Magazine article Out

Flash in the Pan

Magazine article Out

Flash in the Pan

Article excerpt

COOKING IT IS NO PlONlC. BUT PAELLA REMAINS THE DEFINITlVESuMMER HOSTING DISH.

In Spanish, ?V de paella can mean both "to go for paella" and "to celebrate." Small wonder that paella is the national dish of the country of ?Ole! From a base of short-grain rice, patiently simmered in a broad, shallow pan, paella lends itself to infinite possibilities with vegetables, seafood, meats, and spices. So it's perfect for summer entertaining.

Paella (Phaidon, $39.95, July), the cookbook by Spanish chef Alberto Herraiz of Fog?n restaurant in Paris, is 108 recipes strong. Part of paella's appeal is its flexibility, he writes. "In times gone by, there were no written recipes, and dishes evolved." So while paella valenciana is an 18th-century classic (with garlic, green beans, butrerbeans, artichoke, tomato, saffron, peppercorns, and chicken, duck, or rabbit), modern recipes are inspired by Argentina, France, Morocco, India, and the United States. Herraiz includes white paellas, rieeless paellas (substituting noodles, barley, bulgur(orquinoa)and? who knew? ? dessert paellas.

Cooking the dish can be a production (well over an hour from prep to table), making it ideal for kicking back with company over a few glasses of wine. It starts with prepari ngi'o/r/fo (onions, garlic, and tomato cooked in olive oil) and stir-frying uncooked rice in flavored oil; hardcore chefs can try making flavored oils and stocks.

Or just lot someone else do the cooking. Spanish celebri-chef Jos? Andr?s (ot'D.C.'s Oyamel and the Bazaar in L. A.) opened Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas last December, featuring wood-fired paella grills. "My father liked to make paella when we entertained," he says. "I always wanted to stir the rice and throw in the ingredients, but he put me to work tending the fire. It was the best lesson as a cook." ANDREW BENDER

The Dish

PAELLA RICE WITH SPRING VEGETABLES

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock * 1/3 cup fava beans, shelled * 2 small fresh baby artichokes * 1 lemon, quartered * 1/4 cup olive oil * 2 carrots * 4 small turnips * 7 ounces scaUions, in thin strips * 1/2 bunch asparagus, stems removed * 1 cup fresh peas, shelled * 1 clove garlic, finely chopped * 2/3 cup pureed canned tomatoes * 1/2 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika * 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, toasted and pounded * Salt and pepper

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