Who’s Up For A Food Adventure? These Guys Are!
This plate of colorful Langoustines are waiting for me to turn them into an amazing Spanish Paella –
My Paella Adventure!
I’m always looking for some new recipes, and what better way to find one than looking in a cookbook I had sitting right on my shelf!
I was inspired by this great cookbook we bought after our trip to Spain:
Bravo to Penelope Casas for the great historical perspective on this “national” dish of Spain.
Using Penelope’s cookbook as my guide, it was time to make some Spanish Paella at home!
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from Valencia. It is a rice dish that can have meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables and is characterized by its use of saffron to give it a yellow color and unique flavor.
Now, it’s time for me to make one at home!
It’s a two-part process…first, prep the ingredients like onion, garlic, bell pepper so they are ready to cook, then put together all of your proteins:
Yes, the centerpiece of this Paella is going to be these beautiful Langoustines…and thanks to the terrific food emporium Eataly here in Century City for supplying these gorgeous fellows…as well as fresh Clams, Mussels, Chicken Thighs and Chicken Chorizo!
First step is to pre-cook the Chicken thighs and Chicken Chorizo…note, that was all I had access to that day, but it tasted great!
And how do they look when cooking? Here you go!
It smelled as good as it sounded!
Once those items were pre-cooked, they were set aside…next up, pre-cook some of the seafood!
I chose to pre-cook my seafood…simmered in boiling, salted water for a few minutes – covered to steam them open…you can use that broth later if you want, but either way, most of my protein was precooked with one big exception…
Next up, time to cook the onions, garlic and bell pepper (just for Alex, this is a separate dish for me without the bell pepper – sorry,, not a fan).
I used the same pan I cooked the chicken and chorizo in, first giving it a splash of white wine to allow me to scrape the little tasty bits off the bottom, then I added my ingredients, including my Paprika and Saffron, and let it cook…
Don’t worry, the whole recipe with portions is at the end of this!
Now the fun stuff: add broth – I used Chicken Stock, put the chicken and chorizo back in and let it simmer away, bringing together all of the flavors…
As I mentioned, I made two different recipes: Alex got bell peppers plus I also used Cauliflower Rice for hers…it works well, but I went with the traditional rice, which was pre-cooked at added now, along with some fire-roasted tomatoes:
Now comes the fun part: putting the Clams and Mussels back into the pan, and top it all with those Langoustines!
Put a lid on and let the Langoustines steam in the mixture for 7=8 minutes, then take the lid off and let the liquid cook away…and it will sound like this:
Once you take the lid off and let it simmer, the rice absorbs the liquid and the final dish takes shape!
I plated the dish is a large shallow bowl and topped it with fresh parsley – which led me to this final presentation:
And it was a delicious success!
I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t going to get “in the weeds” with the portion information, choosing to leave it here along with some really terrific history of this incredible dish.
Back to the terrific Paella Cookbook bye Penelope Casas – here is the recipe I followed – loosely – to create our Paella at home – after she explains the importance of this dish to that Country:
Of course, nothing will ever match the real thing from Spain.
I was lucky enough to taste it on Spain’s “Wild Coast”:
Making that dish reminded me that I had some work to do in order to match the incredible version my wife and I got on the Costa Brava in Spain!
Welcome To Spain’s “Wild Coast!”
You are looking at Spain’s Costa Brava, their “wild coast”, located just northwest of Barcelona…it is gorgeous, isolated, and pristine…even when Alex had to take a few work calls, what better place to do so…
Of course, as incredible as the scenery is, the memorable meal we had while overlooking this rugged coast was even better!
Say Yes To “The Mas”!
When we were lucky enough to visit Spain’s Costa Brava, we stayed at the amazing Mas de Torrent hotel two hours outside of Barcelona…
Mas de Torrent is perfectly situated for exploring Spain’s Costa Brava, since there is a major highway nearby, as well as a LOT of small roads that take you on a visual journey into the past…
Many of our trips took us through small towns and villages, and one day we ended up at Mas de Torrent’s sister hotel, Hotel El Far de Sant Sebastia, located nearby in Palafrugell, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea…
The hotel’s restaurant is perched on a cliff that overlooks the Mediterranean, and as you arrive, you park your car near a lighthouse. Before you head in to eat you can spend a few more minutes checking out the amazing view…..
The restaurant was located inside the hotel, with an outside terrace overlooking the sea. Once we were seated, we noticed that the restaurant’s “specials” for the day were posted on a chalkboard…
Even with limited ability to read spanish, we realized that seafood was the way to go…and of course, we started immediately with some spanish wine!
One thing we loved about spanish cuisine: you always began with a spanish tradition: peasant bread and ham…this bread is rubbed with fresh tomato and garlic, and topped with a touch of olive oit….the ham is of course, Iberico….
We were also told to order the restaurant’s specialty, which is also noted on the chalkboard as well:
Bring On The Paella!
The restaurant was known for their paella, which is cooked in a classic paella pan – we got their seafood version, as you can see from the shrimp and mussels that were baked in a very hearty spanish rice…
And of course, they give you more bread to make your own “peasant” style version as needed…
Afterwards, you can head back outside to take a walk along the cliffs – and everywhere you turn you see another beautiful and pristine piece of the “Costa Brava”…
As you can imagine, this is a popular tourist destination, but I never felt that the Costa Brava was crowded…there was plenty of room for everyone…with the exception of Cadaques…so let’s depart this quiet, beautiful lunch and search out one of Spain’s most legendary Artists…
That never gets old.
Here is a beautiful life-size statue honoring Salvadore Dali. As successful as our paella adventure was, our attempt to see the legendary Artists home and museum was the opposite!
The small town of Cadaques is serene – when you are down by the water…but in the center of town it was crowded, windy and a bit rainy – and there are virtually no directions to find the place!
It seemed that that favorite pastime was to chuck rocks into the water in defeat. You can read all about our “Salvadore Dali misadventure” by clicking on my story here:
So we never saw Dali’s house, but it was a fun culinary adventure regardless
Of course, we also visited some of Barcelona’s legendary food halls!
“La Boqueira” is the city’s famous food hall….massive, filled with incredible places to sit down and eat, and of course, those incredible, hanging Iberico Hams…
Click here for the full tour and to find out what we gorged on!
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