Monday, February 21, 2011

Seafood Paella

My wife and daughter are in Arizona this week, so it gives me a chance to cook some of the dishes they don't like.  One of those dishes is paella. Neither of them likes saffron, peas, and anything cooked in a carbon steel pan.  Check, check and check.  I had some cod filets, scallops and peas in the freezer and some home cured spanish chorizo in the refrigerator, so all I needed from the store was a half dozen shrimp and a pork chop.  I made this in my 12" paella pan which yields two generous servings.  I just threw this paella together, but I really like Penelope Casas' cookbook Paella! as a reference for all things paella.

pinch of saffron
3 cups chicken broth (or fish stock)
2-3 ounces Spanish chorizo, diced
2 T olive oil
6 sea scallops
4 ounces cod filet, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 extra large shrimp in their shells
1 pork loin chop chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper
half of a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (with their juices)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Spanish or Arborio short grained rice
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 jarred piquillo pepper (or roasted red pepper) cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 450°. Pour the broth into a pot, add the saffron and bring to a simmer.  Keep hot over low heat

Heat the olive oil in the paella pan over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and cook until browned.  Remove the chorizo to a plate.  Increase the heat to high then add the sea scallops and sear both sides quickly. Remove to a plate.  Add the shrimp, cook briefly, then remove to the plate with the scallops.  Add the pork,  brown, and remove to the plate with the chorizo.  Add the cod and cook until just browned.  Remove to the plate with the chorizo.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and red bell pepper.  Cook until softened.  Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and their juices.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the rice.  Stir the rice into the mixture, then add the hot broth.  Bring to a boil, and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the broth, but enough liquid remains to finish cooking in the oven.  Stir in the reserved chorizo, pork and cod.  Arrange the shrimp, scallops, peas and piquillo peppers on top of the paella.  Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking the rice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza Pancetta

This all started for me about 12 years ago when I received a small package in the mail from my friend Sergei.  I opened the package to find a Christmas Salami that Sergei had handcrafted.  It was a revelation -- so much better than the store bought salamis to which I had become accustomed.  When I asked him how he was able to cure the sausage, he explained that the house he lived in had a cellar that was perfect for curing meats.  I would have started making charcuterie then if I had a cellar.
A few years went by, my daughter was born, and I didn’t give much thought to making charcuterie.  But then my daughter discovered pork.  She became a fiend for all things porky.  It started with bacon but soon progressed to sausage then salami.  She collects pigs. She uses the Piggly Wiggly logo as her avatar.  So I started to think about charcuterie again.
I learned that people were using refrigerators and wine chillers to cure charcuterie.  Then I found Michael Ruhlman’s website, and bought his book Charcuterie.  Then I bought a wine chiller last October.  Then I read about Charcutepalooza.  So here I am.
Oh yeah, about the pancetta.  This is my second attempt at a rolled pancetta after a disastrous first try.  Let’s just say green fluid oozing from a loosely rolled belly and leave it at that.  This one looks good.  I’ll try some tonight fried up with some Brussels sprouts.  Then it will go back in the wine fridge with the Sopressata and Tuscan Salami to age a little longer.  I’ve got to get good at this for when I make my Christmas Salamis this fall...