Saturday, August 09, 2008
PAELLA LA BOQUERIA
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OK. I made that up. It's just Paella, but it sounds better with a Spanish name. La Boqueria is a fantastic market in Barcelona.
To me, Paella is similar to fruit salad. If you order it in a restaurant, you can't really choose what goes in. You get what you get. You don't like mushy bananas in your fruit salad? Too bad. It's in there. Or water melon pits by the dozen? Check.
No restaurant gives you fresh Raspberries in your fruit salad. Why? Or those tiny wild strawberries I like so much. Never had tehm served in my fruit salad.
Sort of the same with this Spanish rice dish. Some restos in North America add calamari or local seafood, others mix in corn, probably to keep it yellow or because they are from Saskatchewan and their family is in the agri business. No thanks.
I make my own and get to put in what I like. Or what the family tolerates. In Spain many versions come with rabbit. Well, can't do that. Everybody likes the bunnies that poop on the golf courses around Calgary, can't serve em up for dinner. Where would I even buy them?? Chicken it is. Chicken is good. Everybody eats chicken (no vegetarians in our house). Merguez sausages, add a nice spicy touch to the dish, that's it for meats.
Seafood. We all love Shrimp, in they go. I like clams and since I cook, they are going in! Nobody else eats them, but they don't make the Paella too fishy, so it's OK.
Fresh roasted tomatoes, green peas for veggies and color, make sure you have flavourful chicken stock and good quality Saffron. One of the best gluten free dishes you can make.
I am sending this post for prior approval to our good friends Manuel & Ina, who hail from Spain and know a thing or two about Paella. If the post is up, they approved my cooking.