This is a vegetarian take on a Spanish classic. I don't want any Spanish Purists having a go at me. Its a recipe which I adapted from a small cookery book I have had a while called Easy One-Pot, published by ryland peters publishers. Its a compendium of one pan recipes attributed to a number of chefs and cooks. This recipe in particular is one that is credited to Ross Dobson.
I thought it was really colourful and would make the best of some of the early fresh vegetables we are finding in the market at the moment, and if you aren't then you soon will be.
Baby courgettes (that's Zucchini to you North Americans). The young ones are so tender and sweet . . . cherry tomatoes, also nice and sweet, and the short sauteeing these gets really helps to enhance this.
Fine green beans . . . cooked just until crispy tender. Baby peas. Frozen are fine. In fact, having grown peas myself, frozen petit pois are the only ones I buy. You would have to grow stacks of peas to make it worth your while and you would have to buy stacks of fresh peas also to make it worth your while. Frozen baby peas work very well.
Garlic and rosemary . . . fresh is great. I have a rosemary bush. I remember being very surprised when I moved over here and saw it growing in the hedges. Amazing. Also you will need paella rice, which is a short grained rice and some saffron, which gives the rice that beautiful golden colour.
Saffron can be a somewhat expensive ingredient, but it really is necessary. You might balk when you see how much you get and at what price, but trust me when I say that a little bit goes a very long way.
Altogether this is a really great recipe that goes together in a flash. Especially if you have all of your ingredients assembled ahead of time and ready to go. A sprinkle of toasted almonds and some chopped parsley are the final garnish. Mine got a little bit browner than I would have liked them as I got distracted, but they did lend a lovely nutty crunch to the dish. I think you will really like this!
*Vegetarian Paella*Serves 4
5 TBS olive oil200g red or yellow cherry tomatoes (1/2 pound)
Put the saffron in a cup with the hot water and set aside to infuse. Place half the olive oil in a large skillet (with a lid) and then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook, shaking occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until the skins just begin to split. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the courgettes, beans and peas. Cook, stirring frequently over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Scoop out into the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the garlic and the rosemary. Cook for about a minute to flavour the oil. Add the paella rice and stir to coat, then pour in the stock and saffron water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been aborbed. Scatter the vegetables over top and cover tightly. Cook for five minutes longer. Season to taste. Scatter the almonds and some chopped parsley over top and serve.
This would also make a really delicious side dish for more people if you wanted to use it that way with some grilled fish or chicken, or even red meats. I reckon it would serve 6 - 8 as a side dish. Bon Appetit!