Recipe of the week: Paella: Summer entertaining at its very best

Paella is simply

Paella is simply “the greatest dish imaginable for summer entertaining,” said Leslie Brenner in the Los Angeles Times. Not only is it visually stunning but the last half-hour of cooking leaves you free to turn to other chores. Once you get the hang of the technique, it’s also easy to “riff among

the ingredients.” This recipe is adapted from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen (Workman). (Chiringuito is the Spanish term for a “seafood shack.”)

Recipe of the week

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Chiringuito Seafood Paella

3-1/2 cups clam juice diluted with 1-1/2 cups water

1 large pinch saffron, pulverized in a mortar

5 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 lb monkfish or other firm-fleshed fish, cut into 1-inch chunks

Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

4 to 6 oz cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles cut into 1-inch pieces

10 medium garlic cloves (8 crushed with a garlic press, 2 minced), divided

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut in half and grated on a box grater, skins discarded

1-1/2 tsp sweet (not smoked) paprika

1-3/4 cups short- to medium-grain rice

1/2 cup minced, fresh flat-leaf parsley

12 small littleneck clams, scrubbed

12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put diluted clam juice in medium saucepan, and bring to simmer. Add saffron, keeping stock at slow simmer until ready to use. Place 3 tbsp oil in 15- or 16-inch paella pan set over single burner, heat on medium heat until it starts to smoke. Add monkfish, cook until barely seared, 1 to 2 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt. Using slotted

spoon, transfer fish to bowl, set aside. Add squid to pan, stirring, until just seared, about 2 minutes, seasoning with salt.

Push squid to edges of paella pan. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to center of pan. Add 8 cloves crushed garlic; cook until fragrant, less than 15 seconds. Add tomatoes to center of pan, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring tomatoes several times, until thickened and reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Season lightly again with salt. Using two wooden spoons, push squid toward center of pan, mix with tomatoes. Add paprika, stir for a few seconds.

Add rice to paella pan, stir gently to coat with pan mixture. Pour in 3-1/2 cups simmering stock, keeping remaining stock simmering in case needed later. Set paella pan over two burners, stir in parsley and sprinkling of salt, shake pan gently to distribute rice evenly. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate pan so liquid boils evenly. Press clams and monkfish into top of rice; cook until cooking liquid is almost level with rice but rice is still soupy, another 2 to 3 minutes. If liquid is absorbed too fast and rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on more stock.

Transfer paella pan to oven; bake until clams open and rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check paella a few times, sprinkle more stock over rice if too al dente. Remove paella from oven; discard unopened clams. Cover pan with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Uncover pan, and let stand for another 5 minutes (rice gets better as it stands).

While rice is standing, heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Stir-fry shrimp, a few at a time, adding some of minced garlic to each batch, until shrimp are bright pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Transfer shrimp to bowl; keep warm. To serve, arrange lemon wedges around edge of paella pan, decorate top with shrimp. Serve paella straight from pan, along with aioli, for stirring into rice. Serves 6.

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