9.29.2012

Paella Mixta

The other night, as we trolled YouTube for videos that struck our fancy - Maria Callas singing Casta Diva from Bellini's Norma, Women in Art, silly commercials, and such - we came across one of our favorite episodes of Posh Nosh, “Paella.”

As people who love food, if you have never seen Posh Nosh, you really owe it to yourselves to watch these brief little gems. The series is, for us, the perfect combination of Monty Python, To the Manor Born and PBS cooking shows (do you remember Rogers and Gray's Italian Kitchen series? "First you must refresh your herbs..." - the H in herbs breathy in its enunciation). In Posh Nosh, Arabella Weir and Richard Grant are brilliant as the Hon. Simon and Minty Marchmont; their haughty goal is "to bring extraordinary food to ordinary people."

In the Paella episode, Minty consistently pronounces paella - pie-ELL-uh, to Simon's absolute disdain. Of course, underplayed British hilarity ensues...

The episode got me to thinking about paella. I had my first served by a friend in college - a Bohemian artist who gathered young people around her and amazed us with her free spirit and creative ways. She was always introducing us to "new things" which usually turned out to be really traditional and time-honored things from other cultures. Paella was one such thing. I had never seen such a mountain of food!

Since then, I have made it several times on a smaller scale ... once I procured a paella pan, that is. Note: you do not NEED a paella pan to make paella... I simply needed... er... wanted one.

After watching the Posh Nosh episode, I decided it was time to make one again.

Paella is a Spanish dish from Valencia, and there are three traditional types: paella valenciana (meat-based - duck, rabbit, pork, etc.), paella de marisco (seafood and no veggies) and paella mixta (a paella free-for-all). Well the mixta is the perfect type for me as it is a mixture of pretty much anything one wants to put in it. There are a couple of items that are standard in any paella - bomba rice (I used arborio with success), saffron (and not just a measly pinch, either), and olive oil.

I looked at a bunch of recipes, borrowed a couple of ideas, checked my freezer, cobbled it all together, and ended up with this recipe. The end result? It was really good. Seriously good, if you ask the others who shared it. Next time, I might make a few changes (maybe add some green peas or diced red bell peppers) but I will leave those decisions up to you for the time being.

¡Buen provecho!

~ David

Lobster Paella Mixta

5 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Esplette
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 cups bomba rice (you can substitute arborio)
1/2 cup white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup pole beans, sliced
1 pound lobster meat, chopped
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces artichoke hearts (fresh, canned or frozen)
1/2 pound par-cooked asparagus spears

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a paella pan (or large skillet with a cover), sauté onions till clear in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add tomatoes, pancetta, salt and pepper – simmer 10 minutes. Add additional 2 tablespoons oil and rice – sauté until rice turns opaque. Add Piment d’Esplette and saffron, and stir for 30 seconds. Add wine and broth, cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in sliced beans then arrange shrimp and artichoke hearts on top of rice. Cover and bake 10 minutes more. Arrange chopped lobster and asparagus on top, and cook a final 5 minutes uncovered. Serve at the table from the paella pan.

15 comments:

  1. David, How did you know that we are in Barcelona! And our favorite restaurant here is 7 Portes, famous for nearly 175 years as the paella restaurant in town. We'll be eating there again tonight with our friend Roland who just joined us here. We've been two weeks already and leave tomorrow for Piemonte and the Langhe! You know what we'll be doing there!!!! Adios!, W&M

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always enjoy a good mussel interrogation....when the fishermen are wet! Thank you David for the recipe (I LOVE paeLLa, and have my official paeLLa pan from the paeLLa source), but thank you even more for introducing me to Posh Nosh! Where has this been all my life! (Have always loved Richard Grant from way back in the Black Adder days!)

    Just a quick note - when I started making paella (in my official paeLLa pan) I discovered I didn't have any aborio and instead used a bag of Goya medium grain rice - it was perfect and an lot better for this gal on strict budget's purse. I later discovered from my friend Lupe (a Spaniard herself) that this is the rice she uses too!

    Gracias for the recipe....now back to Minty and Simon! XO

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think paella is getting a bit lost, though maybe not in specialized restaurants. Now this is a great reminder that I need to try making paella at home. I´ve had it very few times because it usually involves seafood which I hate. But I have a skillet that would be perfect for it! Did you get that crusty bottom part? It´s my main incentive. And peas are definitely a great addition, though we are having the first asparagus here. Maybe both? Have a great week David!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wes & Marlow - how lucky you are to in Barcelona now - and at 7 Portes. I have actually heard of the restaurant! Mmmmmmm... do I smell truffles in your future? 'Tis th4e season, eh? Have a great trip - send photos when you get back. Buen provechoe y buon appetito!

    Karin - I buy my arborio in bulk but will definitely give the Goya medium gain rice a try. So glad to introduce to the Marchmonts...

    Paula - until this tiem my paella's have been seriously meat-based. As I love seafood, I had a lot of fun with this, though. Peas and asparagus both? Why not! We have some leftover cochinillo asado in the freezer and it would be great in a paella! Now I am hungry again...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Remembering the days we you could get that lobster walking distance from your house. At $5.99 a pound right now, this recipe is quite doable for the budget minded.
    Thanks David, and I will be sending the link along to my good friend Kathy Gunst.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Guess I had a schizophrenic moment with the "we"-"you", but you get it nevertheless.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Holly - Lobster prices in New England have been amazing this year! Sadly, the low prices have not trickled into the desert yet! But we DO remember walking to the end of the street to buy them from Sue's Seafood. We do miss that aspect of life in New England, along with the Golden Harvest, Carl's, Byrne and Carlson and Beach Pea Bakery!

    ReplyDelete
  8. what a fun post! I have never seen Posh Nosh until now and I smiled all the way through it! I taste for seasonings just as she does! Your recipe looks simple and delicious. And, as you wrote, the lobster is very inexpensive here in New England, but it is also some of the sweetest lobster I have had in years! We do have a paella pan, well-seasoned and inherited from Towny's father,so I am certain paELla is in our future! Muchas gracias!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Susan - well, even if no one ever makes paella from this post, at least I introduced people to Posh Nosh! Have fun if and when you make paella!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Now I have an excuse to buy the paella pan! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Colette - as if we needed excuses! :) Glad I was able to give you your excuse!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a beautiful looking dish. I love watching cooking vids on youtube as well hehe

    ReplyDelete
  13. Christine - if all cooking videos were as "good" as Posh Nosh, it would be hard to tear me away from the computer to get me into the kitchen!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, my goodness. Cannot wait to share this with our La Tienda Facebook fans! Hysterical! Thanks for your great commentary, as well ;)
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks, Laurie! I imagine everyone will get a chuckle out of Posh Nosh! Thanks for visiting!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.