Yesterday in the New York Times dining section I was lulled by the article Paella, by Land and Sea written by John Willoughby. I had recently purchased “Arroz Calasparra” – traditional paella rice – from the Park Slope Food Coop. That, along with a recent craving for shellfish, and I had all the perfect ingredients to try my hand at Paella of the Sea.
I made a few changes as I usually do. I used cognac in place of the sherry. I did not have pork butt, so I added more shrimp. I also added more chicken broth since the ‘stock’ I made reduced and I needed more liquid for the rice. One could also use water. I used jarred roasted red bell peppers so I wouldn’t have to turn on the oven. I cut the recipe in half, and it fed four of us comfortably with two large bowls of leftovers. When halved, the recipe feeds more like 8 – 12 depending on portion size.
The recipe was absolutely amazing. I invited my friend who is a caterer and excellent cook over. My husband, child and I traveled to Spain in 2008, and hadn’t had paella like this since. This was a very delicious, delightful recipe which is why I knew I had to write about it. Kudos to the Chris Schlesinger, author of the recipe who shared his Secret Flavor Weapon: Many, many thanks. Your recipe is a gift.
Allergen information: This recipe is gluten-free, and does not contain fish, dairy, eggs, peanuts or soy. The recipe does contain shellfish, pine nuts and mollusks.
Here is the recipe (courtesy of the New York Times)
By JOHN WILLOUGHBY
- TOTAL TIME
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups dry white wine
- 3 cups clam juice
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 14 to 18) extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes (or substitute pork loin)
- 1 pound cured chorizo in medium dice (or substitute linguiça or andouille)
- 2 cups small-dice onion, peels reserved
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 4 pounds bomba rice (or substitute other short-grained rice)
- 48 littleneck clams
- 3 roasted red peppers, peeled and cut into strips, for garnish
FOR SECRET FLAVOR WEAPON
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon saffron threads
FOR GARLIC SCAPE RELISH
- 2 cups (about 20) garlic scapes (or substitute scallions)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- Combine the chicken stock, white wine, clam juice, 1 cup water and shrimp shells in a large pot. Add any onion peelings or vegetable scraps left from preparation. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, then strain, return the liquid to pot and set aside.
- While stock cooks, prepare the secret flavor weapon. Heat the sherry in a small pan until it is just beginning to simmer, then remove from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and set aside.
- Build a medium-hot fire in grill (when ready, you can hold your hand about 6 inches above the grill for only 2 or 3 seconds).
- Prepare the relish. Rub the scapes with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until just toasty, about 2 minutes a side. Remove from heat and chop roughly. Combine the scapes with the remaining olive oil, pine nuts and lemon zest, mix well, and set aside.
- Put 1/2 cup olive oil in a paella pan or 20-inch camp skillet. Put over the fire and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the pork butt and sausage and brown lightly on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and half the stock mixture, bring to simmer, then add the rice and the Secret Flavor Weapon. Stir well to combine, then smooth it out to an even layer (you should have just a layer of liquid between 1/4 and 1/2 inch on top) and allow to come back to a slow simmer.
- Push the shrimp and clams down into the simmering mixture so they are covered by the liquid, being careful not to stir the mixture. Move the pan just enough to the side of the fire so the liquid continues to simmer slowly. Add liquid as needed to maintain that very thin visible layer for 20 minutes, but do not move the rice around. After 20 minutes stop adding liquid and continue to cook until all visible liquid is absorbed and rice is tender but not mushy, from 5 to 15 minutes. Remove from fire, lay peppers on top, spoon on the Garlic Scape Relish and serve.
- 12 to 16 servings