I was left home alone for a month recently and with no time to undertake supermarket shopping in Spain. No need to worry. Providing you have a good local weekly market, a fishmonger or mobile fish van, and just so long as you have ingredients and spices to hand in your kitchen, almost anything is possible. I love my rice, fish and seafood. So I took time out to make an ever popular dish in Spain. A rice soup that actually hails from the Balearic Islands of Spain but is prepared and served up and down the coastlines of mainland Spain. Use generous portions of the fish and seafood mentioned in the ingredients column.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo of fish trimmings
  • 1 onion studded with 1 bay leaf and 2 cloves
  • 1 hot red chilli pepper, cored and finely chopped
  • A few threads of saffron
  • 500 grams of mixed cockles (heart clams) and mussels. Washed and thoroughly cleaned
  • 500 grams of fish fillets (monkfish, cod) cut into portions
  • 8 shrimp
  • 4 portions of langoustine
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 stalks of parsley
  • 250 grams of small squid, ready prepared
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 125 ml of olive oil
  • 200 grams of medium grain rice
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
  • Half a teaspoon of mild paprika

Preparation

Place the fish trimmings, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and peppercorns in a pot with a generous one and a half litres of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for one hour. Strain the stock and set aside.
Cut the squid into small pieces. Brown them lightly in olive oil in a large pot with the chopped onion, until golden. Add the rice and turn it in the oil over the heat for a few moments. Mix in the tomatoes and pour on the fish stock. Season with paprika, chopped chilli and saffron. Boil for 15 minutes. Then add the cockles, mussels, portions of fish, shrimp and langoustines. Cook the fish and seafood in the soup until done.