Not only does this Spanish Seafood Black Rice look stunning, but it also tastes heavenly and is packed with delicious shellfish.
This stunning Spanish seafood black rice is one of my favorite dishes. For a seafood lover such as myself, it's just perfect: jam-packed with seafood and strong ocean flavors. This dish known in some circles as black paella speaks of summer and lazy days to me.
It is not a Dominican dish, but I am sure my compatriots will like it.
The original dish, by which this recipe was inspired, is the Arròs Negre from Catalunya. If writing about Dominican cuisine is a minefield even for someone, such as myself, steeped in our culture, born and bred here, imagine the dangers of trying to tackle something as complex as Spanish cuisine. In Spain, food is political.
So I won't do that. This dish is my own interpretation, a simplified version, if you wish.
Anyway, one thing you must know is that, as expected, there isn't just one recipe for this dish in its native Catalunya, but a connoisseur would immediately spot some differences between this one and theirs, but also the similarities:
"Arròs negre nicely demonstrates the lack of herbs, the flavour coming from the cuttlefish, stock, the onions and the ink. [...] I use only cuttlefish, but you could add monkfish or tiny peeled shrimp for a different flavour and texture, but just one or the other. Additional flavours come from the decorations. Mussels work fine if you cook them first (save the water for stock); their shells and yellow flesh add to the ‘look’. Roasted red peppers [...] look great but can add a very sweet taste that somehow doesn’t taste ‘black’. I use them, but let your taste dictate. I used prawns as decoration in this example, but I usually leave them out [...]."Source 
About this recipe
As you can see, ours have many of the traditional elements mentioned above --albeit not necessarily used in the prescribed manner-- however, notice that mine suffers from what he criticizes as an insufficient amount of cuttlefish ink, and it isn't as dark as you would expect to find it in Spain. That is because. at some point, I found the cuttlefish ink overwhelmed some of the other flavors, but you can absolutely add more if you want.
Spanish Seafood Black Rice Recipe
For the fish broth
- 2 fish heads, (about 1 lb [0.48 kg] in total)
- Peels and heads of shrimp listed below
- A pinch of saffron
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, , crushed
- 1 onion, , cut into quarters
- A bunch of parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoon of salt, (or more, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of pepper, (or more, to taste)
For the rice
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 large tomato, , diced
- ¼ cup of peas
- ⅓ cup of black olives
- 1 oz [30 ml] of squid or cuttlefish ink, (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 cups of long grain rice
- 2 lb [1.8 kg] of whole, , unpeeled shrimp
- 2 lb [1.8 kg] of mussels and clams
- ½ lb [0.24 kg] of squid, , clean and cut into rings
- 1 quart of fish broth, (per instructions below)
To make the broth
- Combine ingredients: Place fish heads, shrimp peels, and heads, saffron, bay leaves, garlic, onion, and parsley in a large stockpot.Add 1 quart [1 liter] of water.
- Simmer: Cook over low heat for an hour, adding water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level.Once finished simmering, season with salt and pepper to taste (this is the level of salt the rice will have).
- Sieve: Sieve to get rid of solids. Set it aside.
To make black rice
- Sautée ingredients: In a large skillet that has a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, tomato, and peas. Cook and stir for 30 seconds.Add olives and ink, mix well.
- Cook rice: Pour in broth (one qrt [1 l]). When it breaks the boil add rice and mix well. Simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated.Add shrimp, squid, clams, and mussels. Mix well.
- Cover and simmer: Lower heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 20 mins. Uncover and stir, moving rice from the top to the bottom and vice-versa. Cover and again and simmer for another 5 minutes. Rice should be firm but cooked through. If it becomes necessary cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serving: Remove from the heat once cooked, and serve hot.
Notes and Tips
- Surf, turf, fin, skin, feet and bleat: Catalan food and Arròs Negre