Black paella with venere rice, vegetables and seafood


My answer to the burning Catalan independence question is paella. We love paella in this household and this time I wanted to find a way to make it really healthy without compromising the taste. Not that paella is that unhealthy to begin with, but still wanted to see if I can pimp it up a bit with great ingredients and lots of veg and herbs for our fish Friday dinner last night.

This is what this awesome seafood bonanza looked like. And it tasted awesome.

Spanish black seafood paella

And this is how husband repaid my lifesaving efforts the day after:

Fish and chips
Fish and vegetables - what could be wrong with that, he says.
Actually I am all for giving yourself a break every once in a while. Or that's what I say to maintain a more relaxed and tolerant image. At least this time it was a very good plate of fish and chips. I know because on top of my tiny beetroot and goat cheese salad I had some space to try some of it.

This was the park cafe in St. James Park, but next time we will stay inside, just too many pigeons and pigeon poop everywhere it the outside area and kids feeding pigeons off the tables and wings flapping everywhere. Why their parents thought it is OK to feed pigeons in a restaurant I do not understand, but I understand that better than kicking pigeons which is another habit a lot of kids seem to have that their ignorant parents think is acceptable.

That's all I have on pigeons this time.

Black paella with venere rice, vegetable and seafood
So this is what I did to the good old paella. To keep the glucose index lower than traditional paella for husbands diabetes I replaced the bomba rice with black venere rice, which is a whole grain and on top of it's better glucose profile apparently also has all kinds of antioxidants and other healthy stuff. It is the veritable blueberry of the rice family. And I upped the veg content to add lots of fibre to soak up some of the glucose and ensure slower release in the body.

I left out the chorizo which is full of salt and saturated fats, cooked the seafood by steaming it on top of the dish rather than frying it and of course used healthy rapeseed oil and was a bit careful with salt.

The end result was absolutely delicious, but the black rice has a different taste and texture, so it is a bit of a different experience from your traditional paella.

Spanish black paella with venere rice, mussels, squid and fish

Black venere rice paella with lots of vegetables and seafood.

Serves 4-6

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 fennel
1 bell pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes (or fresh chilli)
1 tsp of turmeric
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron
Black pepper
1.5 cups of black rice
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 glass of white wine
Small bunch of parsley
Small bunch of dill
2.5-3 cups of low salt fish stock
Fresh or frozen peas
2 fillets of cod
2 fillets of redfish
250g mussels
250g squid rings
Fresh herbs or spring onion and lemon wedges

Chop all the vegetables and herbs. Heat oil in a paella pan. Add the onion and saute on low heat until the onion starts to soften, add the minced garlic and continue to cook. Add the spices and mix well. Add the chopped fennel and bell pepper.

Crank up the heat, add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and he wine. Let the wine evaporate a bit before adding the herbs and the stock. Reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is almost done (check pack instructions). Stir every once in a while and add water if necessary

While the rice is cooking cut the fish fillets into quarters, season the fish and squid with salt and pepper and you can drizzle on a little rapeseed or olive oil and lemon juice. Clean the mussels well and throw away any that don't close when tapping the shell.

Once the rice is nearly done stir in the peas. Then add the seafood in the order of required cooking time pushing the fish pieces and mussels into the rice. I added the mussels and fish fillets first, let them steam on top of the paella with a lid on for 6-7 minutes until they were almost done, then added the squid for just 2-3 minutes.

Sprinkle with some lemon juice, fresh herbs or chopped spring onion, add some lemon wedges on top and serve with a crisp salad.

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