Before I began cooking paella professionally, there were many weekends that I enjoyed practicing and perfecting my paella cooking skills to create the best authentic Spanish paellas around. My friends enjoyed it too. When I moved to Nashville over 25 years ago, I quickly found out that it was a challenge to get the ingredients and fresh seafood needed. Well, Nashville has come a long way with a burgeoning culinary scene and I now have the freshest ingredients and spices to create an authentic Spanish paella that will keep you craving for more.
Recently, Lodge Cast Iron, a product from Tennessee, sent me a paella pan and I am now creating authentic paellas with a Nashville culinary spirit. Creating any meal from local ingredients means that you will have the freshest ingredients that reflects the local culinary scene. Why not create your masterpiece from the local Tennessee product that has proven its quality and durability since 1910.
Cooking your paella is best when you have the time to leisurely cook and enjoy the experience from beginning to end, which usually takes about 45 minutes. My Lodge Carbon Steel 15 inch Paella Pan is perfect for generous portions for about 6 people. This version of My Paella Travels paella is loaded with Seared Scallops, Jumbo Shrimp, Chicken, Mussels atop tender and crusty bomba rice layered with asparagus, squash, broth, saffron and a touch of smoked paprika.
Socarrat is the crusty rice formed at the bottom of the paella pan, if the paella is cooked properly. Luckily, the Lodge Cast Iron paella pan is great at creating the most prized part of the paella.
Be sure to pop open a bottle of Cava (Spain’s bubbly wine) for a perfect weekend pairing.
First, I want to thank Lodge Cast Iron for supplying this awesome 15 inch seasoned carbon steel paella pan! WOW! It is the very best paella pan that I have used so far. I am a Paella Chef in Nashville, TN called MY PAELLA TRAVELS. I expertly create succulent, intensely flavored authentic Spanish paellas with a Nashville-inspired twist. I have cooked for many in the Nashville and surrounding area and even won FIRST PLACE in a paella contest last September. I won the popular vote. Everyone loved my Nashville-inspired paella!
I recently received this great pan from the Lodge Cast Iron Company. I was delighted to find that it is already seasoned and cooks the paella evenly which creates the most flavorful and uniform socarrat (crispy bottom crust) ever! It’s small enough to finish in the oven to get the crispy, caramelized rice crust and large enough to feed 6 to 8 people!
Put an egg on it!
Brunch seems to be very popular here in Nashville and we now have many great brunch places to choose from. But the only place you will find this is with My Paella Travels! Most brunches include several dishes with eggs or topped with a poached or fried egg. Soooo, I was thinking…..
There is always a plate or two of paella leftover from the events I host. I always tell the group to warm it up for brunch the next day, put a fried egg on it and serve with a side of tangy and smokey Romesco sauce. Well, it’s about time for me to do that too. But why wait until the next day. Why not have a Paella Brunch today!
Saveur Magazine has great Paella articles and recipes. I found this Paella Mixta recipe and thought this would be just perfect for today’s Sunday Paella Brunch. I was very inspired by the recipe but I did modify the recipe to fit my own flavor profiles. This recipe worked great for the 15-inch paella pan but I did use 2 cups of Bomba rice instead of 2 1/2.
The Romesco Sauce (modified) is the perfect accompaniment with the fried egg and paella. Spanish Romesco sauce is a tangy, smoky blend of roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil and the freshness is enhanced by the sherry vinegar. It is often served with tapas of grilled seafood or even with a paella.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried bay leaves
Pinch of dried thyme and oregano leaves
3 medium tomatoes, minced
1 small onion, minced
7 cups chicken broth
Juice from 1 medium lemon
2 cups short-grain rice, BOMBA RICE
8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
12 mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 egg per person
For the Romesco Sauce:
2 large bell peppers or 2 jarred and drained roasted red peppers in a jar
3 large cloves garlic cloves, crushed or fine minced
1 cup blanched white almonds (I used Marcona almonds)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
Put saffron and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes.
Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a 15 inch Lodge Cast Iron Carbon Steel seasoned paella pan over medium-high heat. Add marinated chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving meats in pan.
Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves,thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes.
Add reserved saffron mixture, lemon juice and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add artichokes, peas, and peppers.
Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes.
(If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly.)
Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and nestle in mussels hinge side down; cook, without stirring, until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more.
Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Fry one egg per person for each serving of paella.
Make Romesco Sauce while Paella is cooking:
Place the drained red bell peppers and garlic in a blender along with the almonds, olive oil, tomato paste,sherry vinegar, chile flakes, paprika, and 1⁄2 cup water, and purée until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.