Fat Tuesday

Aren’t there some days you just CAN’T decide what you want to eat? That’s what paella is for. It’s rice, it’s seafood, chicken, sausage, butter and spice. It’s Perfect.


PAELLA VALENCIANA
6-8 servings

1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 pound chorizo sausage
2 1 1/4 pound lobsters
1/2 cup olive oil
1 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound boneless lean pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups crushed canned Italian tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 cups converted rice
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups bottled clam juice
18 large mussels, well scrubbed and with beards removed
12 littleneck clams, rinsed
2 lemons, cut into wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Blanch the peas in lightly salted water, drain, and set them aside. Prick the sausages in several places with a fork and blanch the sausages in boiling water for 5 minutes; then drain. When the sausages are cool, cut them into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3. Kill the lobsters instantly by plunging the tip of a large chef’s knife between the eyes. Cut off the claws and remove the tail. Using the large knife, cut the body and tail, crosswise, into 1-inch-thick pieces and place them in a dish to reserve any liquids. Remove and discard the small sac inside the lobster near the eyes.
4. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a paella pan. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and sauté them, moving the pieces around the pan until thoroughly browned, for about 5 minutes. Remove to a large platter.
5. Sprinkle the lobster pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the hot oil. Reserve the accumulated liquids in the dish for later. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the shells turn deep red. Remove the lobster pieces to a platter.
6. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper and sauté in the paella pan very quickly, about 1 minute. Remove them to the platter with the lobster.
7. Sauté the sausage pieces in the same pan for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove to the platter with the chicken. Discard the oil in the paella pan.
8. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, or until lightly browned all over.
9. Add the onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saffron. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the vegetables has evaporated.
10. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Pour in the reserved lobster juices and the fish broth. Add the hot pepper flakes and bring everything to a boil. Add the chicken, lobsters, sausages, and shrimp. Add the clams and mussels and stir well. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rice and chicken are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and toss lightly to distribute all ingredients throughout the dish.

Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller. The Seafood Cookbook. New York: Random House Times Books, 1986.

-EM

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