• Posted by Califia Suntree on November 7th, 2011, 4:00 AM

    Back in ’06, I posted from Spain about the cuttlefish and rabbit paella that I had learned to make there, fish head broth and all. The technique I describe there is truly no-fail, if followed to the letter, and I have since made all manner of variations (rabbit and cuttlefish both being, sadly, extremely hard to find Stateside). This time, though, in honor of my dad’s birthday, I went whole hog–or, rather, whole chorizo-prawns-shrimp-chicken-squid. When it comes to paella, the more most definitely the merrier, and this was one helluva plate of rice.

    I followed my previously posted recipe, with just a few tweaks to accommodate the pile of protein. Since I didn’t have a frozen bag of fish heads awaiting me in the freezer, as my Spanish roommate always did, I went to my local fishmonger and for $1 I bought a halibut carcass, which I boiled with onions and garlic to make a potently oceanic broth. The broth is your foundation, and it’s extremely important not to skimp on it–you are shelling out for pricey seafood and saffron (I use Penzey’s Spanish saffron, which is aromatic but not flowery), so why ruin it with nasty packaged broth?

    For this variation, I started by dicing the chorizo (Spanish, not Mexican–try Dona Juana’s brand) and frying it in olive oil until browned. I scooped it out with a slotted spoon and proceeded with the chicken and squid as per the posted recipe. In the final moments, I added the shrimp and prawns, so they cooked briefly and finished up during the all-important 5-minute rest period. I served the paella with a simple Spanish-esque salad (they aren’t big on salads over there…), made with Romaine hearts and roasted red pepper strips, dressed with a gently spiced yogurt dressing. Que delicioso!

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