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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paella and Tortilla De Patata

I always look forward to Spanish food. At my house, it usually means Paella and a Tapas or two. Otherwise, it's a bunch of Tapas. The flavors are amazing, the use of seafood is exciting and it's also a chance for me to use flavors I don't always use - saffron, smoked paprika - great, but intense stuff.

This particular meal was inspired by a mouth-watering episode of Made in Spain with Jose Andres. I was lurking around Hulu and came across it. It just so happens I have a great Tapas book by him too. He went to this place that served Tortilla de patata and I was sold.

I really felt like having Paella, since it's been many months without. Tortilla and Paella? Yep, it works. Now I'm starting to get frustrated that I live in an area that purports to be diverse, yet I have not been able to locate Spanish chorizo at any store in my area. Mexican chorizo, sure. Spanish chorizo? Nope. If anyone knows where I can get it, please let me know. Meanwhile, I've had to sub Mexican for Spanish and hope for the best. I've also had to really improvise with my approach because Spanish chorizo works very differently than Mexican...the former holds its form like a sausage, the latter breaks up into tiny little pieces if you don't deal with it properly. So, for my Paella, I made Mexican chorizo meatballs first - this means I rolled them into walnut-sized balls and pan fried them in my paella pan so I'd have the oils and flavor.

Enough, let's get to the recipe...


Fry chorizo (see note above) until nearly cooked, remove to a plate.
Fry up 1 pound shrimp until just opaque, remove to a plate.
Fry up 2 fillets of firm white fish in a bunch of 1" chunks (I used Mahi Mahi - not a traditional choice, but an excellent selection, I must say), remove to the same plate as shrimp.
Finely dice 1 onion, pour 4 Tbs olive oil into paella pan heated medium and fry towards caramelization...maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Pop 4 large cloves of garlic through a press and mix into the onions for a couple of minutes. Remove to your plate with the chorizo.
Put 6 small slices of pimenton into the pan and fry up 2 minutes, then add a whopping amount of smoked paprika. Stir and fry, stir and fry. Add 3-4 grated tomatoes or 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes and fry up 2 minutes or so. Add 3 cups of Aribol0 rice and stir to coat, frying for a couple minutes. Add 5 cups of boiling broth [I've made paella with fish broth in the past, but this time I used a chicken broth with some saffron, white wine, salt, pepper and a bay leaf - excellent]. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly (keep the bubbles going, but don't have it on high). Add in the chorizo, and onion/garlic mixture, stir and let cook for 15 minute or so. Use a spatula and stir around the top of the rice and some of the liquid to redistribute and cook for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, then lay out the seafood on top. Cook a few more minutes until cooked. Turn off heat and cover with foil for 5-10 minutes.

Plate your portion, squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle some parsley.

Tortilla de Patata:

Take three small potatoes, skin and slice into really small slices...something like quarter or nickel size. Put those into a large bowl and run water through to rinse of starch, keep rinsing, then drain and dry.
Heat 1" deep olive oil and fry up the potatoes into a golden brown. Drain and reserve oil.
Caramelize 1 onion for 15 minutes. Drop into your potatoes.
Don't break up the potatoes!
Meanwhile mix 6 eggs and then add in potatoes and onions. Heat some of the potato olive oil to medium heat and pour in egg-potato mixture. shake lightly and let fry up for 5 minutes or so. Use a small spatula and make sure the side have pulled away.
Use a large plate over the top of the egg, holding the pan/plate over a large bowl, flip onto the plate, then slide the tortilla back into the pan. Poke a quick hole in the center and pour in any of the excess liquid that poured out into your large bowl. Fry up a few more minutes and remove out to plate.
The texture should be firm on the outside and soft on the inside.

Enjoy with a nice Spanish wine. I had a Tempranillo - very nice.

~ Brock

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