Paella is a classic Spanish dish. It consists of rice — often flavored with saffron or turmeric — served with various meats or vegetables. It’s cooked in a wide shallow pan, and paella is a word from the Spanish Valencian region that actually means “frying pan.”
Aldi never fails to surprise us with treats and dishes from countries around the world. The discount grocer has sold several forms of paella in the past in both frozen and shelf-stable boxed meal kits. Most recently, I spotted a new frozen, ready-to-heat version in the middle aisle and picked up some to try at home.
The Fremont Fish Market Seafood Paella Mix cost $4.49 for a 10.6-ounce package at the time of publication. The package describes this as “traditional Spanish style paella, with yellow rice, clams, mussels, wild caught shrimp, and vegetables.”
This is an Aldi Find, so it’s only in stores for a short time. Each store gets one shipment, and after that sells out, it’s gone unless Aldi brings it back at some point. Aldi doesn’t offer online ordering for products not in stock at your local store.
This is a product of Spain. The front of the box states the shrimp and clams are wild caught, with the shrimp caught in FAO area 41 using the trawling method and the clams caught in FAO area 71 using rake and small dredges. The mussels in this product were raised in Best Aquaculture Practices certified farms. The cooked whole white hard clams in this product are from a fishery independently certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.
Ingredients include cooked rice, cooked whole mussels and mussel meat, cooked whole white hard clam, and raw peeled red Argentina shrimp.
If you’re looking out for allergens, this contains crustacean (shrimp) and fish (cod, pollock, haddock). The package also warns this product contain shells.
One package contains two 1-cup servings. One serving has 130 calories, 1 gram of total fat (1% DV), no saturated fat, 490 mg of sodium (21% DV), 22 grams of total carbohydrates (8% DV), 1 gram of total sugars, and no added sugars.
This should be kept frozen until ready to prepare. If defrosted, keep under refrigeration and use within 24 hours. Keep in mind this contains cooked mussels and cooked clams, but the shrimp are raw, so you’ll want to be sure the shrimp are fully cooked prior to serving.
The package has directions for microwaving this or pan frying it on the stove top.
To microwave from frozen, remove the outer paper carton. Without piercing or opening, place the plastic tray on a microwave-safe plate. Cook for 4 minutes on high. Let stand for 1 minute before peeling open the lid from the easy opening corner.
To pan fry from frozen, take the paella out of the freezer 15 minutes before cooking. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan on low heat. Remove the tray from the box, open the tray, and add the mixture to the frying pan. Stir well and cook, covered, at low heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring regularly until shrimp are cooked through.
I heated this on the stove top. A traditional paella has a crusty, crispy bottom layer called a socarrat. You get this crust by stopping stirring toward the end of the cook time. For more information on how to make a socarrat with your paella, click here. I tried not stirring this for the last few minutes of cooking, but I didn’t get much of a crust, and I didn’t want to continue cooking it and overcook the seafood.
The seafood in this mix tasted good, while I thought the rice was average. The rice in this looks similar to the rice in a frozen paella Aldi sold a few years ago that had a different seafood combination (it included calamari, pollock, and shrimp).
Mussels make up the largest proportion of the seafood in this mix by far. My mix had quite a few mussels with no shells along with three mussels in their shells. This also had three small clams in white shells and one (yes, one) piece of shrimp. The one large piece of shrimp is prominently displayed inside the packaging, so when I picked this up at Aldi, I assumed it would have several large pieces of shrimp, but that was not the case.
I served this to my family alongside some crab cakes and salad. It was fine, and we liked the seafood that was included in this. Yet no one seemed particularly impressed with this dish overall, and there was actually a little paella left over. This was okay but probably not one of our favorites.
The Fremont Fish Market Seafood Paella Mix includes rice cooked with turmeric and some small veggie pieces along with shrimp, clams, and mussels. It contains more mussels than any other type of seafood, and ours only had one large piece of shrimp. The seasoning is all right but perhaps not the most memorable.