I visited Barcelona a few years ago, and I have to say the food was great, although almost as expensive as Perth, seeing as it’s such a popular destination. It’s the capital of Catalonia which is a separate ‘community’ in Spain, it sort of has it’s own language, in that they don’t speak the generic Spanish that you hear on TV. Along Las Ramblas there are so many paella restaurants and each one looked as good or as basic as the next so in truth, it didn’t matter which one we went to.
If we’d gone to Valencia, where paella seems to be ‘from’ it would have been a different story. So although I’ve tasted ‘Spanish paella’ I don’t really count it, so I’ve made my own based on a few recipes I found around the internet – this one is mostly based on Rick Stein’s. Mostly because I am jealous of him and his amazing food travels. Bastard.
Because Paella is a community dish with sea creatures thrown in, I invited some friends over to share the wealth. Oh dear god, I’m eating the leftovers right now and I’m still patting myself on the back, haha.
I greeted Rita and John with some questionable sangria and a selection of tapas – green olives, chorizo and cheese – to get them all excited. Rita and I ate most of it, as we chatted – as the guys talked about something boring and watched Banshee – an HBO show in it’s 2nd season which is basically just porn.
I’d pre chopped all the veggies during the day, so I was feeling pretty good, I found that paella is a really simple dish that doesn’t need much minding, so it’s perfect to cook for a dinner party.
250gm of white fish
100gm each of squid rings, mussel meat and shrimp
10 mussels, with shells
10 king prawns, raw with heads
1 ½ cups medium grain rice (You can use the Bomba rice, but you’ll find it’s the same as supermarket med grain)
1 small green capsicum, chopped
1 small red capsicum, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
2 x garlic cloves
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup Fish stock
½ cup passata
Get a large, deep frying pan, or a paella pan if you’re one of those people that has one. It’s not essential, the whole reason for the special pan is that the dish used to be cooked over a fire, and the handles were to constantly turn it. We have gas and electricity now so shove it.
Saute the veggies in a glug of olive oil til fragrant and slightly browning. Add in the fish, mussel, shrimp and squid meat and stir. Pour in the passata, add the saffron strands (I used about a quarter of the Masterfoods package), paprika and rice and mix to combine. Pour in the fish stock and just simmer, covered for 10 mins on low. After 10 mins lift the lid and add in the mussels and prawns in their shells, just kind of poke them into the rice and then cover again for another 10-15. That’s it, the bottom should be crusty and slightly burned, and the top should be tender and flavoursome. The texture should be relatively dry and easy to eat with a fork.