Pine Street Paella
I was re-connecting with an acquaintance and after all these years he still remembers having Paella at my home. Paella is my dish when I want to make something special for guests. In my first trip to Barcelona, Spain I eagerly tried paella only to be disappointed. The undercooked rice tasted raw and hard and the entire dish didn't have much flavor. I decided to try making it myself. I first learned to make paella from the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claibornne with mixed results. The rice was either undercooked or burnt and the chicken was either undercooked or overcooked and dry.
Through trial and error, I've learned to refine the technique so that the different ingredients are cooked properly and added at separate times. For many years I used a Chinese wok which actually works quite well. A few years ago, I found the Spanish Table Store in Berkeley and bought a flat paella pan. Now I was serious! There are many different versions of paella and the combination seafood, chorizo, chicken with clams and mussels is pretty elaborate and is probably a restaurant version rather than an "authentic" country version.
An "authentic" paella is cooked outdoors over a wood fire and usually uses fewer local ingredients and the rice plays the major role. Most people are familiar with a restaurant versions such as mine. Click here for my recipe.
Blogs I follow