paella: saffron

101 in 1001 {II}: 038 cook with 12 ingredients I’ve never used before [ongoing]

09: saffron. i eat very little spanish food; i'm vegetarian, i have a blood feud with roasted red peppers, and i'm also secretly turning into akiko, the iron chef judge who thinks everything is too oily. i'm developing a fondness for pimentón, however, and when consulted on my spice-shopping list joe promoted saffron with great gusto. alors: it was time to attempt paella. i'd had the vegetarian version at jaleo on our trip to washington a few months ago; it was decent but a bit olive-heavy and (ahem) oily. mind you, that was the first paella i'd ever had; maybe it's a dish i'm just not meant to love. i considered that for a bit, and then i found mark bittman's paean to a simple version. no nasty meat and fish presented with flourishes and foolishness; just pimentón and saffron, good tomatoes and a handful of chopped parsley (that's not the whole recipe, but it's the elements that matter). lovely.

paella: tomatoes, raw

the recipe called for cored tomatoes in thick wedges, but alas, the summer crop is months away; the bigger vine tomatoes were despondent. these little fellows looked fantastic (that reptilian green!), though, and i thought smaller tomatoes would be more likely to roast to joe's satisfaction (he doesn't deal well with raw tomatoes).

paella: fin

hot damn, folks. i had to extend oven time by about fifteen minutes - our sole ovenproof skillet was way too small, and i ended up pouring the paella-to-be into a big old brownie pan - but i couldn't have been more pleased with the final product. the little halved tomatoes retained their juices and split only when eaten, so every bite was moist. i ignored joe when he told me to add extra oil, and the resultant rice was fluffy rather than slimy. this recipe is fabulous as is (i can't wait to try it with greenmarket tomatoes later this year), and it'd be a great base for any number of paellas. wild mushroom? fresh herb? mysterious urban park-things i'll hunt down with my foraging team? yes.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 whose hand is that?

02 do you hear what i'm saying about oily food?

03 do you like paella?

04 is paella this decade's answer to fondue (trendy, presented with ceremony)? if not, what is?

05 have you made anything especially tasty lately?


LPC said...

01 Mine. Thanks for the imaginary dinner.
02 Yes except olive oil is exempt.
03 No, I don't.
04 God I don't think so, no.
05 Yes. However it all involved meat, I think. And was almost certainly Asian in provenance.

tanthalas said...

02 What LPC said, I think.  My mom makes a habit of ending her orders at Chinese places with "less oil, less salt, no msg".  And everybody's usually better off for it, except when she orders porridge with completely 0 flavor whatsoever. :(

03 Yes.  The cafes here seem to do a pretty decent job of making good paella and risotto dishes... must be the industrial-sized ovens and all.

jamie said...

01 yours

02 um. only sort of. oh, ok. i just read what they said about olive oil. hoping you agree, otherwise those recipes i sent you are kind of moot. (not to mention, the generous olives, the red bell peppers. am suddenly worried all we have in common is cats...)

03 don't think i have ever had it.

04 why do you keep talking about paella? is it just because you like saying it?

05 what with the non diet we have turned into a big hippie household. dinner=grain of the nights + a few vegetables, served over a bed of greens. maybe a few legumes thrown in there. but, yeah.

kidchamp said...

weirdly, olive oil was the only objectionable one for several years for me; the taste was too strong, and tweaked dishes too much. i have since had higher quality olive oil and/or gotten used to it.

tanthalas, i had a phase of loving a particular hot and spicy shin ramyun loaded with MSG; it doesn't give me headaches, and i adored that burning-lips sensation. the apparently vegetarian version disappeared from markets a few years ago, which is probably for the best.

jamie, olives are cool as long as they stay out of paella (and pizza, blech), but i'll try almost anything once. saying paella would be more fun if it rhymed with umbrella (ella ella), but probably yes. 

tanthalas said...

hm, i always keep a decent stock of shin ramyun around, though nowadays i rarely ever find use for it.  i think that was almost a staple during my last two years in college (shin ramyun + fried egg is a classic; shin ramyun + napa for the healthier alternative; shin ramyun + frozen beef balls for the desperate).  but my parents trained us from a young age to never use the packet of grease (or in chinese, "fatty pig oil") that typically comes with most kinds of ramen.

i must be one of the weird people who like olives on pizza.  in fact, i like all kinds of veggies/fruits on pizza (even pineapple!), except maybe for carrots or something oddball like that.

kidchamp said...

the best pizza i ever had, at zachary's in tucson, was covered with jalapeno, onion, pineapple, and garlic (and possibly some other green - spinach?). i've been trying to replicate it ever since. it's difficult to find people to share that pizza.

jamie said...

trying to figure out what to do with the information that the best pizza you ever had was in tucson.

and that those were the toppings.

wabes said...

sounds yummers.  but i'm more struck in thinking that i can't believe that joe sat through gazpacho in our boiling hot apartment, all those years ago, and even ate half a bowl.  raw garlic and raw tomatoes?!  i should still be apologizing...

Milkmaid's dumb friend said...

01: Not sure, albeit if my chiromancy isn’t too-too rusty I’d be willing to commit to a high probability—taking into consideration Girdle of Venus’ intersection with the simian crease at Mars Positive—that the person who belongs to that hand is certifiably fresh to death.  They’re likely also plenty high if that’s all the kine bud they have left.  (J/k, it looks like brown frown schwag; j/k, I’m a teetotaler who swallowed my entire elementary school D.A.R.E. whole, but I live in Denver and if you know anything about recent events in Denver…  Or: Any picture or shot on the nightly news like that one invariably isn’t holding saffron.)
04: It’s surely some strata of society’s shibboleth; either the goofy equestrian order or (because your description sounds pretty tasty if I do say so myself) the lumpen proles.  And which piteous decade is getting saddled with fondue?
05: My sibling is making prosciutto-wrapped asparagus for Mother’s Day.  Meat eaters who know the difference- this is the side dish they come to.  I on the other hand made a delectable bowl of Rice Krispies a couple weeks ago (“I distinctly heard “Snap, Crackle, fuck you!  …I was reaching for the artificial sweetener at the time and not looking directly into the bowl.” - George Carlin).

Rachel (heart of light) said...

Am sligtly disconcerted by your boycott of roasted red bell peppers. Fear you would rarely be able to eat in my house, any meal.

We made arroz con pollo for cinco de mayo (which Dustin informed me is not a real mexican holiday because his family doesn't care about it). Not helpful for you, but it was awesome. And kind of paella like, because you bake the rice in the oven and the top gets a bit crispy and there's plenty of saffron. Yum.

Peonies said...

01. I know not
02. Yes.  'Cept olive oil which I love and will happily slurp as a snack. 
03. Very much.  Even the crappy microwaved version I had in Spain.  I don't think I've met a rice dish I didn't like.  But real, smoky, tomatoey paella is the best.  
04. I'm not sure, I would have said entrails of some sort.  Offal seems to be offal popular at the moment.  
05. I made Channa Daal with roast beetroot, basmati rice and crispy onions last night, it was quite tasty.