I’ve posted a couple paellas (1 & 2) in the past but here is the instructive video on how to do it yourself at home! I thought I posted more than 2 on this current website but the other ones were probably from my previous website. Anyhow, watch below:
Since when did NYT started hiding/charging for their recipes? I saw this via the daily newsletter a few weeks back and when I wanted to go back to it, I couldn’t see it anymore. So I’m writing this recipe from memory and from my adaptation of doing this during my Zoom cooking demo last weekend.
I was testing out how a Zoom cooking class would work so I tried this out with four of my relatives on Zoom.
Ras el hanout is a spice mix found in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. There is no definitive composition of spices that makes up ras el hanout so if your store is out of ras el hanout, you can make it yourself:
*I always try to make my own stocks if possible because stocks shouldn’t contain salt in them. Every store-bought stock contains salt or low-sodium levels and it’s better to add your own salt in your cooking process. Click on above link for my recipe to making your own vegetable stock.
You should do this the night before: generously marinate trimmed lamb shanks in kosher salt overnight. The salt will help flavor the meat and will keep the meat retain moisture.
Blanch lamb shanks in cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and remove from water. Blanching helps remove excess salt and blood. Rinse under cold water if needed, then pat dry on paper towels.
Heat grapeseed oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, sear the lamb shanks until browned on each side (there are 4 sides!). Make sure the oil is very hot before searing, you need to hear the sizzle.
Transfer the lamb shanks to a dish and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add more oil if needed. Sweat the onion, garlic, ras el hanout, and saffron. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once aromatic, return the shanks to the pan with the cinnamon stick. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Taste and adjust for seasoning. The meat of the shanks should be mostly covered, but not fully submerged in the stock. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked and tender, about 2-2½ hours, depending on the size of your shanks. If it looks like there isn’t enough liquid in the pot or if it’s drying out during the cooking process, add some more stock.
Preheat oven to 400°F and roast blanched almonds for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. When nuts are cool enough to handle, use a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground or chop by hand. Sift through to remove the finer pieces. Set aside until ready to serve.
Pick, wash, spin parsley leaves then chop and set aside.
Once the lamb shanks are fully cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the raisins and honey to the sauce and gently stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Taste and adjust for salt-content. There might be impurities coming up as you reduce, so skim those off.
When the sauce is ready, return the lamb shanks to the pan to warm them through and coat them with the sauce. Add in chopped parsley. Garnish with almonds and serve immediately with fluffy couscous.
It’s almost April!!! The month of March seemed like it took forever to get by. Oh my gosh… What will I do for the entirety of next month???
I’m calling this “quarantine paella” because ingredients are difficult to come by. I try to only go outside to grocery shop when I absolutely need to, i.e. when the fridge is empty. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market has all the basic stuff but sometimes the things that I want are out of stock. There are also limits on certain things that you’re allowed to buy. I had hoped to buy 15 lbs of AP flour today but I was only allowed to buy 1 unit, which was 5 lbs. There is no “2-day” prime delivery on Amazon anymore. Everything takes the old regular amount of time (5 business days) or now, even longer to arrive! Jeff Bezos should reimburse us with some Prime membership fees! Totally not going to happen though.
Anyway, with my limited resources and ingredients, I made this paella last night and I’m so glad that I can cook! Thinking about my friends who cannot cook as well as I do… what are they eating? All I want to do is share!! I usually make soffritto ahead of time and just keep a quart in my fridge – it’s good with everything, especially rice! But again, don’t have the excess of ingredients to do things ahead of time. I only put head-on shrimp and bay scallops in this paella, the least variety of sea creatures that I have done in my paella history.
I can’t believe how well this saffron and chamomile sauce turned out. How did I pair saffron and chamomile together? I was sick a week before and I had chamomile tea bags hanging around… saffron is often one-sided because it is such a strong flavor. Chamomile is very light and somehow very light + very strong equals a delicious aromatic mellow flavor.
The other sauce is a purée that is more classic (in terms of pairing), pea and tarragon. I love pairing seafood with tarragon, especially non-fish.
This is a piece of grilled Octopus, with a Pea Tarragon Purée, a Saffron and Chamomile Sauce, and Piquillo Peppers.
I’ve never been to Spain but I love its cuisine. Spain and Portugal are high on my travel destinations! Paellas in NYC are always so expensive for such a small amount of food so one day as I was shopping, I saw a good quality paella pan on sale and that was it. I started making a lot of paellas at home.
This was the first paella that I’ve ever made. It’s a mixture of seafood, i.e. shrimp and mussels, and spicy chorizo. It was so much satisfying eating this at home, with good wine, and with my brother!
Spring! The best season for chefs because the farmer’s market is blooming with fresh produce from spring garlic to real market strawberries to a million different edible flowers to fresh chickpeas and fava beans… The Union Square Greenmarket is truly a sight to see if you’re in NYC during the spring season. Albeit, I generally loathe going there because there’s just so many people – taking pictures. It’s like, I’m trying to BUY stuff!!!!
Here is a Duo of Asparagus, White from Holland and Green from the Market, with Saffron Aïoli, Parmesan Croqueta, Pumpernickel Soil, Dragon Mizuna Greens, and Pansies.
I feel like skate is such an under-appreciated fish. I love skate wing. I love the texture of the flesh, the chewiness of it, and how gelatinous it is. A classic way to cook skate is with brown butter, thyme, and garlic. It’s perfect every time. I don’t think I’ve had it any other way.
This Skate Wing is served with a Barley Risotto, Rock Shrimp, Garlic Chives, a Riesling Saffron Sauce, Mascarpone Foam, and Saltwort.
Remember that red beet and endive salad from Valentine’s Day? Well, it was so well received that I put it as the “salad” on the a la carte menu, with a few minor changes. It stayed on the a la carte menu for three months. Now, it’s May 31, and a new salad just replaced it… fitting with the current weather and season!
Traditionally, aïoli is an emulsion of oil and garlic. When I use the term “aïoli”, it is an emulsified sauce containing oils, egg yolks, water, and flavorings, such as saffron or paprika.
Creates 1 pint.
Pinch of saffron
½ lemon, juiced
2 egg yolks
1 pint neutral oil, such as grapeseed
Iced water, as needed
In a small bowl or container, infuse the saffron threads with the lemon juice. In a food processor/Robot Coupe, add the yolks and the lemon-saffron mixture, pulse until combined. Add the oil very slowly, in a steady stream, drop by drop until an emulsified base has formed. *Add a tiny splash of iced water (1 tsp). Once the yolks and oil have formed a stable base, you can pour the rest of the oil in. Season with salt and taste/adjust.
*Adding iced water to aïoli prevents it from breaking and also it thins out the aïoli, if you don’t want your aïoli to be too thick.