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!
Where I live, early fall is the season of lumpy, oddly shaped, strangely colored last-hurrah tomatoes. They aren’t as vibrantly flavored as the height-of-summer fruits, but they do ease the transition into cooler weather and darkening days. Our fall tomatoes were all yellow (or yellowish), and not quite suitable for slicing into a salad. But they did make an excellent fresh tomato sauce, with a bit of oregano, perfect for serving with seasonally appropriate mushroom ravioli. Here’s how I made it:
Crush or finely mince garlic and saute it in some olive oil in a wide, non-reactive pan. Just when it starts getting aromatic, toss in some crushed dried or minced fresh oregano. Using a food mill, grind your fresh yellow tomatoes into the pan and simmer until the flavors meld. Season with salt and, if your tomatoes lack acidity (ours did), squeeze a bit of lemon juice overall. (A friend recommends lemon zest, which I haven’t tried.) Toss with pasta and enjoy the lingering taste of summer!
This is a fun recipe that is not only delicious and easy to throw together, but celebrates the enthusiasm surrounding the summer’s tennis events and athletes. Use your judgment and desires to direct you as to amounts of ingredients—and don’t be afraid to experiment.
The racchette pasta is shaped like little tennis racquets (a very charming aspect of this kind of pasta), however the bow tie pasta needs to be cut in half horizontally in order to resemble the shape of tennis skirts. The slices of bacon can be considered the tennis net and, of course, the green peas make perfect little tennis balls. Sometimes I add cauliflower as a champion’s bouquet to this mix.
Ingredients Read on… »
I recently purchased a medium-sized red cast iron fondue pot by Le Creuset. I think the cast iron pot made a big difference because there wasn’t even a little burning, which I have seen happen with steel fondue pots. You can always eat the cheese straight from the saucepan but the feeling isn’t the same and the cheese doesn’t stay quite as warm without the little flame.
While it is on the stove, the key is to keep things moving. Once it is in the fondue pot the key is simply to keep eating, then there is no danger of burning the cheese. I served two separate batches of fondue, that way the cheese stayed evenly melted and everyone got their fill. Read on… »