Seafood paella nests

Seafood paella nests

These beautiful seafood nests are easy to recreate – the secret is in the muffin tin!

Rachel Khoo

Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook: Cosmopolitan Cook

BBC Lifestyle


• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
• 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
• 140g rice vermicelli noodles
• butter, for greasing
• 1 chorizo sausage, cut into thin rounds
• 150ml white wine
• 1 generous pinch of saffron
• 750ml fish stock
• 200g cod or monkfish cheeks (or boneless cod loin or monkfish), cut into 3-4cm pieces
• 250g raw king prawns, unpeeled and uncooked
• 150g rainbow chard, roughly chopped and leaves separated from stalks
• 600g mixture of clams and mussels, prepared and cleaned

Preparation method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and sweat the onion, fennel and garlic down for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat.
  3. Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, leave for about 45 seconds until they just pliable enough but still have bite. Drain and spread out on a clean tea towel to get rid of the excess moisture. Pat dry with another tea towel until they are really dry. Brush the six holes of a deep muffin tin with the knobs of butter and line the holes with the noodles. Make sure to push noodles right to the top of the muffin hole (they will shrink slightly). Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
  4. Meanwhile, add the chorizo to the pan with the onion, fennel and garlic and fry uncovered until golden for 8-10 minutes. Add the white wine, saffron and simmer down for a minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil.
  5. Add the cheeks, prawns and chard stalks and stir through the sauce. Simmer for one minute, then add the mussels, clams and the chard leaves. Toss through the sauce and place the lid on and crank up the heat. Cook for three minutes with a lid on.
  6. Remove the lid, strain the stew through a colander over a large bowl. Return the liquid to the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes until reduced to the desired consistency (you can make it a broth or a rich sauce).
  7. Pick some of the mussels and clams out of the shells (discarding the shells).
  8. Remove the vermicelli from the oven and divide between large shallow bowls. Add a ladle full of the seafood to each of the nests, then pour the sauce over to top. Arrange the fish and chard around the edge of the nests.