Last Sunday morning, a few friends, Ray & Evelyn Tong and Marty & Terry Mahuron, came over to our house to make Paella. We decided on a seafood paella with only some Spanish Chorizo to add another dimension to the dish. Our friends’ daughter, Allison, tagged along. She wanted to see how this dish was made so she can make one tailored to what she likes in it in the future.
I had emailed a list of ingredients for the Sofrito and the other staples. The options for meats, seafood, veggies, etc. were decided beforehand. Evelyn brought the seafood. Marty brought her ingredients for her green salad. Allison came with her laptop and smart phone, poised to memorialize the event! The men sat in the family room to talk sports and nibble on some tapas. Every so often, the would peek to see where we were at and weigh in on the progress. My hubby likes to say, “The Paella is not done until I say it’s done!” Okay…..
Louie and I had taken a paella course at Iberia in Menlo Park under the tutelage of none other than Jose Luis Relinque himself a few weeks ago. (See blog about that – Paella on the Patio, February 5, 2012). I have to say, I was a very attentive student. After the course, I resolved to document all the little pearls of wisdom he imparted on what makes a good paella. I have endeavored to incorporate it in all my versions of it:
1. With Paella, it’s all about the rice. It takes center stage. Everything else is there because it contributes to the complexity in the flavors and taste of the rice.
2. There are no hard and fast rules for how much this and that to put. You choose how you want it to taste. If you love vegetables, then put a lot. If you like a lot of meat, then put all the meat you want.
3. The broth has to be good. Flavorful, full-bodied, seasoned.
4. Paella making is a social event. Don’t make it ahead of time and then serve to your guests. Let them crowd around the paella being cooked (even participate!), weigh in on this and that, take a swig of sangria here and there, ponder on some current issues and trends, and everyone is happy!
Here is a progression taken by Allison on her phone:
The last part is waiting for the rice to cook and absorb all the flavors while the broth boils away and evaporates.
At this point, the dish looks absolutely wonderful and it also smells great! Marty prepared her salad. Evelyn put together a fresh fruit salad for dessert. In a few minutes, the dish would be ready.
We set the table and once the dish was done and Louie pronounced it as ready, we were off to the table with it:
And so, after toasting the cooks and the tasters, we proceeded to enjoy our creation. It was a most enjoyable Sunday to cap off the month of February.
- The Versatile Paella (rgrull.wordpress.com)
- Paella On The Patio (likeitiz.wordpress.com)
- Paella Mixta (jojianna.wordpress.com)
- Recipe: Paella (christiescorner.com)
- The region of Valencia is known for its many rice dishes, like Paella and also Arroz al Horno (Oven-Baked Rice)… (katyarichkitchen.com)