Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Calamari has become a staple at many restaurants.† Youíll find it fried with marinara, drizzled with a sweet chili sauce, or cold in a seafood salad.† I remember my Hippie mom adding it to spaghetti sauce and back then it was just called squid Ė not by its fancy Mediterranean name!† My brother and I were fascinated by how it looked with its opaque body and all of the curly tentacles.† I know that the neighbors werenít eating squid Ė but my mom was all about healthy, hearty dishes and if she could save a little money by using unusual ingredients, she did!† Like many ingredients that were once thought of as cheap (remember when they buried lobsters as fertilizer or fed it to prisoners back in the 1800ís?) squid has morphed into calamari and its price along with its availability is much greater.

Fresh calamari may be hard to find.† If your local fishmonger doesnít carry it, see if he has some frozen.† Calamari is one of those ingredients that needs to be cooked quickly (like frying in a hot sautť pan) or it can be done slowly when allowed to simmer with other ingredients, just make sure if youíre simmering it, it has some moisture.† A friend of mine loves to grill squid.† She says that you need to slice open the bodies and cross hatch them with a knife to help keep them flat while they grill.† A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fresh cracked pepper is all you need to enjoy this as an appetizer or serve it over some cooked orzo with a bit of chopped tomato for a quick, tasty dinner.††

This week Iím sharing a recipe for Seafood Paella that can be done partly in advance.† Itís a great dish when youíre having friends or family over since it doesnít require too much attention.† This recipe differs from other paella recipes that youíve probably seen.† The most common paella is called Valencia Paella and is said to have originated on the east coast of Spain.† It has chicken, mussels, a spicy sausage- like chorizo, and is enhanced with garlic, onions, capers & saffron.†††

Feel free to switch out the seafood Iíve used in this recipe.† If you donít like mussels or clams, add in scallops to go with the shrimp.† The best part of making paella is using the ingredients you like.† It might not qualify as Paella Valencia, but Iím sure youíll find that itís delicious!

Fire it up,

Chef Eric

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