some weeks ago,
when the air still had a bite of winter
and the gloom of february seemed ever present,
(kinda like how this past weekend was,
except it’s way past the middle of march)
we had a paella party.
kinda sorta like the time
i spent with nuria’s family in barçelona.
nuria’s dad, jose,
cooked up a storm.
there was always something to eat.
and one of the things he made was paella.
every so often
i am able to convince nuria to make it for me.
it’s especially hard now that she technically lives in california,
but for the time being,
while she lives with us in baltimore,
i’m getting my fill of paella.
this was made in the dead of winter,
and as the weather warms,
and fresh spring vegetables make an appearance,
i see another paella party happening…
makes enough for 6 people, or 3 very hungry people
*note: this was all nuria, i stuck my head in a few times to take pictures but she did all the cooking. from what i gathered, make sure you have your mise en place together.
1 lb sushi rice
1/2 cups olive oil
1 TBL minced garlic
2 Liters seafood stock (best if from scratch, recipe to follow)
1/4 cup white wine
1 TBL saffron or tumeric
1/3 cup simple marinara, ideally sofrito
8 shrimps, with heads on
1/2 lb small scallops
1/2 lb sliced squid or calamari
1 lb of white fish, cute in bite sized chunks (tilapia, monkfish, or cod are great choices)
12 bize-size chunks of pork ribs (any meat will do, even chicken)
1 big lemon, cut into 6 wedges, to garnish
1 roasted red pepper in long strips, to garnish
carefully detach heads from shrimp, using your hands, don’t cut it and in a small pan infuse the heads with the olive oil for 20 minutes. do not bring the oil to a strong boil, aim for a light simmer.
meanwhile, in a big pot add in the stock, saffron (or tumeric), white wine and marinara. strain the olive oil from heads, set aside the infused olive oil and add the heads to the pot with the stock to simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
clean the shrimp and set aside.
in a pan sautee these items separately, but use the same oil and pan: fish, squid, and meat, with a pinch of salt and garlic. mise en place each item.
in the pan that will be used to make the paella, heat the rice with the shrimp-infused olive oil, medium-high heat. make sure each grain is coated and warmed through. all the while the stock should be at a light boil, the key is to keep the stock and rice at the same temp.
add 1-2 ladle-fuls of stock into the pan, enough to cover the rice. the rice will absorb the stock gradually, like cooking risotto. stir every 102 minutes to prevent scorching. as the stock is being reduced and absorbed, continue to add ladle-fuls of the stock to the pan, stirring as well.
at around the 10 minute mark, add the fish, meat, and squid. cook for 5 more minutes.
when the rice is still on the al dente side but is just about to get soft, around the 14-15 minute, add the scallops, mussels and cleaned shrimp. place the mussels and shrimp following the same pattern as a bike tire with 6-8 spokes.
now leave the pan alone, don’t stir it, but keep the pan moist by adding stock, a ladle at a time. the cooking time of the sushi rice should be around 18-20 minutes.
turn off stove, remove pan from heat, add the lemon wedges and the roasted red pepper strips, cover sand ignore for 5-10 minutes. the rice will continue to absorb the stock and cook in those minutes.
serve immediately. any leftovers can be eaten at room temp.
other international dishes:
african chicken stew
caribean oxtail stew
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl