Sunday, June 13, 2010

EDU: Tomato Paella

This is what I made tonight. Delicious, no? Well, in the interest of full disclosure, this picture is from the New York Times, but my tomato Paella looked very close to this, and in some ways better (just LOOK at the haphazardly strewn about tomatoes). It's such an easy recipe that I feel a bit sheepish about devoting a whole blog post to it, but so awesome I almost feel obligated. Here goes:

Note: I realized some of my earlier cooking blog posts were a little vague when it came to ingredients, measurements, etc. I'm going to try to remedy that here, but no promises.

3 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Large pinch saffron threads
1-2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (I just used 1 tsp and it was plenty)
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice

Minced parsley and basil for garnish

Very simple ingredients, especially in the summer. I had to run out to grab some wine, some Spanish rice and some Pimenton (which turns out to be paprika, but who knows what they have in their spice cabinet at any given moment). Here is a picture of my ingredients at the metaphorical "starting line":

Everything you need is pictured. Except for saffron (SHIT IS EXPENSIVE). The laptop is there for me to scroll around with my unsoiled pinky to try and figure out what the hell I'm doing. Note the large pan in the background. I used all of it. If you're not sure how much space you need, always give yourself more. A wise man told me that (Ratatouille, I think). Sometimes it helps to have nice music playing to set the culinary mood, but tonight my hands were covered in tomato entrails before I realized I didn't have anything playing. I would recommend some nice Merengue when you make paella. 

Like most recipes, you begin by saute'ing onions and garlic in olive oil. Ho-hum. Bear with me. I should have just used a stock photo for this.

While you saute the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, frantically cut your tomatoes into large chunks. The recipe says to "core" them, which is stupid. They aren't apples or avocados, jeez. I tried to be dainty around the less ride midsection, but I pretty much sliced the whole tomatoes into sixths. Once this is done, toss them in about a tablespoon of olive oil, add salt/pepper and let them think about what they've done.

After the garlic/onion get tender, add 1 TBSP (tablespoon, I'm not doing that to belittle you, I get them confused) of tomato paste, and 1-2 TSP of Paprika. Stir it up, and add half a cup of white wine. I used chardonnay, because I like chardonnay and had to drink the remaining 1.5 Liters minus 1/2 cup. Some of you may be asking why I didn't just buy a smaller bottle or one of those new-fangled non-alcoholic cooking wines at Trader Joes. Shut it. Drinking while cooking is integral to the process and is scientifically proven to improve taste bud performance. 

Once the wine is reduced a bit, add your Spanish rice. It should look like this. 

You may or may not be able to see the MASSIVE chunks of spice or whatever goodness Goya puts in their Spanish rice that makes it coagulate. You're going to need to break up these chunks whilst you stir the mixture. Once the rice is "shiny" (the recipe's words, not mine), add your water. This is shiny rice.

After you add the water, it will look like you drowned/ruined everything, but don't fret. 

Take a few deep breaths, and add your tomatoes really fancy-like. Oh, you should have pre-heated your oven to 450 a long time ago. Sorry! I never said I was a professional!

Slip this whole mess into the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, try the rice and see how it tastes. If it's wet still, give it some more time. If it's dry, add some more water (or wine!) and give it another 5 minutes. I broiled it another 5 minutes to give the tomatoes a little personality. In the meantime, I sauteed the tatsoi from Wednesday in some olive oil and garlic and topped it with some slivered almonds. Here's the finished product on display in the waning sunlight.

Told you it was pretty. I put a little basil on for color, but it's not critical. Here's the plate in its 20 Amsden glory. 

It was yummy and John agreed. Great success. 

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a tasty and east recipe. I'll preheat my oven.