In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic.
This week I have chosen to share with you the Spanish dish called Paella – which I personally think is a great dish for this upcoming wintry season. This dish is hearty, having rice as the main focus with variations of basically any additional foods within your house hold.
Paella originated in the Valencia region of Spain. It took its modern form along the East Coast of Spain during the mid 19th century. Paella Valenciana consists of white rice, some type of meat, beans, green vegetables and seasoning. The two most common plays on Paella Valenciana are seafood paella or mixed paella. Seafood paella commonly omits beans, green vegetables and meat, focusing instead on different seafood. Mixed paella is pretty much a “chefs choice” and typically involves seafood, meats and beans together.
Classic Paella Valenciana
1 cup Olive oil
1 wholeChicken, broken down to 6 pieces
1 cup Snails, cleaned (fresh or frozen)
4 clovesGarlic, peeled
12 ozBroad beans, shelled
1 ½ lbsRice (bomba short grain is commonly used)
4 ½ cupsWater
1 tsp Sweet paprika
to tasteSalt and fresh ground pepper
In a large shallow pan over medium heat, allow the pan to come to temp. Add ¼ to ½ cup of olive oil to the pan and allow that to heat. Season the chicken and add it to the pan, allowing it to become golden brown. Flip the chicken and allow the other side to become golden brown as well. Push the chicken to the sides of the pan and add the beans, tomato and garlic to the pan. Allow to cook for roughly 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add half the water or until half way up the sides to the chicken. Return to the heat and allow to come to a simmer. Simmer for roughly 30 minutes or until most of the water is evaporated. Add the remaining water, rice, snails, paprika, saffron, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for roughly 25 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. After the rice is cooked increase the temperature to high and allow the rice to cook undisturbed until the rice begins to caramelize, roughly 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit undisturbed for a few minutes before serving.
1 cupPortuguese olive oil
1 lbLinguica or chorizo. diced
1 cup Onion, chopped
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 clovesGarlic, sliced thinly
1 tsp Sweet paprika
1 tsp Smoked paprika
8 ozScallops, cleaned, chopped
8 ozShrimp, peeled, cleaned
3 handfulsMussels, cleaned
1 ½ lbsBomba short grain rice
2 ½ cupsWater
2 cupsChicken stock
to tasteSalt, fresh cracked pepper
In a large shallow pan over medium heat, allow the pan to come to temp. Add ½ cup of olive oil to the pan and allow to heat. Add the linguica to the pan and allow it to brown. Push the linguica to the side of the pan and add the onions and tomatoes. Allow to cook for roughly 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients, except the seafood, to the pan and allow the water and stock to come to a simmer. In a separate pan over medium-high heat allow the pan to get hot. Add remaining olive oil to the pan and sear the shrimp on both sides before adding pieces of scallop to the pan, allowing them to cook for a minute or so. Then add the seafood to the large pan with the rest of the ingredients and allow to cook till the rice is done – roughly ten minutes or so from the point of adding the seafood. Once the rice is cooked, increase the heat to high and allow the rice on the sides of the pan to caramelize. Pull off the heat and allow to cool for roughly 5 minutes before serving.
Whether you choose to prepare the classic version, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together. When you put your heart into the food you cook, the people you are cooking for will be appreciative of it – and you.
If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write to me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it has been a pleasure to give you a peak into a chefs mind. Thank You
Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester, Ma. A restaurant that focuses of farm to table and regional Italian cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College in Cambridge.