Fresh from his Islands to Highlands TV series, James Martin explains why Shetland paella is a riff on the Spanish version
Chef James Martin had great fun making his TV series and his latest cookbook of the same name.
It included a visit to Shetland where he created Shetland paella, a Scottish spin on this seafood favourite.
“This was the last dish I cooked on the trip and it really summed up the amazing produce they have in this part of the world, featuring both local fish and shellfish,” said James, recalling the adventures he had making the series.
“I want to thank all the fishermen that brave the seas around these parts to deliver our catch – particularly Rob, who managed to get all this produce for me.
“I hope he enjoyed the dish, as I gave him not just the meal, but also the pan, the table… in fact everything on the last day of filming on location.”
James Martin’s Islands To Highlands, photography by Peter Cassidy, published by Quadrille, priced £25.
- 50ml olive oil
- 6 boneless chicken thighs
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Small bunch of oregano, thyme and marjoram, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g paella rice
- 5 vine tomatoes, quartered
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 monkfish tail, cut into 2cm pieces
- 16 whole shell-on prawns
- 8 scallops
- 300g mussels, cleaned and debearded (see tip below)
- Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- Light your barbecue. When the coals are silvery in colour, it’s ready to cook on.
- Place a 30cm paella pan directly on to the barbecue or over a medium heat.
- Pour in half the oil and fry the chicken thighs until golden all over.
- Add the onions, garlic and herbs. Season well, scatter the rice over the top. Stir once to combine.
- Add the tomatoes, 500ml cold water and sprinkle over the paprika.
- Gently stir everything together and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Season again, then add all the seafood. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top, cover with foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil, discard any mussels that have not opened and sprinkle over the parsley just before serving.
James’ s top tip: Fresh mussels need to be alive before you cook them.
To prepare them, pull off the stringy beards, knock off any barnacles and give the shells a scrub in fresh water to clean.