Seafood Paella (Inspired by Shannon & the Clams)

THE DISH
Paella with shrimp and clams (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
Shannon and the Clams’ new record Sleep Talk has been a recent favorite around the eMusic office, and the band instantly came to mind during a going-away dinner for a coworker a few weeks ago. We were at a delicious tapas restaurant and the dish was a seafood paella with shrimp, monkfish, mussels and, of course, clams, and it was delicious. The rice was dirty (in the way that a rice dish can be “dirty,” as in it wasn’t white), and so is the band — their music mixes trashy lo-fi with hints of girl-group pop, fronted by powerhouse bassist/vocalist Shannon Shaw. (You might recognize her and the rest of the group as Hunx and his Punx’s “Punkettes.”) They also have a song called “King of the Sea.” Done and done.
Shannon and the Clams on MySpace


THE RECIPE
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook
Makes 5-6 servings

I am no paella expert — I’m pretty sure this was only the third time I’ve even eaten it — but I was surprised at how simple it was, and I’ll definitely be doing it again. Also, this was my first time cooking clams!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 c sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 c long-grain brown rice
Salt and black pepper
2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 pounds littleneck clams, well scrubbed (toss out any clams with broken shells)
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Lemon wedges

Directions:

• Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes.

• Add rice, salt and pepper; stir until the rice is completely coated with oil (about a minute or so).

• Add the tomato and 2 cups of water, stir, bring to a steady boil and cover. Cook for 30 minutes before lifting the lid.

• While rice is cooking, bring water to a boil into another pot. Add the shrimp to the boiling water for just a minute, until barely pink. Drain and set aside.

• After 30 minutes, remove lid from the rice; add a little bit of water if it looks dry but not cooked, then re-cover for another 5-10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

• Stir in the clams and the shrimp and cook until the clams are open. Bittman’s recipe says 3-5 minutes, but it was definitely longer for me. This might’ve been because of the pot I cooked them in (see photos) or because I took the lid off too soon and it lost the heat they were steaming in. This was my first time cooking clams, so I really don’t know, but they did open after another few minutes — and a few were opened just slightly and I opened those with a knife. So if you have glass lids for your pot, keep an eye on them (without taking off the lid). We didn’t have the patience for this, but you can keep the rice cooking until it starts to form a crust on the bottom. I will definitely do this next time.

• Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

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3 thoughts on “Seafood Paella (Inspired by Shannon & the Clams)

  1. I’m into this one. Have you considered doing a recipe in homage to Personal and the Pizzas? I was listening to them today and it reminded me of your blog.

    • Yes, Personal and the Pizzas are totally on my list! My editor used to blast one of their songs at the end of every Friday. I think I’m just going to wait a little while since they’re on the same label as Shan & the Clams, and the name is sorta similar — but definitely happening 🙂

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