- I was gifted a beautiful 18" paella pan, brought back from Spain, by my contractor. I hadn't broken it in yet. Until last night. I seriously don't know why I ended up with so much protein; the rice alone would have been fine. For the record, I had 2 pounds of chicken thighs, a package of chorizo from the farmers market, 4 huge scallops, and a pound of large pink Florida shrimp.
I used a hybrid of recipes, but primarily was following the one from Fine Cooking.com. I fired up two burners to around medium-high as instructed. Because the pan is thin, it gets hot FAST. So when I put in about 1/4 c. of olive oil, that baby started spitting and smoking, and the smoke detector started chirping.
I quickly adjusted the heat, threw open the window, cranked the exhaust fan to a deafening max, then started tossing proteins to be browned. First, the chicken, then the chorizo, then the seafood.
Silly me, at this point is thinking I will probably finish in the oven, so I didn't want to overcook, so I pulled them, and moved onto to the rice. (Silly because I didn't check to see if the pan would actually fit in the oven until later; it doesn't)
At this point it's going pretty well. The smoke has cleared to a light fog. I made a soffrito by grating an onion, a Kumato (another story by itself), and threw in some sliced garlic. I stir fried the rice a few minutes before adding saffron flavored broth, tossed in some fresh green beans, wrestled with opening a jar of roasted peppers (when did my ability to open jars disappear?). The proteins were all nestled back in while I rotated 1/4 turn every few minutes and waited for the magic to happen.
At this point it was definitely time to open the bottle of wine I picked up at West Point Market - a delicious Garnacha - Atteca Old Vines (2008). After awhile I tested the rice when the broth seemed to be absorbed and it was still underdone, so I added more stock, rotated some more, then covered with foil for a bit. It seemed like the rice was getting there, but a temp check on the chicken and chorizo revealed they weren't, so I pulled them out and stuck them in the oven. Then I was afraid that the seafood would overcook, so I pulled it and covered with foil.
Sipping, waiting. I cooked a shrimp specifically for my oldest kitty, Jake, who waited patiently outside the kitchen, whining, until I cut it up and gave it to him. (As a little kitten, a guest gave him shrimp at holiday party - he has had conniption fits when he smells shrimp ever since). Finally I start to hear the rice crackling, signally the socarrat, or caramelized crust, was forming.
Good stuff! The chicken and sausage still weren't quite done, so I had a seafood only version.
So obviously, a few lessons learned. The pan would fit nicely over the firepit, so I may try an outdoor version next summer.
Thankfully it's delicious - because I will be eating it for days.
And for a light dessert, these olive oil tortas, imported from Seville, Spain, are divine. Light and crispy, they come in several flavors, including my current favorite, Seville Orange. They are currently on sale at Mustard Seed Market - they are across from the chips in the aisle with the water filler. Thanks to my friend Laura for turning me on to these.