2011-03-12

Dinner Blogging - I Ruined Paella Again

This was dinner tonight:

Paella. Well, not really as my approach to this traditional dish is blasphemous. Firstly, as you can see, I don't have a paella pan. Second, I had to customize the dish removing any excess salt, heat and tomato. Third and most heinous, I stir the bleeding thing.

Now that the purists have stormed of in anger, it's confession time. I make paella so infrequently that I don't have bomba on hand, so I use arborio. I can't even get the rice right for a rice dish! Also, I didn't know I'd be doing a post about dinner, so I really only have after pictures. Anyways, good excuse to cook paella again - so I can get some WIP photos.

My pan? Stainless steel flat bottomed frying pan. Well actually it's got a layer of aluminum sandwiched in the bottom to even out heat distribution, so it's actually quite paellera-like. Perhaps one day I'll get a real pan, but it's way down the list.

No tomato sofrito? This was going to be a problem, fortunately my blatant disregard for tradition allowed me to figure something out - a different flavour profile. I was cooking this thing because we had leftover cooked chicken breasts and we found those lovely rock lobster tails at the store. Knowing what was going into the dish, I replaced the olive oil and sausage drippings with bacon fat (this accounted for most of the salt added to the dish) and slowly cooked down the onions. Keeping the heat at low-medium got them nice and golden just like they do in chorizo drippings. Garlic went in at the same time as the rice and I used a low-sodium chicken stock.

Here's the blasphemy. I add only part of the stock at the beginning and stir the thing occassionally as it cooks. Arborio and stirring? Why didn't I just make risotto? Because the lobster tails. P.S. I are jealous of you people with access to good fresh seafood. March in LEAFS SUCK means that they were frozen tails. Here it is coming off the heat - and yes that is an electric stove I'm on. A major kitchen reno is also on the list.

The asparagus I ended up steaming directly on top of the paella. A one-pan dinner - although you do have to remember to soak it on account of the socarrat. I know what you're thinking - what socarrat you evil stirring motherfucker! Well, the proof of the puddin's is in the eatin's.
A little bit closer.
Here it is on the pan.

How was it? Fucking delicious, but flawed. My first inclination was to go with corn instead of peas, but I bowed to tradition and kept the green vegetable despite knowing I was going to have aspargus beside it. Don't get me wrong, the peas were good - but corn would have been better. Also, the rock lobster tails were over-cooked, but they started off as frozen anyways so I'm not too broken up about it.

Anyways, the reason I'm writing this is for the following notes to self:
1. Fuck tradition and go with your instincts.
2. Try harder to find good fresh seafood.
3. Build yourself a new kitchen.

5 comments:

B^4 said...

Knowing what was going into the dish, I replaced the olive oil and sausage drippings with bacon fat

That's like a Dixie paella.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Kinda, except I don't think there's anyone in the South that would ever take sausage out of a recipe.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I guess it's not Kosher, since you put the bacon fat in...

;-)

Substance McGravitas said...

I had a cinnamon-raisin bagel from a bag.

vacuumslayer said...

I think these Spanish rice-based dinners are very tricky. Because the rice is supposed to be crusty on the bottom. And, also...I tend to find the rest of the rice soggy and gooey. I like a nice not-stick rice. Unless it's in sushi or something.