White Paella Rice With Ham Recipe

A traditional Spanish dinner idea from Parisian restaurateur Alberto Herráiz.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 dried nora pepper, stalk and seeds removed, coarsely crumbled
1-3/4 cups Bonito Stock (see below)
1 bonito or tuna fillet, 1-1/2″ in diameter
5 oz. Ibérico ham, cut into long, thin strips
Oil for frying, such as grape seed or sunflower oil
1 whole bok choy, the leaves separated from the stem, and leaves and stem cut into thin strips
1/4 cup sesame oil
3-1/2 oz. spring onions (scallions), white parts cut into thin strips, and green parts sliced and separated for garnishing
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup bomba or other short-grain rice
1/4 cup hon tsuyu sauce
1/2 tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
1/4 oz. dashi powder

Bonito Stock
6 lb. 12 oz. bonito heads and bones, gills removed and rinsed
Scant 1/2 cup olive oil
1 leek, finely sliced
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely sliced into strips
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
3 bay leaves
1 dried nora pepper, stalk removed and seeded, coarsely crumbled
Scant 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 x 1-1/2 oz. packets dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)



Step 1: For an extra-fine texture, use a 16″ paella pan suitable for use on the stove and in the oven. Heat olive oil in a pan over low heat, add the garlic and nora pepper and sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is pale golden brown. Put the garlic and nora pepper into a mortar and pound to a paste using a pestle. Set aside.

Step 2: Heat the Bonito Stock (see below) but do not allow it to boil. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Step 3: Wrap the strips of Ibérico ham tightly around the bonito fillet, secure and set aside. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 350°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Add the strips of bok choy leaves and deep-fry briefly until crisp. Take them out of the oil and drain on paper towels.

Step 4: Heat the sesame oil in the paella pan over low heat and sauté the prepared bonito fillet for a few minutes until browned all over. Take the bonito out of the pan and set aside on a plate, covered with aluminum foil. Add the vegetables to the paella pan and sauté over moderate heat for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and nora pepper paste, pour in the rice wine vinegar and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Allow to cook for several minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.

Step 5: Add the rice and cook over low heat for a few minutes, stirring with a wooded spatula, until thoroughly coated and translucent; do not allow the rice to burn. Add the hon tsuyu sauce, mix well and deglaze the bottom of the pan again, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan with the wooden spatula.

Step 6: Add the paprika, stir through and cook over moderate heat for a few seconds, taking care that it does not burn. Pour in the hot Bonito Stock, stir and bring to a boil. Add the dashi powder. If you have a timer, set it to 17 minutes. Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes until the rice rises to the surface of the liquid. Taste and season with salt, if necessary, bearing in mind that the flavours will become more pronounced as the liquid evaporates. Put the paella in the preheated over for 9 minutes. Remove the paella from the oven and place the ham-wrapped bonito on the rice. Put the paella back in the oven for a further 3 minutes.

Step 7: Remove the paella from the oven again and allows it to rest for 3 minutes. Sprinkle the paella with the fried bok choy leaves and green onion rings. Cut the bonito roll into 1/4″ thick slices. Place a few of these slices on each plate. Serve.

Bonito Stock

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Put the rinsed bonito heads and bones in a roasting pan, sprinkle with half the olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Step 2: Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large pan or stockpot over low heat. Add the vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves and nora pepper, and gently sauté until softened and starting to colour. Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add the roasted fish heads and bones. Pour in 12-1/2 cups cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 25 minutes, frequently skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.

Step 3: Remove the pan from the heat, add the dried bonito flakes, cover and let infuse, off the heat, for 20 minutes. Carefully strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve or chinois. The stock should be very clear. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

See more recipes from Alberto Herráiz.

Reprinted with permission from Alberto Herráiz’s Paella (2011 Phaidon).