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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Arroz con Vieiras y Alcachofas, camarones a la parrilla, y escarole

Spanish food rocks! I was inspired for this dish by Jose Andres and his Made in Spain show.

One thing you'll soon pick up (if you cook enough) is that recipes in books, TV, etc. are never what they seem. They tell you cook this for 10 minutes, and it really needs 50 minutes. They say add 1 tsp of a spice and you really need 2 Tbs. That's why you can't cook without some degree of intuition.

If you've ever followed a recipe exactly as stated and wondered why it tastes like crap, here's why: the recipe is a general idea of the sought after dish. It's a Cliff's Notes version of the real task of making something.

So here's what I'd like you to do. Take a recipe from your favorite book or TV show. Get out everything they tell you to do. Now double the spices, except the salt. Yes, DOUBLE THE SPICES. Try it. What happens? Well, for one, maybe you have a flavorful dish. Next time, cook whatever it is you're cooking for twice as long. See what happens. You'll be surprised, and you'll learn something in the process.

Enough of that, here's how I made my Spanish meal.

Arroz con Vieiras y Alcachofas [Rice with Scallops and Artichokes]:

First, get your sofrito. You'll need at least three large dollops of that.

Take three large ripe artichokes and get them down to the hearts. Here's a pretty decent video on getting it down to the heart, so watch it if you don't know what you're doing. Store the hearts in a large bowl of cold water with some fresh lemon juice and Italian parsley. When you're ready for them, cut each heart into 8 pieces (4 if they're small).

Get a handful of clean mushrooms, and chop them.

Pour a couple Tbs of olive oil in a large pan and drop in your artichokes. After about 2 minutes, add your mushrooms. Fry this all up for about 5-7 minutes, adding 1/2 cup of white wine somewhere along the line. Then, add your sofrito. Stir it and mix well, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add three cups of water and bring to a boil, while stirring. Once boiling, add 1 cup of arborio rice. Mix well and boil on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then cover and lower heat for about 15 minutes.

Add juice from a lemon, and one Tbs smoked paprika, as well as 2 bay leaves. Mix well and put the lid back on for another 20 minutes or so. Low heat.

Meanwhile, add salt and pepper on your scallops (about 1 handful of bay scallops). Pan fry them in olive oil for 2 minutes. You do this right before your rice is done. You're going to add these into your rice when it's done. Once you add them in, mix well and you're good to go!

Camarones a la parilla [Shrimp on the grill]:

Take 1/2 shrimp and marinate in 1/2 cup white wine, handful of chopped parsley, juice from 1 lemon, salt, pepper and paprika. Thread onto a skewer and grill for about 2 minutes per side.

Escarole (pan fried):

Wash and chop a head of escarole. Heat olive oil in a large pan and fry it for 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, put a lid on and cook down for a couple minutes. Take off the lid, add some kosher salt and you're done!

This whole meal works well with a bit of aioli (mayo, olive oil and pressed garlic).


~ Brock

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