Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Seafood Paella

I love to cook. I don't know if I have ever mentioned this in my previous posts. I probably enjoy cooking more than eating. Hehe. What makes it more enjoyable is when you are cooking for somebody. Cooking for 1 is a bit more difficult and with my brother not living with me anymore, I almost exclusively cook for just myself both during the weekdays and weekends. I remember a time when a group of friends would meet at my house during the weekends and we would eat together (we would sometimes take turns cooking -- or at least those who knows how to cook). It became a semi regular activity that another friend eventually heard about it and accused me of having a party at my house every weekend and not inviting him. Haha. I assured him it was just dinner and told him jokingly to remind me not to invite him if ever I will throw a party in the future. :)

Last weekend, I tried cooking paella. It turned out to be a moderate success and I'm very pleased with the outcome. It had mussels, clams, crabs, squid, and prawns as main garnishing and mixed veggies for added color and flavor (corn, carrots, peas, and red and green pepper). This is also the first time I have used saffron in cooking. I read a lot about it but only after I cooked the dish and I learned some very interesting facts about it. Aside from its main claim to fame of being the most expensive spice in the world, I learned that it is poisonous in large quantities. However no case has ever been recorded of saffron poisoning (too expensive to use for suicide or for deliberate poisoning I suppose and chefs probably keep a watchful eye on their saffron stocks). The reason why they are so expensive is that each saffron crocus flower produces only 3 stigmas which is hand picked and then dried. It takes approximately 75,000 flowers to have 1 pound of this spice. I also found out that crushing the dried stigmas maximizes the aroma, flavor and color attributed to the saffron. I made a couple of mistakes in cooking the dish but I'm confident that I can cook a better paella the next time. My mistake is that I added too much chicken broth so the rice was a bit soggy and not fluffy as I would have wanted it. Thankfully I did not have any uncooked rice (that was my biggest concern) since I baked the dish to give it a more even cooking temperature.

For my next trial recipe, I will attempt to make Seafood Bouillabaisse with Saffron and Leeks. I'll tell you how it turns out when I give it a try.

This post does not fit in my recipe vault so I posted it here. I have several recipes for posting in the recipe vault but it's not yet finished. Be sure to watch out for that.

1 comment:

Purrrpl Haze said...

Thanks for the trivia bit about saffron. :) Belgians normally use it in their Paellas too, which I'm afraid don't really appeal to my tastebuds. I guess it's an acquired taste. (Don't some Pinoys use tomato puree instead?) However, I can eat an entire bowl of rice pudding which Belgians ALSO like to make with a bit of saffron. Desserts are another story, you see. :D