We’re in the middle of one of the worst heat waves in history. From the Atlantic coast to the prairies we’re baking under 30°C+ temperatures. Toronto has declared an emergency. On the West Island of Montreal the water is so low they’re afraid they won’t have enough to put out a house fire, should one erupt.
Under the circumstances, there was only one thing I could do… Make paella! What the heck, it’s hot in Spain, so the idea of turning my kitchen into a raging inferno by cooking my favorite rice dish didn’t phase me at all. Actually, strictly speaking, what I made was arroz con la fruta del mar, since it wasn’t made in the tradition of paella, which is to make it outdoors in a proper paella pan over an open fire.
Whatever! It was awesome! I began by making the sofrito, which is a mush of onion, garlic, and tomato sautéed long and slow, then I threw in the rice and some saffron, and let it fry for a few minutes. Then I added the liquid, which was chicken stock, water, and clam juice. I let it simmer on the stovetop for about fifteen minutes, then I added some calamari, large shrimp, and cut-up sole fillet, and popped it in a hot oven to finish. Instead of using a paella pan, which I don’t have, I used The Forty Pounder, my massive 12-inch cast iron skillet that I’ve been seasoning for going on ten years now. It works well for this dish, as it lets the rice get a bit crispy and caramelized without burning, which in paella talk is called the socarrat.
If my digital camera were not in the repair shop, I surely would have taken a picture. Instead, I’ll show you a couple of pictures from other recent meals…
Black bean burritos on a rice pilaf, with a side salad.
Blork’s secret recipe baked breaded chicken on a black bean and corn salsa with lemon-scented steamed broccoli.
Once I get my camera back I may start photographing my dinners as a regular feature!