Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Seafood and Chorizo Paella

I've always been intrigued by Spanish cuisine like tapas, but we especially love paella.  It's so versatile too, you can combine all kinds of different combinations of fabulous flavors.  Originally paella was made with chicken and rabbit and was made with a variety of garden vegetables. Today, there are thousands of varieties of paella.  Typically we make our paella with a cut-up roasted chicken, chorizo slices, shrimp and mussels.  This version we went heavier on the seafood and left out the chicken.  David combined a few recipes and he came up with this amazing dish.  A true seafood extravaganza with great, authentic flavors. 

1 1/4 cups of Spanish Bomba rice
4 cups of chicken stock (or fish stock)
1 cup of white wine for the paella
3/4 cup of white wine for the mussels and clams
1 TBSP saffron threads
30 mussels*
20 clams*
15 large prawns or shrimp
3 large lobster tails, steamed or boiled
1 onion
3 stalks of celery
6 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups Spanish chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
olive oil
lemon wedges

Finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Scrub the mussel shells, and de-beard*.  Scrub the clam shells.  Peel the shrimp, and de-vein if required.  Discard any mussels or clams that have broken shells, or are open and don’t close up tight when you scrub them.

In a small pan warm the stock over a low heat.

Put the saffron threads in the cup of white wine, and let it infuse for at least 10 minutes.

Heat the paella pan over medium heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.  When the oil is hot add in the onion and celery.  Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add in garlic, and cook for another minute.  Stir in the rice, and let it absorb some of the oil.  Add in the chorizo.  Turn up the heat and pour in the white wine.  Let this boil for a minute, and then add in most of the stock, stirring well.

Let this boil gently for 5 minutes.  Add in the prawns, and cook for a further 15 minutes.  You will want to gently stir this from time to time, to make sure everything is heating evenly.  If it looks like the rice is absorbing all the stock too early, before the 15 minutes is up then add a little more in.  Stir in the peas.

For authentic paella you want to stop yourself from stirring the dish during the last half of cooking.  Authentically the best paella has a crust on the bottom of the rice, where the rice is in contact with the pan.  This is only achieved through not stirring.

With a few minutes to go in the cooking process, put a large pan over a high heat.  Add in the 3/4 cup of white wine and get it boiling.  When it has reduced by about half, toss in the mussels and clams.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down to medium-high.  These will take about 3 minutes to steam open.  You should be able to hear them pop open.  Discard any mussels or clams that haven’t opened.

Arrange the lobster, mussels and clams in the paella, sprinkle with the basil and parsley.  Let everything sit for a few minutes to heat through and to let the flavors meld together.  Serve with the lemon wedges.

*A few notes on buying and cleaning mussels and clams:

A lot of fishmongers really don’t store mussels and clams well.  Mussels should be kept in lots of ice, not just sitting on a bed of them.  Take a good look at them...they should be closed.  If they're open, they're not good and should be discarded.

Clams can bet kept on ice for a little bit, but should ideally be kept in moving water, at a specific salt level.

To clean a mussel...first inspect the shell for any visible damage.  If it is cracked, or is open and doesn’t close when you tap it discard those as well.  Gently scrub the shell removing anything that is crusted on.  With a firm yank pull off the beard of the mussel, the hairlike bit sticking out of the shell, if one is still attached.

To clean a clam simply scrub the shell.  Again discard any that are open or damaged.  Clams have much thicker shells than mussels and the likelihood of damage is minimal.

It's best to buy mussels and clams on the same day you wish to eat them.  As soon as you get them home, take them out of their bags and put them in a bowl with lots of crushed ice.  Put in the fridge and drain the bowl of any melted ice every few hours.  

1 comment:

  1. The original Paella was made of rabbit's meat? I didn't know that! I have always thought it's only made of chicken.. Anyway, Paella is my all-time favorite dish! Its rich, tasty sauce is one of a kind. =)