My first taste of paella was at my friend Veronica’s house on New Year’s Eve. Her father is a Spainard and for special occasions, he would bring out the family paella pan, brought back from Spain and big enough to feed a small village. Paella was his domain and on this New Year’s Eve it was no different.
Veronica’s dad was very adament that everything be cooked at the same time on the grill. Cooking the rice ahead of time and then adding the rest of the ingredients wasn’t true paella because the flavors weren’t mingling during the cooking process.
Fast forward to July 2007. A recent dinner at Photogirl’s house where the after dinner conversation ultimately turns to food, specifically paella. Not being a fan of fish, Photogirl tells me of a paella recipe with chicken and chorizo. My appetite for paelle is been whetted.
A few days later during a conversation with my brother and as plans to cook paella start firm up, he insists on not using chorizo or for god’s sake, Polish sausage, but a Spanish sausage.
Research on the internet differ widely as well. The hugely popular, Epicurious site has 24 results for paella from quick paella to paella with rabbit and artichokes. Ultimately, I settle on one recipe that seems more traditional and very much like the one had at Veronica’s. But even the recipe selected has adjustment to fit my taste.
The bacon is substituted for linguiça, a Portugese sausage. And true to Veronica’s dad, it was all cooked on an outdoor grill and not in the oven as stated in the recipe.
Once everything has been prepped: the shrimps have been cleaned and deveined, the mussels scrubbed, the red peppers and onions chopped and the saffron soaked in clam juice and chicken broth has been poured it is all a matter of waiting.
When the rice has become tender and soaked up the liquid, a simple garnish is a lemon. I think Veronica’s dad would approve.
Original recipe from Epicurious without my adjustments can be found here.