Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Sadly, we don't have my Mom's big paella pan any more, but this evening, after a much needed trip to the Coop and nearby fish market I shelled some nice big shrimp and cooked their shells and some shallots in oil until the shells were pink. Then white wine, carrot, parsley, and broccoli stalk simmered to make a broth. More shallot and some andouille browned in a big sautée pan, then more wine, shrimp, diced red pepper, saffron and arborio rice stirred and doused in the strained broth which had been going for an hour or so. After the rice was getting close, I added the broccoli florets and caramelized the scallops, rolled in pepper and a smidge of cinnamon and salt. Scallops went on top, plus some chopped parsley and the sauce from deglazing the scallop pan with some red wine. I think the red pepper is integral to the basic paella flavor along with the saffron. Most of the rest is variable, which is why this dish is so mutable and so good.

Particularly good with a 2001 Guigal Chateâuneuf-du-Pape, which I had the opportunity to taste against the last of the Wooodcutter's shiraz. As funky as the Woodcutter's is, it's got nothing on the underlying earthy/tobacco/leather funk which instantly identifies the Old World. Like the Marcassin chard from Friday night, in my opinion there's no point for the New World to try to imitate the old; our terroir, land, and climate are different. We can just try to get our own maximum expression of these qualities and be happy.

No comments: