Tapa Out

by wjw on July 19, 2020

IMG_5142So last night’s experiment in cuisine was seafood paella.  I’d never made paella before, and I’ve probably eaten it less than half a dozen times in my life, but I had a new skillet that I thought would do a good job with it, and the ingredients were to hand, including the terrific saffron that Patricia Rogers gave me a while back.

In addition to shrimp and bay scallops, the paella had ham, chicken, and chorizo.  I looked online for recipes, and found dozens of them, all claiming to be authentic recipes garnered from a grandmother born in Andalusia or wherever, so I felt free to mix and match whatever seemed good.   (I am not one of the purists who claims that paella has only chicken and rabbit and no other protein.)  All the paella I’ve eaten in the past was a little bland, so I thought chorizo might fix that, along with red pepper flakes.

And the paella was, well, pretty good.  (It tasted much better on the second night.)  Next time I’ll look for arborio rice, or some other kind of rice other than the standard white rice in my pantry.

But not bad for a first attempt.  Next will be better.

Juanma Barranquero July 20, 2020 at 6:27 am

I’m no paella zealot (I’m a Spaniard, but not from Valencia), but mixing shrimp, ham, chicken and chorizo is… a bit too much.

You can do paella with proteins other than chicken and rabbit, but please, look for a recipe that keeps things a bit less cluttered 😉

John Appel July 20, 2020 at 10:27 am

I’ve been thinking of picking up a dedicated paella pan, but using a large skillet seems like a solid work-around. What’s the new skillet you employed?

wjw July 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm

Juanma, the contents of the paella was dictated largely by the contents of the refrigerator. The shrimp, scallops, and chicken needed to be cooked, and the chorizo was added because I was afraid the paella would turn out bland. I agree that the result was rather busy.

John, it was a “granite” skillet by Michaelangelo (I assume not Buonaroti). Also described as “stone.” At any rate, it’s not teflon, but some other coating that’s safe for use in ovens. It’s a good skillet, but the bottom deforms under heat, so it may not be the best option.

Juanma Barranquero July 22, 2020 at 2:45 am

I’m no stranger to refrigerator-influenced cooking 😉

As for your paella, obviously, if you enjoyed it, then it was good. But I’d really suggest trying a more balanced recipe. A good paella is anything but bland.

The bit about “recipes garnered from a grandmother born in Andalusia or wherever” made me laugh out loud. That’s like saying “some guy gave me the wonderful gumbo recipe from his Bostonian grandmodther”… 😉

Juanma Barranquero July 22, 2020 at 2:52 am

Also: Arborio rice can be used in a pinch, adjusting the amount of liquids, but better use Bomba if you can get hold of it.

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