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Recipe: Shetland Paella by James Martin

by Promote Shetland -

TV presenter and chef James Martin's shares a Shetland-inspired recipe from his new book James Martin's Islands to Highlands.

This was the last dish I cooked on the trip and it really summed up the amazing produce they have in this part of the world, featuring both local fish and shellfish. I want to thank all the fishermen that brave the seas around these parts to deliver our catch – particularly Rob, who managed to get all this produce for me. I hope he enjoyed the dish, as I gave him not just the meal, but also the pan, the table... in fact everything on the last day of filming on location!

Shetland Paella



50ml olive oil
6 boneless chicken thighs
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
small bunch of oregano, thyme and marjoram, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
150g paella rice
5 vine tomatoes, quartered
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 monkfish tail, cut into 2-cm pieces
16 whole shell-on prawns
8 scallops
300g mussels, cleaned and debearded (see tip)
small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped


  1. Light your BBQ. When the coals are silvery in colour, it’s ready to cook on.
  2. Place a 30cm paella pan directly onto the BBQ or over a medium heat. Pour in half of the oil and fry the chicken thighs until golden all over.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and herbs, season well, then scatter the rice over the top.
  4. Stir once to combine, add the tomatoes, pour over 500ml cold water, then sprinkle over the paprika.
  5. Gently stir everything together and simmer for 20 minutes. Season again, then add all the fish.
  6. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top, cover with foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil, discard any mussels that have not opened and sprinkle over the parsley just before serving.

James's Tip

Fresh mussels need to be alive before you cook them. To prepare them, pull off the stringy beards, knock off any barnacles and give the shells a scrub in fresh water to clean. Throw away ones with broken shells or any that don’t close tightly when you tap them.

This recipe features in the cook book James Martin's Islands to Highlands (RRP £25), which features his Shetland recipes and many more from around the UK.

Posted in: Recipes

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