HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Spanish Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spanish Cooking. Show all posts

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas in about an hour!



        There's no one dish supper quite on the level of a great paella.  It combines protein--sometimes several of them--with carbohydrates and then, for good measure, adds some vegetables. The one big drawback to paella is the interminable time a good one takes to make.  So this recipe from Bon Appetit caught my eye when the magazine put it in a feature called ‘Fresh and Easy Dinners’. It actually toppped their list, and was pictured on their cover.  If you’re ever had a paella in Spain, you know it is hardly ‘quick’ and involves a special paella pan. But this one uses any heavy skillet you have on hand and gets dinner on the table in about an hour.  Considering my memories of paella, that's simply astonishing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit


         This is a one-pan wonder that comes together completely in just 30 minutes.  And in that time, Cannellini beans take on the rich flavor of a tomato sauce enriched with chiles and a single bay leaf.  There’s nothing bland about these beans! Then they’re topped with big beautiful shrimp that have been tossed in garlic and smoked paprika and broiled for 3 minutes.  Grilled bread that’s been rubbed with more garlic is perfect for sopping up the lusciously thick sauce.  The whole dish is an homage to Spanish cooking that couldn’t be simpler to make and yet complex in flavor at the same time. Make it and I can almost guarantee you will make it again and again.
            My experience with Spanish cuisine is limited to making an occasional Paella and even there, without a true Paella pan, I am not sure how authentic my version is.  But I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper ever since I read “Ferran ” (Gotham Books 2011) Colman Andrew’s biography of Ferran Adrià i Acosta who is, arguably, the best chef in the world. And who wouldn't be intrigued by a subhead  that read "The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man who Re-invented Food". From his out-of-the-way El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, the chef has drawn gastronomes from every corner of the world.   Now shuttered while he decides what his next step will be, the chef’s most famous contributions to cuisine will never be the province of the home cook.  Adria is most associated with "molecular gastronomy”, which is that particular style of cooking obsessed with its science and how food is chemically changed during 
the cooking process.  Despite his reputation for being one of its foremost practitioners, the Chef himself doesn’t consider his cooking to fit in that category.  Instead, he is quoted as saying that his goal is "to provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it    seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner."  I won’t, for one minute, claim that this incredibly simple Garlic Shrimp with White Beans comes anywhere near the complexity of a Ferran dish.  But I think you will agree that this thirty minute entrée will “provoke, surprise and delight” you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Birthday Party Paella



         We were having a group to dinner over the President’s Day weekend.  I saw it as a great opportunity to cook something substantial.  I hit upon making a paella for a couple of reasons. I’d read an article in Saveur written by David Rosengarten.  In it, Chef Rosengarten had gone to the source: the cradle of Spanish paella making, Valencia.  What inspired me the most was that the original recipe, dating from the early 1800s, called saffron-scented rice cooked with Rabbit, chicken, Snails and three kinds of beans. Rosengarten pointed out that you can still find that version all over Valencia. But the list of paellas does not stop there.  There are seafood paellas, vegetable paellas and paellas using all kinds of meats. The recipe is wildly adaptable because as Rosengarten pointed out: “Tinkering, it seems, is inherent to the culture of paella.”  And it’s to be remembered that “Paella” refers the wide, shallow steel pan in which such dishes were cooked.  In my case, all I really needed was a good basic recipe from which to build my paella.  And as to its ingredients, well I just went shopping in my freezer.  There I found the chicken thighs, hot Italian sausage and shrimp that would form the backbone of what turned out to be a delicious and terrifically well-received dish.  Although no thanks to the recipe I found for Birthday Party Paella.