So many fresh ingredients and not enough dishes that incorporate everything! The grocery store, or if your lucky the farmers market, is filled with the most ripe varieties of produce. Its all to enticing to pass up.
I must admit that I am a novice at paella making. I stood in the rice aisle for about 30 minutes trying to decipher the differences in the grains. The recipe called for short-grain rice so that cut down my choices by 3000. In the limited number of paella's I have seen, they usually have a yellow rice so "bingo", rice shopping was done.
I also used this dish as opportunity to introduce my taste buds to some new veggies. In case you were wondering, my taste buds do not like fennel. Licorice must be an acquired taste...for which I do not possess. So bedsides that one ingredient, I loved everything else.
A little time consuming but worth the effort.
Recipe adapted from FoodNetwork
- 4 vine-ripened plum tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 large bulb fennel, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 1/2 cups short-grain paella rice
- 4 ounces haricots verts or string beans, halved if large
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1/4 cup piquillo or roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Core the tomatoes, cut into wedges and place in a medium bowl; season with salt, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or a paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, paprika, cayenne and saffron and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Add the fennel wedges and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the fennel and add the eggplant to the skillet; cook until slightly tender, about 4 more minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by about one-third. Stir in the rice and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt; add just enough water to cover the rice completely, 2 1/2 to 3 cups. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Scatter the haricots verts, artichoke hearts, and 2 tablespoons capers over the rice. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange the tomatoes on top; drizzle with any tomato juices.
Transfer the paella to the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Scatter the remaining 2 tablespoons capers and the piquillo peppers over the paella. Turn off the oven but leave the paella inside to continue cooking until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 more minutes. Garnish with parsley, if desired