Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paella with Clams, Serrano Ham and Chorizo


For his birthday, Gerry requested a Paella Pan and so that is what I got him. We tried our first official paella tonight. When I bought the Paella pan, I also bought a Paella cookbook and we had the first of many paellas described.

The process started with finding a Paella rice, which according to research is a Bomba or Valencia Rice which Gerry finally found on his 3rd stop of the day (he just loves Central Market for exactly situations like today).

At dinner time, we sauteed a chopped onion in a fair amount of olive oil in the new Paella pan until softened. I then added some garlic and cooked for a couple of more minutes. Some chorizo sausage went in next and was allowed to cook for 5 minutes.

A sliced red bell pepper, green pepper and 2 large peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes were stirred in next, the heat was reduced to low and allowed to cook for another 10 minutes.

The special Valencian rice was stirred in and allowed to saute for 5 minutes. A lot of chicken broth was stirred in next along with turmeric, saffron, oregano and salt and pepper and allowed to cook for about 15 minutes.

Next went in two controversial items, a can of clams and the Serrano ham. My favorite grocery store of the last couple of years has carried Serrano ham, but when I asked for it today at the deli counter, I found out they stopped carrying it a few months ago and so I decided to substitute Prosciutto di Parma (which I found out happened to be one of the substitutions my cookbook recommended). What can I say about canned clams? I hate to use a canned version of anything I can get fresh, but Gerry and I have a rule about trying a new recipe; follow it completely the first time and then adjust the second time and so I bought canned baby clams. In addition to the canned clams and the prosciutto, I added some chopped fresh parsley and then allowed everything to cook until all the liquid was absorbed and the rice was tender.

The garnish was just a lemon wedge which we squeezed all over the paella. This was absolutely superb and I have no doubt that the rice was a major factor; the canned clams actually turned out just fine and the prosciutto was a perfect substitution.

I can't wait to try other variations and especially with fresh shellfish!

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