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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Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Now that is what I would call one "awesome" looking Paella !!!

My mouth is watering just reading your post!! I want some :-)

Half Baked said...

OMG that looks AMAZING! I know it tasted as wonderful as it looks. I want to dive right into that pot!

My Mélange said...

Simply amazing. I bet it tasted even better than it looks. And it looks delicious.

Oh, how I *wish* I was there ;)

wcs said...

Another fantastic meal! Are you sure those supports were made of wood? With my luck they would have burned through, spilling the precious dinner all over the ground.

Loulou said...

It was a beauty. Have you ever made paella? I haven't made it in years and now I'm inspired to make it again.

half baked
The flavor was as amazing as it looks. I loved watching the whole cooking process too. Very cool!

my mélange
Truly delicious, yes it was! :)

You are much more observant that I am! Those look like metal pieces when I inspect the photos more closely. I'm going to correct my error now!
Do you ever make paella?

Veronica said...

mmm! That looks good! The only way I like paella is when it's cooked in front of my eyes, so the flavours are all fresh and bright -- lucky you!

Ken Broadhurst said...

That paella really looks fantastic. You are very lucky...

We haven't made paella in years. I guess there's no time like the present.

Loulou said...

Fresh paella is so much better that re-heated paella. We loved seeing it cooked over the open fire!

That's exactly what I was thinking. I posted my favorite Paella recipe on yesterday, if you're interested in having a look.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Ah! The real thing!

I had some paella at a French restaurant early this summer, but I do not think it was made like this!

Loulou said...

The paella I've had in restaurants here has never been very good. Definitely made early in the day and re-heated. Not the same at all!

Paola said...

Wow!! That is totally amazing!! That's some serious cooking there...and some serious food!!!!


Loulou said...

It was some serious food. For some serious eaters. :)