Monday, July 6, 2009
"Spain on the Road" Paella Recipe
With my little obsession about everything Spain, this is the first recipe I've tried (in it's entirety) from the Mario Batali cook book "Spain on the Road".
Can you believe it? So on the 4th of July I volunteered to cook it in my friend's outdoor gas wok - a really big one, it took 2 recipes to fill the wok.
Here it is:
1/2 c Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
6 large prawns
1 medium Spanish onion
1/2 cup pureed ripe tomatoes
1 t kosher salt
1 t saffron threads
1 T sweet pimenton
1 lb cleaned cuttlefish or calamari cut into 1" pieces
2 quarts fish stock
2 cups Valencia rice
1 lb monkfish cut into cubes
1 lb manila clams, scrubbed
Heat a paella pan over med-high heat. Add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the prawns and cook until golden brown on both side, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until sofe, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the salt, saffron, pimenton, and cuttlefish and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the calamari firms up slightly. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to distribute it evenly. Add the monkfish and clams, arranging them nicely, bring the stock back to a boil, and cook, without stirring for 10 minutes. Add the prawns, taste for salt, and cook, again without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and the pan starts to make a crackling noise (don't worry, this what you want). Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
The secret is to grind your saffron threads and kosher salt in a grinder. You can also add chorizo (with the onions) and cooked chicken (with the clams).
The taste of the paella was full of seafood and saffron. The rice has to be from Valencia to great that al dente but flavorful Spanish paella taste.
The feedback from everyone was that it was the best paella they every had.
When using a wok, you will need to stir the rice more than this recipe states, because of the distribution of the heat and rice in the wok. When left alone, the middle of the wok gets more heat than the surrounding edges.
This recipe feeds 6 people.