Spanish seafood rice

Reduce Waste with Spanish Seafood Rice

Craig McKnight conjures up more tasty dishes reducing as much seafood waste as he can with this Spanish style rice with plenty of spice. 

As you’ve realised from my previous articles I’m passionate about reducing food waste and eating food created from sustainable ingredients. I’ve previously given you recipes using each and every part of the prawn. However, there is a lot of other delicious and sustainable seafood available that sometimes gets overlooked when we go shopping in favour of the usual cod, haddock, salmon, and tuna.

Where I live in Italy we have lots of lovely seafood available, including one of my favourites clams, or “vongole” in Italian which I’ve included in my waste-reducing recipe below. However, you can easily adapt the recipe to use any of your favourite fish. One of my suggestions instead of clams is to use a sustainable fish like coley which is often overlooked in the UK. It comes from the same family as cod, so can be substituted for this. As it also tends to be firmer and meatier than cod, it holds up well in stews, or in recipes like the one below. Hake is also a fish which is often overlooked in the UK but is used a lot in the rest of Europe. Like coley, it is also part of the cod family and can be used in the same way.

When you buy either of these from your fishmonger, or even from the fish counter at your local supermarket try to buy the whole fish so you can use the bones to give that extra “oomph” to your sauce! If you can only find fillets ask them if they still have the bones, as you’ll usually get these for free!

Spanish Style Rice


1 tbsp vegetable/groundnut oil
200g raw shell-on tiger prawns – shelled, but keep the heads and shells
200g clams (if you’re using hake or coley, use the same amount, but cube the fillets into bite-sized pieces)
1 red pepper seeded and chopped
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp of chopped fresh thyme or dried thyme
1 hot chilli seeded and chopped (optional)
½ chorizo sausage chopped
350g paella or risotto rice
900ml fish or vegetable stock
3 tbsp white wine or dry sherry


  1. Gently fry the chorizo in the oil for two to three minutes so that the oil turns a wonderful golden colour. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the onions and peppers to the same pan. Stir them briefly to coat them in the oil. Add a small pinch of salt and fry them over a low heat for five minutes. Do not stir as you want them to leave their wonderful caramelised flavour on the base of the pan, which will enhance the sauce. If it smells like it’s burning the heat is too high!
  3. Remove the onions and peppers, and then stir fry the prawn heads and shells, and the other fish bones if you have them for three to four minutes. Remove them from the pan.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, and fry for about a minute until the rice becomes translucent and coated in the oil. Add the peppers, onions and chorizo to the pan and stir.
  5. Add the wine or sherry to the pan and stir until evaporated. Add the stock, paprika and chilli if you’re using it and stir. Season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  6. Then add all of your seafood to the pan. Stir to mix this through the rice and cook for a further five minutes until the seafood is cooked. If you have cut the fish too big and it is not cooked after five minutes it is safe to take it off the heat and cover it with a lid. The fish will then cook in the residual heat and the rice will not be overcooked!
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Top Tip

This can be adapted with other kinds of fish. Try something different, and ask your fishmonger for their recommendation and what is in season. You will find them very, very helpful!

Written by Craig McKnight, a foodie currently living and loving life in Italy.


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