Paella Procrastination

My very first Paella experience was over 20 years ago, and it was “love at first bite”.  It was my first experience with something very unique and exotic.   I instantly responded to the depth of flavors this one dish had….and I truly admired its irresistible presentation.   The Paella came to our table oozing with all kinds of meats and seafood on a bed of very flavorful and fragrant rice.  Mmmmm…. 

That day, I think I sub-consciously put Paella on a pedestal in my mind.  And ever since, if I find myself at a Spanish restaurant, I just HAD to order Paella.  Note: It is usually the most expensive dish on the menu and you have to be sure that you are really hungry to do it justice.  

I have had some amazing Paella and for me couple of the most outstanding ones are: Barcelona restaurant’s version and this Cuban Paella version that an ex-colleague’s wife made for me eons ago. The Cuban Paella version was quite spicy and that really struck a cord with me.  

BTW: I have heard some great things about Chef Rui’s Paella (Duoro restaurant in Greenwich) but have not had a chance to get up there and try it yet.  Very soon, Chef Rui, very soon! :-)  

Over the years, I have considered making Paella at home…but always changed my mind at the last minute.   I have never admitted it until now, but I was secretly afraid that my version might cheapen the glory of something so great.  And I did not want to be the one to bring it down from the pedestal I had placed it on. 

In the last few months I have really worked hard on strengthening my resolve to give it a try. I bought special Paella rice and smoked spanish paprika 5-6 months ago….still could not get myself to do it.  Alas! How much longer will I be afraid? 

And then, BINGO! Last night was finally the night!  My very first attempt at making Paella!  As a starting point I used the recipe in the Barcelona cookbook.  It helped that I had attended a class with Chef Adam Halberg of Barcelona restaurants a couple of years ago. All of my eager note-taking came in very handy at the crucial moments last night.   

The result?   WAS PHENOMINAL!!!    I was so very happy with it.  It looked awesome and tasted even better.  Chef Adam Halberg’s tips to create a great depth of flavor in the Sofrito before it goes in the Paella really made the Paella shine.  And the smoked spanish paprika really adds that extra oomph!  I am also proud to announce that in my cast iron pan, I was successfully able to create soccarat (crispy, slightly burnt rice – “the secret ingredient”) at the bottom of the pan.  Chef Adam halberg would be so proud. :-)

Now….I am in heaven … and right next to me is this pedestal.   Don’t look now, but it might have MY Paella on it. 

Humbly Yours, 

-Fairfield County Foodie

Fairfield County Foodie Makes Paella

About Fairfield County Foodie

Hi, I am a total and utter foodie! A resident of Fairfield County, CT. I love to try out area restaurants and find new favorites. I love to cook and try new and fresh recipes! Step aside dieters and calorie-counters. This is no place for you! My philosophy: Food needs to be done right, respected and enjoyed! I will give you my take on the best restaurants in Fairfield County CT. With an added bonus of great recipes to try when eating out is not an option. So, come join me on this culinary ride. Yours truly, FairfieldCountyFoodie

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