I usually consider paella to be a fall/winter food but I felt the need for something a little substantial the other day so I decided to try a lightened up, summer-ish, west coast version. I also remembered that I had promised Mindy (my first reader and commenter!) a healthy seafood chowder and I have yet to come up with that so I thought this might be fun to try in the meantime.
With wonderful produce from both Barrie Hill and Nichlolyn Farms, I created this dish just packed full of flavour. I have to say (modestly, of course, lol) , this is one of the best dishes I’ve made in a long time and if you’re a fan of seafood, you’re going to love it. I even added bacon to it – lip smacking good!
I was inspired by a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine I told you about in this post, but I’ve changed it up considerably. Once I saw the idea of asparagus in a paella, my mind started racing. I will admit, I’ve gone a little overboard with the number of ingredients and I think the excitement got the better of me. I’ve got shrimp, salmon and crab in here and if you just want to go with one choice, that’s fine, too.
If you look closely, you’ll see beneath all that healthy goodness on top is some scrumptious white rice and mushrooms and it was delicious after making it in the wonderful brown bits leftover from cooking the bacon. You can use brown rice if you prefer – I had some white that needed to be used up.
And after my tour of the farm with Morris, I had some beautiful snow peas that were perfect for this dish. There is a wonderful combination of summer freshness combined with comfort food in this dish and that’s the best of both worlds when it comes to food!
This dish is also for my dear friends, Dave and Lorian who are on Vancouver Island. I remember making paella one time in my kitchen with Lorian when I was still learning to cook. We’ve had some very funny adventures in that kitchen – especially learning how to make pasta. I had just bought a pasta machine and we were trying to figure out how to use it and we got so confused that the electrician who was working in the house at the time had to show us how to work it! Very embarrassing but worth another glass of wine and many giggles.
This will definitely be a regular meal in my household and even though there are a lot of ingredients it comes together quickly and easily – the best kind of dish! Cheers!
- 1 pound fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
- 1 pound of medium – large shrimp, cleaned, deveined and shells removed
- 1/2 pound of cooked crabmeat
- 4 slices of bacon
- 3 cups sliced button mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 21/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound fresh or frozen asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 pound of snow peas, washed and trimmed
- 1 pound fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
- In a large deep skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, reserving half of the drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside.
- Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to the drippings. Cook about 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in broth, rice and thyme. (strip each sprig of thyme, letting the individual leaves fall into the pan). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Pat dry shrimp, sprinkle with pepper.
- Place salmon, shrimp, crab, snow peas and asparagus on top of rice mixture. Simmer, covered for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp is pink and asparagus is crisp-tender.
- Remove from heat and top with crumbled bacon and tomatoes.