Friday, March 25, 2011

Paella Again!

Fresh, local lobster warmed in saffron butter, center; Maine shrimpies, PEI mussels and MA littlenecks intertwined with roasted red bell pepper strips, and served over pea-dotted paella with local sausage and chicken!

Special friends from Colorado visited a couple of nights ago. After having taken part in a paella party last weekend--which was lots of fun--such delicious food and a great bonfire--I just had to make paella in a nod!

There are gazillions of recipes online that can help steer you to technique, but know that you can include any foods you want. "Paella is about the pan" [not the pan pictured above!], say some. Others, "the rice," or the "the olive oil." Some say it's all three of these, while others emphasize inspiration with ingredients. I concur with this last suggestion!

I was unable to find a true Spanish rice, such as 'calasparra', or the next highly suggested rice, 'Vialoni Nano', an Italian offering. Both of these are short grain rices that will absorb lots of liquid without becoming mushy. For my paella, however, I had no choice but to use arborio rice. It's also a short grain rice, but it's starch structure is meant to become creamy and sticky with the addition of liquid--almost casserole-like, whereas the former rices will keep their integrity and stay separated after cooking.
Regardless, this paella dish was awesome, and with the exception of the rice, spices & seasonings, olive oil and peas (the latter could have come from locally grown sources had I frozen way more than I did last summer...), it was deliciously local:

Local chicken (drums and thighs) from Harrison's: deboned and trimmed at home, marinated in evoo (I could have used my local sunflower oil!), sherry vinegar (I could have used my local cider vinegar!), oregano (my own dried has since long been depleted...), garlic (local!), and s&p

Hot Italian sausage from Brookford Farm (delicious and not too spicy)

Mussels: PEI

Littlenecks: coast of Massachusetts

Lobster: coast of NH (fresh, from a local small fishmonger)

Shrimp: coast of NH (whole, purchased from Eastman's a month ago, shelled and frozen at home), marinated in evoo, pressed garlic, s&p

Stock: homemade poultry (combined turkey and chicken), steeped with a generous pinch of saffron threads

Aromatics: onion, garlic (Heron Pond Farm and Farmer Dave's

Nothing better than sharing good food with good friends, particularly those from CO!  :)  xoxo

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