According to Westchester Magazine editors, “The essentials that go into making a good paella… are met expertly at this newish Spanish tapas restaurant.” This statement, in itself, is enough to get a foodie like me all curious and excited – to undertake the hour long drive just to give this Paella a try. So, my honey and I decided to head over to Sala on Hudson in the town of Croton on Hudson in Westchester county.
I absolutely love Paella. And recently I have started experimenting with it in my kitchen. Once you understand the basic composition of its main elements – it is fun to customize to your liking. For instance, what types of meats and seafood would you prefer to add to it? What ingredients would go into your Sofrito? Do you like a lot of garlic in your Paella? And how much of saffron flavor do you prefer? Oh, and how about that socarrat in your Paella?
Although, I must say that, this is one dish that you have taste at some authentic restaurants, made by credible chefs – before you can follow a recipe and start customizing in your kitchen. It is important to understand the desirable consistency of the rice and how each ingredient contributes to its flavor profile. Without that knowledge, it will be hard to determine if what you produced in your kitchen is close to authentic or not. Did you know that the rice for paella should be al dente? That arroz bomba rice is a great choice for Paella? Or that layer of crispy and slightly burnt rice at the bottom of the pan is a really really good thing?
Sala on Hudson makes authentic Valencia style Paella. Valencian Paella tends to keep the rice on the drier side (ie: not too moist). It is a quality that may turn some diners off because they may mistakenly feel that the chef has made a mistake. But for those, who know and crave this particular style of Paella – it is a very very good thing.
The Paella rice at Sala was perfectly al dente, and it was deeply flavorful. They offer two kinds of Paella on the menu. Seafood and Chicken. And they will not mix and match the proteins – I suspect it has to do with the stock they use in each. The team at Sala work hard to stay authentic to how it is done in Valencia and I really respect that. We tried the seafood version. It was loaded with delicious seafood and was deeply satisfying.
We enjoyed some tapas while we waited for our Paella (which takes about 25 minutes to prepare). Tapas were generally pretty good. One that stood out was Queso de Cabra – goat cheese medallions, breaded and gently fried till crispy and golden brown. And get this …… finished with a drizzle of truffle honey. Simply divine!
Sala on Hudson offers brunch on Sundays. I think I saw a dish called “scrambled Paella” on that menu. Now, I MUST go back and have me a taste.
Sala on Hudson, Westchester County | http://www.salaonhudson.com