Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Paella para dos

M. and I got inspired this weekend. A quick trip to our fishmonger, and we came home with a large salmon, shrimp, clams, scallops and calamari. Paella it would be.

After looking up a few recipes on the net (my cookbook collection being rather mute on the topic of paella), we devised a plan. Our goal was to avoid mushy rice and overcooked seafood, two common issues with paella. We partly succeeded. Next time, we'll do better.

We began by making stock with the salmon bones and head, shrimp peel, garlic, sweet paprika, bay leaves, water, a bit of salt and a few peppercorns.

While the stock was simmering, I sautéed the salmon, shrimp, and scallop in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and sweet paprika. I cooked them until they were just underdone.

After the stock had simmered for about 30 minutes, I strained it into a cheesecloth, pressing on the solids to extract as much flavour as possible.

I then sautéed a generous amount of onion and garlic, along with the squit cut into rings, then added basmati rice, more sweet paprika, saffron, and a good amount of cayenne and sautéed until the rice became opaque. I then added the fish stock and let the rice cook.

Meanwhile, I steamed the clams in a bit of the fish stock.

When the rice was almost done, I sprinkled green peas on top of the rice, then arranged the fish and seafood, and garnished with roasted red peppers, then I let the rice and seafood finish cooking.

Notes to self:
- Next time, Iwill cook the fish and seafood longer before I add it to the rice.
- Because we used basmati rice (as per M.'s preferrence), we should have let the rice cook completely before adding the fish to the rice, as basmati is like a little sponge that can absorb a lot of liquid -- and then becomes mushy (which is what we wanted to avoid in the first place).


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