*Updated 7/14/2017 to include calorie counts of each individual ingredient.
Let’s talk paella. Traditional paella is made with Bomba rice, a short grained variety of rice grown near the village of Calasparra. Bomba rice is used because they can absorb a lot of water without turning mushy. For this paella recipe, I decided to use white rice (Kokuho Rose). I have used both Bomba rice and white rice in making this paella and can report that both taste equally good. Sure, the texture of the rice is different, just like how a ribeye and a filet mignon are both tasty but different.
To make this paella more cost efficient for meal preps I would substitute the jumbo scallops for shrimp, or chorizo, or chicken, or even tofu. I promise it all tastes great because the base recipe is super awesome and easy.
A paella like this goes for around $50 plus tax and tip in the quality NYC Spanish restaurants. Making it at home cuts about half the cost. Bonus is that this paella beats 95% of them.
Meal Prep Notes: This scallop paella heats up pretty well in the toaster oven with minimal loss of flavor. I bought the frozen Trader Joe Jumbo scallops as their quality is pretty good. Remember to follow the package instructions for defrosting to ensure optimal flavor.
You will need a cast iron skillet to make paella. I love this 10.25 inch Lodge cast iron skillet because it is cheap and lasts forever.
1 lb jumbo scallops (raw) | 400 calories
1 tbsp green onion (as garnish, optional)
2 cups chicken broth low-sodium or gluten-free | 20 calories
1.5 cups white rice | 960 calories
1 tbsp olive oil | 124 calories
1 tsp saffron | 2 calories
1 tsp salt (or salt to taste on scallops) | 0 calories
1/2 tsp black pepper (or adjust to your taste on scallops) | 3 calories
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or adjust to your taste on scallops) | 5 calories
1/2 tsp onion powder (or adjust to your taste on scallops) | 4 calories
1/2 tsp thyme powder (or adjust to your taste on scallops) | 2 calories
1520 calories total | 4 servings @ 380 calories per serving
STEP BY STEP PHOTOS
Lay out scallops on paper towel and GENTLY pat them dry with paper towels. Let scallops come to room temperature for 25 minutes to ensure no cold spots when cooking.
Soak 1 tsp saffron in 2 cups of chicken broth for 20 minutes. The saffron I used was gifted to me by Chef Pork Chop and bought somewhere during his travels in Spain. He also recommends Kiva Gourmet Saffron on Amazon.
While the saffron is soaking. Also wash and soak rice in plain water for 20 minutes.
The saffron will turn the chicken broth into a nice orangey red. People have asked me to describe the taste of saffron and I can’t because there is no other flavor I have come across that tastes like it.
Fire up cast iron pan on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then turn to high. This is Chef Pork Chop’s 10-inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet that is hard to find because Lodge mainly touts their new 10.25 inch cast iron skillet.
Mix scallops with 1 tbsp olive oil with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme powder.
Set aside a portion of scallops to chop into pieces to be mixed in with the rice, saffron, and chicken broth. The rest will be pan seared whole.
Place scallops in the cast iron pan. Cook scallops for approx. 2-3 minutes on each side.
Yum yum! Pan seared scallops is incredibly easy to make at home! Remove scallops from pan and set aside.
Cook the chopped up scallops and leave in pan. Pour out water from rice. Combine rice with saffron and chicken broth mix and pour into cast iron pan.
Cook on high heat for 10 minutes with lid on.
Tilt the pan to make sure the liquid has been fully absorbed. Taste the rice to see if it is fully cooked. If not add more chicken broth and let cook a couple more minutes. Every stove has different fire power.
Check out the layer of socarrat (toasted rice). Super delicious. Almost comparable to the pan seared jumbo scallop. Almost.