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Lunch / Dinner

Shrimp & Serrano Paella

Bomba, a Spanish short-grain rice, is most commonly used in the saffron-flavored Spanish dish called paella. This version of the classic Spanish dish has been downsized to serve two and has sweet shrimp and Serrano ham in the starring role.

While the rice for paella does not have to be Bomba, short- or medium-grain rice is preferred — they absorb the flavors, but remain firm when cooked.


2 servings

Total Time

45 minutes

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Test Kitchen Tip

WHAT IS SOCARRAT? The hallmark of a good paella is the coveted browned, crusty layer of toasted rice that forms on the bottom of Spain’s unofficial national dish. Known as the socarrat [soh-kah-raht], the name comes from the verb socarrar, which means to toast lightly. To achieve the prized socarrat, increase the heat at the end of cooking the paella and do not stir. Also pay close attention to the sound of the rice (it should crackle) and the smell (it should smell toasty, but not burnt). After a few minutes, poke under the rice with a spoon. If you feel just a touch of bumpy resistance on the bottom of the pan, you’ve got socarrat.


Heat oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium. Add ham and cook until crisp, 45 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Add onion and bell pepper to skillet; cook until softened, 34 minutes. Stir in rice, garlic, and paprika; cook until fragrant, 12 minutes.

Deglaze skillet with sherry and cook until absorbed. Stir in clam juice, clams, tomato, bay leaf, and saffron; season with salt and pepper. Cook rice, without stirring, until tender, 1520 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Add shrimp, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until rice crackles and is crispy on the bottom, and shrimp are cooked through, flipping halfway, 5 minutes. Top paella with peas, olives, and ham.

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