Tuesday, June 19, 2007

paella for thirty

june 19

Last night at Kitchen on Fire, Kevin from the local shop, The Spanish Table, threw down a raucous Paella fest for thirty with five wines and a huge paella pan you could curl up and sleep in.
Things I learned about this mighty Spanish staple:

-it's esay, takes two hours no matter how big the pan.
-yes you need the special pan
-the more fat and bone on your meat, the better. Think chickhen wings and drummettes, split.
-saffron is for the flavor, not the color.
-the color comes from the paprika and the smoked pimenton
-smoked pimenton would make dog doo taste great. get some
-if your fishmonger sells you clams wrapped in a plastic bag, he's an idiot. Open it and put them over ice when you get home.
-once the rice goes in, DO NOT STIR. It aint risotto.
-it's really hard not to stand around a four foot wide paella and stare like an speechless idiot
-the pan is also called a paella.
-spanish wine is f**king amazing. (the aperitif was a litely bubbly Avinyo Vi D'Aguilla 2006, like something a bee would pollenate, a wine "with a prickle")
-paella can be made with anything (though i'm skeptical about this, but Kevin insists any leftovers can be made into one)

Mike C the Culinarian Barbarian made a garlic Aioli that was f**ing outrageous, we spooned that over the brick-red slightly wet paella, or just dipped baguette slices into it. The yellow chiffon colored stuff was mouth puckering and sat really well with the smoky fishy, saucy paella. I learned something about this mayo too; don't use too many yolks. there were only four in the whole big bowl.

The highlight? All these random strangers spread around the giant kitchen spooning this stuff down, opening up stubborn mussels, mumbling excuses for getting a third plateful (they were small plates). Then leaning on the cuttingboards talking with one or two people that were now a little more than strangers. Trading stories of learning. ("Before I met Mike, all I did was stir fry!")

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