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. Throw away ones with broken shells or any that don’t close tightly when you tap them.
- 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
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
Place a 30cm paella pan directly on the BBQ or over a medium heat. Pour in half of the oil and fry the chicken thighs until golden all over. Add the onions, garlic and herbs, season well, then scatter the rice over the top. Stir once to combine, add the tomatoes, pour over 500ml cold water, then sprinkle over the paprika.
Gently stir everything together and simmer for 20 minutes. Season again, then add all the fish. 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.
From James Martin’s Islands to Highlands (Quadrille, £25). Photography: Peter Cassidy