Recipe: Spanish Paella with Seafood and Casablanca Salad by Alex Piris
Want to celebrate this New Years Eve? We have the recipe for you.
Meet Chef Alex Piris of Fox and Bow’s Spanish Seafood Paella and Casablanca Salad!
“Paella is the kind of dish that invites the family to get involved in the kitchen,” says Alex. “There’s also a little bit of drama about it during its preparation, which also makes it a little fun.”
“The aromas, the colors, at the end of the cooking, everyone has the impression of having been involved in the process. Food is better that way, when it is communal and shared.
Let’s drink to that!
Spanish seafood paella
- 3 onions, diced
- 8 tomatoes, diced
- 6 peppers (red and green), diced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 bay leaves
- 1kg of paella rice (Bomba or Calaspara)
- 3 liters of seafood for the poultry broth
- 1 cup of white wine
- 12 chicken wings
- 400 g of green prawns
- 200g of squid
- 2 blue swimming crabs
- 300g black mussels
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 50g peas
- 50 g roasted red pepper
- 3 lemons
- Olive oil
You will need a paella pan or a large, flat-bottomed pan to cook it. If you don’t have the type of gas burner you need to distribute the heat evenly, and let’s face it, there’s a good chance you do. t, you can still cook it on your kitchen hob using four burners, controlling the heat on each burner individually.
The best paella, however, is cooked outdoors, over coals, with friends and family, so if possible check today’s fire rating here, then go get your kindling.
Cooking is supposed to be fun, so relax, pour yourself a G&T, or even better a Vermouth (I tried this Turin Cocchi on Ice at Continental Deli in Newtown a few weeks ago, it’s really delicious. ).
I mean seriously, if you’re all stressed out and stiff and crappy when you’re cooking, so will your food.
Just make sure you have the right ingredients and give yourself plenty of time to do your prep, the cooking part is actually fun. Have you finished this Vermouth? I told you it was good. Now pour yourself another one, put on some Prince, and let’s start.
Bring your fish or chicken broth simmer in a saucepan. If you’ve never done one before, google it. It’s honestly as simple as crap. If it’s too difficult, buy it in stores. But buy a decent one, it will make a huge difference in your end product.
Place your paella pan on medium heat with the olive oil and blow up your sofrito—it’s your onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and bay leaves in olive oil. Try not to let it color too much, but let it all become a tasty mixture combined.
You can now add your saffron thread and the chicken drums. They’ll take a while to cook to the bone, so adding them now will add flavor to the base and ensure they’re just cooked through at the end. Season your chicken with a good amount of salt, but not too much, okay?
Deglaze the pan with a little White wine and let reduce, lifting up anything that has stuck to the pan so far. Once reduced by half, add 3/4 of your Stock and return to a simmer.
Now add the rice, and stir it lightly in your broth. Once mixed evenly, do not stir it any further. It’s not risotto ok. You don’t want creamy sticky rice. You want loose and separated grains. And basically you want this crunchy socrates. So no more need to stir ok. You got it?
Simmer for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Simmer without boiling violently.
Once about half of the broth has been absorbed by the rice, start layering your seafood, starting with the Blue swimming crab you skillfully cut it into four pieces. In a way, gently bury it in the rice. About five minutes later, add your shrimp, followed by squid, and mussels.
At this point we’re probably talking about 25 minutes here, you can add any remaining stock, sprinkle in the pea, and overlay your roasted red pepper.
It should still be a bit ‘salty’ at this point, so taste this crispy goodness and add more salt if you think it needs it. It’s possible.
Turn off the heat now and cover with a kitchen towel for 5-10 minutes to allow the steam to cook the rest of the seafood and for the rice to absorb the last broth.
Finish with lemon wedges and serve at the table.
- 300g of quinoa
- 300g pumpkin
- 3 ears of corn
- 3 Lebanese cucumbers
- 300g heirloom tomatoes
- ½ cup of pepita seeds
- 1 bunch of mint
- 2 bunches of parsley
- 100g fetta goat cheese
- 50g cranberries
- 1 pomegranate
- Oil Oil
- 1 lemon
- 50g pistachios
Is another Vermouth appropriate or should we switch to a glass of Champagne? Change up the playlist, it’s probably time for some Santana or Radiohead now.
Boil a pot of salted water and cook your quinoa for 8-10 minutes. Filter and keep in the fridge.
Cut your pumpkin as you see fit. We slice it, you can dice it. Just make sure it’s done well but not overcooked. You will get there.
Do the same with the corn. In fact, just roast it whole, then when it has cooled a bit, cut the kernels off the cob. It’s funny.
Choose the parsley and mint. It’s a good job for cooks who seem like they have absolutely nothing to do. Look at them though, they can develop a habit of making this look very technical. It’s not. Simply remove the leaves from the stem. Ask Pop to do it.
Chop the cucumber and tomatoes.
Has anyone really read this? Pour yourself a Gin. The kids won’t know, don’t worry.
Now this part IS really very technical and complicated
Put everything in a bowl (apart from the cheese, pomegranates and pistachios), drizzle with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (nightshade is really good) and mix everything together. Difficult, eh?
Arrange everything on a nice dish, the one you haven’t used since Christmas. Now, break the goat fetta over the entire surface, sprinkle with pistachios and finish with pomegranate seeds.
And that’s all. You’ll probably start to see this salad in fancy places like Aubergine. Ben Willis would probably top this off with sous vide lobster. Kurt on the pasture? Oh, sure, he would most definitely add quondongs.
Julian at Maestral will call it a Croatian salad and Nathan at Rodney’s? Well, he would just call him a Casadingo. Please let me know if they do, okay? They’re all going to owe me a meal!
PHOTOGRAPHY Emma Kennedy @thecasualcreator