Monday, March 14, 2011

Paella of deliciousness (and tomato salad)

The main event
This is a bit less seasonal than I'd normally like to post about. I'm in the middle of moving apartments so I had to dig through my photo library to see what pictures I had to scrape a blog together with.

Last summer in London was a scorcher! My cravings like everyones (I assume) changes with the weather. So because the weather was heating up I started having real cravings for "summer" food. Stuff like seafood, tomatoes, lemon, can probably see where I'm going with this. Paella combines all of these things and more!

I spent more than I should on some amazing chorizo in borough market so I needed to make it stretch. Hence the starter of tomato and chorizo salad. Also Pella like risotto is one of those things best cooked and served straight away so the tomato salad buys you some time in the kitchen! Also it's upsettingly simple to put together.

Scary looking? Or tasty Looking? 

150g Chroizo (Not cured)
250g king prawns (2-3 per person)
300g Squid
500g of Mussels
150-200g peas
4 large tomatoes
1 large white onion
1 Yellow pepper
4 cloves of garlic
3 red chilies
3 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp pd saffron strands
1 lemon
2-3 Sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 glass of dry white wine
400g of short grain rice (paella rice)
800mls of stock (fish, vegetable or chicken)
Boiling water (enough to top up later)

The how to bit....
Heat some olive oil in a pan and soften the onion, garlic, pepper, red chilies and thyme. After a minutes or two add the chorizo and paprika and cook on a high heat until you see the chorizo start to ooze a beautiful golden oil. Now dump in the rice and mix it around really well so all the rice is coated in the oil. Now add the wine and let it cook off. Add the stock and bring to a boil but don't let it boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer. This is a good point to stir in the saffron.

 Heads on the prawns = Tasty deliciousness! 
The thing with paella is you need to resist stirring it too much as that woud release too much starch and we're not making risotto here! Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes then add in the prawns and muselles. You want to make sure they are totally submerged in the stock/rice (if not, top it up with some boiling water). Cook them for 4-5 minutes, when the prawns turn pink and the muselles open they're ready! Throw in the squid and peas now, again cover them in the rice and let cook for no more than 2 minutes. Take off the heat, cover the pan with foil and let stand for 5 minutes (season to taste). Arrange some lemon slices on the top and serve with some crusty bread. Yum!!

Tomato Salad:
Tomatoes roughly chopped
Chorizo (Cooked in olive oil, keep for dressing)
Red onion finely sliced
Fresh basil

There's no need for me to list how to put this salad together. There is no right way or wrong way just bang all the ingredients together and drizzle with the cooking oil. Salt and peper to taste and a splash of balsamic vinger never goes astray.

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