Alaria (the familiar, wavy brown fronds, very widely available) and sea spaghetti add the final layer of seafood flavour to this dish, contributed by Donegal medics Paul and Bella Stewart. Great for a special occasion and even more idyllic if you can cook it outdoors. Serves four.
WHAT YOU NEED
2-4 tbsps olive oil
1-2 tbsps butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
450g (1lb) long grain rice, white
4-5 tsps sea spaghetti, dried and ground
2-3 tsps turmeric, or 1 tsp crushed saffron
1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable stock
125g (4¼oz) garden peas
1 red pepper, diced
Selection of fish
2 medium squid, cut into strips
24 mussels, 6 per person,
scrubbed and beards removed
A mix of shellfish and crab claws in season
2 organic lemons and/or limes, quartered
1 tsp alaria, dried and ground
1. Heat half the olive oil and half the butter in a large frying/paella pan over moderate heat, then add the onion and fry gently for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add the rice, sea spaghetti and turmeric, if using, and mix well. If using saffron add with the stock. Return the onion and garlic to the pan and add the vegetable stock. Reduce the heat and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, adding the peas and red pepper towards the end of the cooking time.
3. When the rice is almost cooked, put the remaining butter and oil into a separate pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the squid and cook for two to three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the rice dish.
4. Add the prepared mussels to the pan and cook until they open, then transfer to the rice dish. Cook any other selected seafood and add to the cooked rice dish. Mix gently.
To serve, arrange the quartered lemons or limes and sprinkle with parsley and alaria.