This classic Spanish favourite is always enthusiastically welcomed at the dinner table by seafood lovers. This version is packed with colourful red and yellow peppers, asparagus and peas, together with large, succulent tiger prawns and chunks of red mullet. Serve with a green salad for a memorable Mediterranean-style meal.
To make braised rice with mussels, scrub 1 kg (2¼ lb) mussels under cold running water, discarding any open ones that do not close when tapped sharply. Put them in a large pan with 90 ml (3 fl oz) white wine, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves and a handful of chopped parsley stalks, then cover and cook over a high heat for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until the shells open. Remove most of the mussels from their shells. Strain the liquid and make up to 750 ml (1¼ pints) with fish or vegetable stock. sauté2 chopped leeks (white part only) and 2 crushed garlic cloves in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until softened. Stir in 250 g (8½ oz) long-grain white rice, then add the stock with 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is just tender. Add 1 can artichoke hearts, about 400 g, drained and sliced, and 115 g (4 oz) frozen petit pois and cook, covered, for a further 5 minutes. Toss in the shelled mussels, 55 g (2 oz) chopped watercress and 3 tbsp chopped parsley, and heat through. Garnish with the mussels in their shells and lemon wedges.
Red mullet has lean, firm flesh with a taste more reminiscent of shellfish than white fish. It is an excellent source of selenium, a mineral with potent antioxidant properties. * Prawns contain useful amounts of many of the B vitamins, most notably vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy blood and nervous system. * Fresh peas have a short season, but frozen peas can be eaten throughout the year. They have a similar nutritional content to fresh peas as long as they are not overcooked.
B12, C, copper, selenium * A, B1, B6, folate, niacin, zinc * E, calcium, iron, potassium