Here we have the second in this series of recipes from expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith.
To discover more about Claire, her workshops, and her food and copy writing services hop on over to www.greedywordsmith.com
As is often the case with modern favourites, the roots of Paella lie with farmers and workhands of the past. The name refers to the pan itself but has come to be known as a dish of rice flavoured with tomatoes, saffron and paprika. The addition of seafood, chicken or meat changes with each region of Spain so feel free to
experiment in your own kitchen. I also love mine topped with squid or mussels.
Soaking the saffron ahead of time allows for the true flavour of this luxurious spice to really shine. The resulting liquor always fills me with excitement and gives a beautiful ochre colour to the final dish. The stamens of the saffron crocus have a long culinary history due to the belief that they could imbue miraculous healing properties. In medieval England traders could be put to death if they were found doctoring their produce. Today the stamens are still picked carefully by hand and – weight for weight – demand a price more expensive than gold.
Pinch of good quality saffron
2 fillets of salmon (around 200g)
1 lemon, cut into quarters.
A large onion
1 medium carrot
2 cloves of garlic
200g of paella rice
1tsp of sweet paprika
½ tsp of smoked paprika
1 tbsp. of gluten-free vegetable bouillon powder
300ml of hot water
Half a can of chopped tomatoes
2 – 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 – 10 green Spanish olives
A handful of frozen peas
A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
You will need a large, deep frying pan for this dish.
Place the saffron in a bowl and cover with around 20ml of warm water. Leave to
infuse for at least 4 hours. Squeeze a quarter of the lemon over each salmon fillet and wrap loosely in greaseproof paper. Set aside.
Peel and finely dice the onion and carrot. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Fry these
gently with a little coconut oil or ghee until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
Add the paella rice and stir well.
Make a flavoured stock by combining the paprika, vegetable bouillon and hot water.
Pour this into your pan along with the chopped tomatoes and saffron liquor. Mix well before tucking the fresh thyme sprigs under the rice. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for fifteen minutes. If the rice appears dry pour over another 100ml of hot water. Add the peas and arrange the olives on the top of the rice. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for a further ten minutes. You are seeking sticky textured rice.
Towards the end place your salmon parcels in the microwave and cook for just a
couple of minutes. The salmon should still be slightly pink in the middle but not raw.
Leave to rest.
Taste your paella and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Stir through the chopped parsley before spooning a portion of the paella into a bowl, topped with one of the salmon fillets and a quarter of the lemon for squeezing.