In his wine days, Grant learned to make Paella, a delicious Spanish rice dish. Paella was quite popular in Seattle and there is even the Paella King who has a giant Paella pan and travels around making Paella for parties. In Nashville, however, we can’t even buy all the right ingredients. After begging our visiting friends to bring us things from The Spanish Table in Seattle when they visit and cramming our luggage full of special Spanish ingredients on quick trips back to Seattle, we have stocked up on Paella rice and good olives. We are finally set up to make Paella. Our Paella pan is big enough to serve 6-8 so we gathered a hand full of foodie friends to join in the food fun.
We spent all day cleaning and shopping in 4 different stores (note: it’s not that the ingredients are so special, it’s just that Nashville is a little food challenged). Then, we got down to business. I prepared the apps and made a pie as Grant worked on the Paella prep.
This is a mixed berry pie. Kristin said her favorite pie was a blueberry pie with powdered sugar served with lemon sorbet. I knew she had a new New Orleans cookbook by John Besh so I figured it was his recipe. I found the recipe and then, of course, completely changed it. But what I really liked about it was I used the kitchenade mixer to mix 1/2 cup of sugar (organic cane sugar) with 2 tbsp butter (organic, unsalted), and 1 egg (local, organic, brown) and then folded in the berries (had to use organic frozen as the berries aren’t in season yet), lemon zest, and 2 tbsp flour (White Lily). I served it with Ciao Bella Lemon Sorbet. I’ve never been a fan of lemon in desserts but I think it was a nice combo.
We had a selection of cheeses- a couple local cheeses I got at The Turnip Truck, and a couple Nikki brought from Whole Foods, three different kinds of olives (one of our favorites is the Ybarra anchovy stuffed olives which we have not been able to find in Nashville). Everyone brought wine!
The Doggers were good kitchen helpers…
Our friends arrived!
Grant was the big hero, as usual, slowly cooking each component in the same pan. We had shrimp, mussels, chicken drumettes, and hard Spanish chorizo. (We can’t find the right one here, of course, but Grant has a trick. We get a hard pork salami from Trader Joes and he spices it up and then when sauteed, it greatly resembles the texture and taste of our favorite Spanish chorizo.)
All the vegetables except the asparagus, rice, stock and spices (mmm-saffron!) go in the Paella pan but are not stirred (grains need to be left as separate as possible) and placed in the oven for about 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. After 20 minutes, he re-introduced the chicken and shrimp and placed the asparagus on top. The mussels went in at the very end.
Then, the feasting began!
Our bellies were happy… and maybe even a little too full…..