This may upset a few people. Before I even say it, I'm going to apologize up front because I do not mean any disrespect. The thing is, I've traveled through Spain, I've been to Valencia, and I was not impressed with the paella. That sounds crazy, doesn't it? Logically, it would mean that I just don't like paella. But that's far from the case.
My issue with the paella from Valencia was the ratio of rice to, well, everything else. There was way too much rice, and not enough meat and seafood to make it worth the 25 euro price tag. When I finished eating it, I felt slow and sluggish, much like a carb-filled meal tends to do, and not ideal when you're sightseeing around a beautiful country.
I wanted my paella to be different. I kept the technique of traditional Spanish paella, but used ingredients that are closer to home. My first thought was to only use local ingredients, but I fell short after visiting The Spanish Table in Berkeley, where I bought paella rice from Spain. This was an all seafood paella. I purchased the fish at Ver Brugge in Rockridge, and it must have been my lucky day because they had homemade seafood sausage available, a perfect substitute to chorizo. I also used fresh squid, scallops and local halibut, combined with tomatoes, peas, chickpeas, capers, olives and mint. The mint was the biggest surprise, lending its refreshing aroma to the entirety of the dish.
I didn't use broth in this recipe, and that was semi-intentional. I wanted to use either vegetable or seafood broth, but when I didn't have time to make it myself, I opted for water instead. I thought it a much better solution than ruining the meal with processed stock from a box - after all, you don't drink wine from a box, do you?