paellacloseupbetterweb.jpgI've made paella on the stove, in my yard on the grill, and over a firepit while camping in the redwoods. I hope someday to make it in the most traditional of settings - over a beach bonfire, sand in my toes and salt in my hair. The most recent version? Over a fire in my yard on a sunny Saturday afternoon - Derrick & Melissa and I harvested the fruits of the Alemany Farmer's market (not quite as direct as from the sea), and came back to the wabe to sabre champagne, shuck oysters, and cook up a big paella. My paella is more a method than a recipe; culled from Moro: the cookbook, Cesar, a long websurf, and the paellas I've tasted. Makes it perfect for a market-inpsired brunch!

Things you'll need:
*A broad, shallow skillet, or even better, a paellera.
*Calasparra or another Valencian rice (arborio will do, in a pinch) - around a half-cup of rice per serving.
*Some sort of stock - chicken, fish, perhaps some wine as well. You'll want a 2:1 ratio of stock to rice.
*A few onions, chopped
*olive oil
*Accent ingredients (chorizo, rabbit, chicken, seafood, snails, veggies...)
*Spices to match (saffron, thyme, smoked paprika, rosemary)

To build a paella, pick your preferred "accent" ingredients, and layer flavors around them. Naomi can't eat the fishies, so her birthday paella was a chicken, artichoke & sherry based dish, accented with thyme and saffron. (Combo pulled directly from Moro: the cookbook). I like chorizo with my seafood, and the scallops and shrimp caught our fancy at the market - so Derrick, Mellissa & I assembled a paella full of sherry, artichokes, chorizo, shrimp, scallops, saffron & thyme. The Spanish Table is an excellent resource for ingredients, cookware, and tasty Spanish wines, if you're looking for supplies and inspiration.

Build a hot fire (or turn on your stove to high), and heat up a generous dollop of olive oil. If you have a chicken or bunny , brown the pieces first. Add the onion, and cook until golden. Toss in your chorizo in the last minute or so of the onion-cooking. Add your rice, stir to ensure that it's well-coated in olive oil and let it toast for a minute or so, stirring to keep it from burning.

Add in your stock. (If you're on a stove, it's nice to have it hot with your saffron pre-infused - but if you're camping or over a fire, don't worry about it.) For the market paella, I used equal parts Oloroso sherry & chicken stock. Add your saffron, thyme, and veggies; salt to taste. Give it a stir to make sure stock has coated all the rice, and then DON'T stir anymore - you want a tasty caramelized layer of rice on the bottom. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for ten minutes. Add your seafood, and let simmer for another 10 minutes as your coals die down. (I like to cook my shrimp with the shells and heads on, but if you're fussy about such things, feel free to peel them. Add them a little later in the cooking cycle if you do that.) Your coals will be dying down right around the time your paella is done. Test your rice, scoop into bowls, and serve!

If you're camping, make extra. Tuck it aside when you go to sleep, and put it back on the coals in the morning with a little extra stock or water and a few eggs cracked on top. Cover and you'll have poached eggs on rice for breakfast!

Posted by shock on August 08, 2006 | TrackBack
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