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Paella is Everywhere!

Going to Tampa Bay for the Republican National Convention, I was excited to try some great restaurants in the area. But I didn’t know exactly what kind of “local fare” I might expect.

Well Paella was the dish of the week! I’ve always enjoyed the wonderful concoction that can come with so many variations, but I must say it tastes a little better in Florida!

Paella at Columbia Restaurant, Tampa Bay

The RNC welcome party at Tropicana Field used a monster paella pan to anchor the buffet display. Then the traditional Spanish dish made another appearance at the legendary Columbia Restaurant. And it was all so good, I was ready for some more!

Then last weekend in Los Angeles, it was on the menu at Jose Andres’ The Bazaar.  This got me thinking that I need a good paella recipe so I can enjoy it back home too. So I found this enticing recipe from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence.

RNC welcome party featured local favorites

The Ultimate Paella

Ingredients

  • Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
  • 1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • 4 cups short grain Spanish rice
  • 6 cups water, warm
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 lobster tails
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment:

  • Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet

Directions

Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.

In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect.

Cook’s note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.

Spice Mix for chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Sounds delicious, I have only made it with shrimp or kalamari, but I imagine the sausage would give it a nice depth.

    September 13, 2012

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