Here lies a paella recipe I've been wanting to make for about three years. And now that I've done it, that's two, count 'em two times I've used my paella pan! While we're counting, it was also my second time using squid ink, which was not so easy to find here in this giant city of Los Angeles. I called around, and Monsieur Marcel was the only place stocking it. And in a moment of modern-day gallantry, Matt offered to go to The Grove on anight and pick it up for me. For those of you who don't live in Los Angeles, just imagine trying to park at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving and you'll get an idea of the mess that is The Grove on a weekend.
But back to the paella. My mom's been in town all week, and after much flipping through my various cookbooks, this is the recipe that won our hearts and minds.
Whenever we have visitors—but particularly familial visitors—I realize what a horrible control freak I've become. Suddenly, I have to use all of my will power to keep my mouth shut so that I'm not constantly telling my visitors how to live their lives whilst living them inside our house, e.g., "Is that chocolate on the couch? OK, that's it. No more eating upstairs!" Or, "Diet Coke before 8:00 am? Huh." Or the perennial, "It sure would be easier if you drove, don't ya think, Mom?" You get the idea.
As you can see, the end result was something quite magnificent, albeit slightly overcooked. (I left it in the oven for a few too many minutes as we caught up with old friends and drank shandies on the deck.) Oh, this is also a really great dinner-party dish. We served it to seven adults, two kids, and two dogs, and we still have leftovers. (Though the kids may have eaten spaghetti and butter and the dogs may have eaten dog food.)
Black Paella with Squid and Shrimp slightly adapted from A Platter of Figs
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 Andouille chicken sausages, sliced into bite-sized disks (optional, but a pretty delicious addition.)
1 lb. shrimp
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. cleaned squid, bodies cut into thin rings and tentacles coarsely chopped
A pinch of crumbled saffron
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 tomato puree
4 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
1 package squid ink, about 1 tablespoon
3 cups Bomba or Arborio rice
6 cups light chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch earthenware cazuela or paella pan over a medium flame. Add the slices of sausage and cook until nicely browned on each side. Remove and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before adding the shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and saute briefly, just until they turn pink, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.
If the pan seems dry, add one more tablespoon of olive oil before adding the onion to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, to brown a bit. Add the squid, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Add the saffron, cayenne, tomato, garlic, squid ink, and rice, stirring well to coat the rice. Finally, add a large pinch of salt and the broth. Let the broth come to a full simmer. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Put the pan in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove and arrange the shrimp and sausage on top. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and cover the pan with a clean dish towel. Let the paella rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. It tastes best just slightly warm.