August 17, 2008

Paella Under the Full Moon

Friday night we were invited to our friend's garden to taste their family specialty, Paella Valenciana.

The giant pan, the paellera, was balanced on a homemade "stand" made from flower pots and metal stakes.
José brought the homemade broth to a boil then started adding the ingredients.

The first layer was chunks of cuttlefish and small pieces of cut up chicken. Then the rice was tossed in, followed by chicken legs and thighs, mussels, giant prawns and finally roasted red peppers.

tossing in the rice

mussels going in

It was a smoothly orchestrated event. José's wife, Jocelyn, was standing by, ready to hand over each ingredient as they were needed.

giant prawns, called gambas, ready to be added

the final addition - a scattering of roasted red peppers

keeping an eye on the flames

we all watched it bubble away but José was in charge of making sure that the paella cooked evenly

love the heat resistant gloves!

Finally, a dazzling, saffron enriched Paella Valenciana. The flavor is almost indescribable. There is nothing to compare to paella when it is done right.
I've tasted some pretty awful versions, both in Spain and here, so to have the chance to enjoy a gutsy, rich, smoky homemade paella under the full August moon with good friends...well, it just doesn't get much better than that.

¡Gracias José y Jocelyn!
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