Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seafood Paella

I just unloaded pictures off of the camera which was long overdue (600 photos - ack) and found a whole bunch of food pics that haven't yet been transformed into a blog entry. Though, I must skip ahead to last night's meal. Actually, this post was the motivation for (finally) unloading the camera.

Often times my inspiration for making a particular meal comes from watching Food Network, or cooking shows on PBS, or seeing glossy pics in a food magazine. But in this case it was very basic: it's the holiday season and lobsters are on sale. I was getting really excited to make this dish as I brought home four fresh lobster tails for $5, and tried not to think about how their freshness meant they had been separated from the rest of a live lobster body.

I didn't use any measuring devices when making this dish - just relied on 'standard' paella recipes for proportion (1:2 rice:liquid and as much seafood as you like!) even though I was using different kinds of rice with different cooking times. The finished product was much more brothy than I had anticipated, but that just meant there was more yummy flavor to sop up with bread along the way. (Note- next day all the 'extra' broth had been absorbed into the leftovers.) For vegetarians, definitely check out the most amazing tomato paella. This approach was loosely followed here, but it was entirely prepared on the stovetop.

Now, I know my little girl likes rice, and loves (loves!) seafood, but I was still a bit surprised to see how much she enjoyed this dish! "Pie-ey-yuh! Pie-ey-yuh!" I couldn't put it on her plate fast enough. To slow her down, I stopped doing the prep work on the seafood for her (I was hungry too and hadn't been able to take a bite yet!) Man, I wish I had my camera at the table last night to take a picture of her trying to get the good stuff out of the clams! I made sure to bring the camera in the kitchen when we had leftovers tonight!

Seafood Paella

1/2 pound fresh tomatoes (Campari are my favorite)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 Cups rice - I used a mix of risotto rice & short grain brown rice, but short grain white is traditional
pinch of saffron threads
1/2 Cup white wine
2 - 2 1/2 Cups chicken broth
3/4 Cup piquillo peppers (or roasted red peppers or pimento)
3/4 Cup green olives
1 1/2 Cups artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 pound lobster tails (about 4) split in half lengthwise
1 dozen mussels, cleaned
1 1/2 dozen clams, cleaned
1 Cup frozen peas (no, it's not in any of my photos because I didn't have any, but this paella would have looked even more fabulous with some bright green dots throughout. Or parsley, also something not on hand last night.)

1. Cut tomatoes into wedges, sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside. Slice peppers into strip, quarter artichoke hearts,roughly chop olives and set those aside, together.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic and sautee for 5 minutes. Add in rice and crushed saffron and stir to ensure rice is coated with oil.

3. Add white wine, wait until it is absorbed, then add 1 C chicken broth and cover. After liquid is absorbed, about 7-10 minutes, add another 1 C broth and cover again. After 7-10 minutes, when most of the liquid has been absorbed, add in remaining broth, tomatoes WITH any accumulated liquid on the plate, olives, peppers, artichokes and peas, then stir gently to combine. Arrange lobster tails in the pot with cut-side down and distribute clams and mussels. Replace cover and heat until seafood and rice have cooked through, another 5-7 mintues.

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