For the Significant Other, Sundays are synonymous with cooking Sunday dinner together and eating as a family. So after we returned home from church we decided that since we’re together this Sunday (a rare occasion, since we’re usually separated by about twenty-seven States), we’d make a good old fashioned family Sunday dinner.
For our dinner? We picked paella..
I was a little skeptical of the Paleo version of paella, I can’t lie. Up until tonight, the best paella I’ve ever eaten was in Barcelona, so I was pretty sure it was going to be hard (if not impossible) to beat. The biggest uncertainty was the cauliflower “rice”. I like cauliflower, don’t get me wrong, but every time I’ve tried to use it as a replacement for something (read: mashed potatoes), it’s just missing that je ne sais quois.
However, I was suitably impressed with cauliflower rice. I’d probably go so far as to say you can’t really tell the difference between this and regular rice, at least with this particular dish. The biggest pain in the behind is grating the stuff.
For this recipe, I highly recommend doing all your prep work in advance. Grate the cauliflower, chop your onion, red bell pepper, and asparagus, and slice the chorizo. Clean and debeard your mussels, and peel and devein your shrimp if necessary.
Trust me. You will thank me later.
It’s also a good idea to clean up as you go, so as to save yourself the frustration of finishing a really awesome meal, only to walk into your kitchen to find every single pot, pan, plate, and piece of silverware you own piled high and covered in bits of food.
Again. You will thank me later.
The recipe seems a little intimidating, but if you do all your prep work in advance, it’s really not so bad.
Saffron can be kind of expensive, so I recommend Trader Joe’s spanish saffron. You can get an adorable little jar for just $5.99! Trust me, this is a good thing. I checked out saffron at my local Giant and found it at upwards of 20 bucks. No, thanks.
This particular recipe calls for adding water to the cauliflower, but if you’re not doing the Whole 30, substituting a good, dry Chardonnay would be fantastic in this dish. That’s definitely on my list for next time.
We made a sausage and seafood paella, which calls for chorizo, shrimp, mussels, and squid. We couldn’t find fresh squid so we didn’t use it, and you can pick and choose what protein you add to your paella as well. Some dishes use chicken, some are strictly seafood, and some don’t have any meat at all – just vegetables. So feel free to experiment based on what you like!
This dish was the perfect complement to the 70+ weather we had in Northern Virginia today. The chorizo added the perfect mix of smoke and spice, and the seafood and saffron just screamed “Spring”. Speaking of chorizo, I found this gem at Whole Foods this past week:
Whole 30 approved! Win!
This dish is also a pretty impressive (read: intimidating) dish to serve to friends, and really it isn’t that hard. Like I said, as long as you do the prep work in advance and clean up as you go, it’s just a matter of adding and mixing. Easy as paella!
Paleo Chorizo and Seafood Paella
What I Used:
1/2 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
12-14 steamed mussels
1/2 lb chorizo, sliced
1 head cauliflower, grated
saffron (one large pinch)
1 yellow onion
1 red bell papper
7 asparagus spears, chopped into bite sized pieces
3/4 cup water or dry white wine
olive oil, salt, pepper to taste
What I Did:
Grate your cauliflower and set aside. Chop onion, bell pepper, asparagus. Slice chorizo.
In a skillet with some olive oil, cook onion and chorizo for a few minutes (until onion starts to turn translucent.) Add chopped asparagus and bell pepper and cook until onion is thoroughly translucent and chorizo is cooked through. Set mixture aside (I dumped mine onto a separate plate for later)
In the same skillet, add cauliflower and saffron, salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup water (or dry white wine, if using). Cover and simmer for five minutes. Remove lid, stir, and cook another five minutes. (Cauliflower will start to turn yellow as the saffron starts to blend). Add the sausage and vegetables to the cauliflower and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, steam mussels for 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Cook your shrimp in another skillet with some olive oil. Cook until shrimp are opaque – only a few minutes, you don’t want to overcook or you will end up with rubbery shrimp.
On a serving platter, arrange mussels and shrimp atop cauliflower rice. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Impress all your friends with you fabulous Sunday dinner.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!