Seafood Rice on the Fly

Arroz a la Tumbada
This brothy seafood and rice dish welcomes pretty much any and all seafood. That said, you don’t have to make it into a big celebration dish. Truthfully, if that’s my focus, I make a real paella. But when looking to make a nice but quick meal—what could be faster than weaving together jarred salsa, cooked rice and some seafood?—this version of Arroz a la Tumbada is special enough for company. But don’t save it for that. Have some shrimp in the freezer? A frozen fish fillet? Your seafood rice will be delicious with just one type of seafood. About 10 to 12 ounces total will feed two people. Bivalves do make a difference though, so if I can swing it, I’ll go by the store and get some mussels or clams to give the broth a wonderful flavor. The quantities below are for the full-blow version, the one you’ll want to serve when you’re really planning ahead.
Servings: 2


  • For the broth
  • 1tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1cupRoasted Tomato Salsa or store-bought (if using jarred salsa, choose one that isn’t too vinegary)
  • 2cups cups fish or chicken broth
  • Abig sprig of epazote (or a handful of cilantro or parsley leaves)
  • Salt
  • For the seafood
  • About 1/2pound clams or mussels, scrubbed (and debearded if necessary)
  • 4 to 5ounces shrimp (8 to 10 medium), peeled and deveined
  • 4 to 5ounces boneless, skinless fish fillet (snapper, halibut, seabass—anything that’s firm and has a good-size flake), cut into ½-inch cubes
  • About 1/2cup crab meat, if you’re feeling flush
  • For finishing
  • 1 to 1 1/2cups cooked white rice (done as a pilaf, Mexican style, if possible)
  • Afew lime wedges, for serving, if desired


Make the broth. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. When hot, add the salsa and stir nearly constantly until reduced and thick, 4 to 5 minutes, depending on your salsa. Add the broth and herb and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt, usually about ¼ teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the salsa and broth.

Cook the seafood. Reduce the heat to medium and add the clams or mussels to the pot. Cover and cook until they begin to open, about 4 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, fish and optional crab, cover and cook for a couple of minutes longer.

Finish the dish. Add the rice to the pan, bring to a simmer and serve. Most salsa already has a good amount of tang, but you may want to squeeze on some lime for additional brightness.

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