I can’t leave my little wander in the pepper patch without mentioning my all-time favorite dish with peppers, Paella. This is a dish I love to make all year long. But with the warm colors it presents, and the starring role for sweet peppers at their peak, I find I am especially drawn to serving paella in the fall.
This fabulous, flavorful dish from Spain is a toothsome collage of texture and color.
It is a rice based meal, intoxicatingly infused with the colors and flavors of Saffron, with a myriad of other tasty ingredients.
I have been fixated on paella for quite some time. Early on, after a couple of introductions, I started on a mission to learn a little more about paella preparation. This was the “crush” stage of our relationship.
Over the years, I have made it for large groups and small, I’ve made it on remote islands on a camp stove, and over a campfire or two. While I love following the very traditional methods for preparing paella, I’ve found it necessary to also come up with a simplified version of this dish, without seafood. I make it on my kitchen stove, for a week night dinner, to satisfy my splendid diners.
|Emily Heston preparing Paella Splendide, Roffey Island, Desolation Sound|
The first time I really fell in love with paella was at a market in Provence. A la Patricia Wells, we used to tour Provence based on the schedule of the markets. We’d spend the night in the town where the market was going to be held the next morning; shop the market and buy a picnic lunch; and then drive to the town where the market would be held the next day. Here, we’d tour the town and enjoy dinner (we probably should have been riding bikes to make up for all of the food we couldn’t resist!)
After the experience in the French markets, I ran into a friend who had spent a summer in Spain. She told me about her camping trips with the Spaniards, and how they would always make paella for dinner over the campfire.
I recommend the enameled version — they are much easier to clean and maintain, and they distribute the heat well.
I saw another way to serve Paella while in France this summer, which reminded me of why I so adore this dish. It was at the antique market, in the old part of Nice, France (held every Monday in place of the flower market). Aside the dealers stalls, restaurant Le Grand Bleu tempts weary shoppers with these lovely copper pans, outfitted with all of the Paella ingredients, ready to bubble.
I have a new computer and photo system that I am still trying to master. As soon as possible, I’ll share my best weeknight paella recipe with you.
“Well I’ve never been to Spain” was sung, most famously, by Three Dog Night, Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings.