautiful array of tinned seafood like cod, mackerel, geoduck, and sea bass. 

This “Sea Pantry” spin on a Spanish staple will please the entire family!

Serves 6

  • ¼ heaping teaspoon of saffron threads, crushed
  • 1 lb boneless whitefish filets, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, cleaned with shells and tails on
  • ½ pound sausage, sliced on the bias
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 7 cups fish stock or clam broth
  • 2 ½  cups short-grain rice, preferably Valencia or Bomba
  • ½ lb various tinned fish, such as cod, mackerel, geoduck, and sea bass 
  • ¼  cup Italian parsley, finely chopped for garnish
  • Paella hot sauce or sriracha to serve

1. Put saffron and ¼ cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes. Season cubed fish with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 16″-18″ paella pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, the shrimp, and sausage, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown (about 5 minutes); transfer fish and shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add paprika, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft (about 6 minutes). Add reserved saffron mixture and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid (15 minutes). If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly. Reduce heat to low, add the reserved fish and shrimp, cook without stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente (5-10 minutes). Add the tinned fish and stir. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

3. Spoon into open bowls and serve garnished with parsley and hot sauce if desired.