Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Central Market : Paella 3 Ways

On Tuesday, I had the honor (again) of joining the team at Central Market Cooking school in Plano This time, Dean Liesenfelt and his team member, Margaret, cooked up Paella, not 1, not 2 but 3 ways!

Paella, pronounced "pa-e-ya", is named for the pan which is used to cook the dish. La Paella is made of iron, historically or most commonly now, stainless steel. The pan is circular and shallow and has two handles. The word itself has a latin meaning of flat basket.

During the centuries following the establishment of rice in Spain, the peasants of Valencia would use the paella pan to cook rice with easily available ingredients from the countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails. On special occasions rabbit or duck might be included, and the better-off could afford chicken. Little by little this 'Valencian rice' became more widely known. By the end of the nineteenth century 'paella valenciana' had established itself.

The special thing about this evening is that Dean treated us to a slice of Pata Negra For your information, Pata Negra (black footed) pigs are fed acorns and grasses. It develops a meat that is high in fat but is mostly unsaturated. It is exported from Spain to the US. I believe that Dean said that Central Market sells it for like $150.00 a pound? Maybe more? The link I sent says $28.50 for a QUARTER pound. What a treat - it was delicious.

Paella Three Ways

Paella Valenciana

Some of the ingredients: pork, chicken, garlic, onion, green peppers, saffron, Valencia rice, shrimp, scallops, squid rings, grouper, clams, mussels, peas, white asparagus, lemon wedges and multiple spices and stock.

I did not taste this one. The peas turned me off a bit. I bet if I had tasted it, I'd have been fine.

Clam Fideuá (Pasta Style Paella) My Favorite!

Some of the ingredients: small clams, monkfish, tomatoes, garlic, fish stock, saffron, paprika, fieas or spaghetti, mussels.

My total, hands down favorite. I love mussels and clams, noodles, saffron and paprika. No way to lose me here!

Squid Paella Negra

Some of the ingredients: cleaned squid, mussels, shallot, garlic, hot pepper flakes, tomatoes, paella rice, squid ink, broth, clam juice, saffron, parsley.

Tasting notes: a little musty from the ink and slight kick from pepper flakes. I enjoyed this fresh but not leftover the next day.

I had the pleasure of getting the recipes since I volunteered. I don't have the energy to type it all here but if you see something you like, please comment and I'll try to get it scanned and emailed to you.

The February volunteering schedule is full so I won't have any new posts until March, if I can get in. BUT, I now have $40.00 to put towards a class and plan to try and get in on one of Dean's classes as a student.


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