This wonderfully golden, aromatic dish is from the region of Valencia. We had spent much of a morning talking to
The following is a good recipe, but the result may not be quite as fine as the dish I ate that day; a simple homemade fish stock cannot compete with one made professionally, from a large variety of freshly caught fish. Nor does a gas or electric stove distribute heat quite as evenly as an expertly managed wood fire under a paella pan. But this version will not disappoint you.
If you have a friendly fishmonger nearby, you may be able to buy good fish heads for the stock cheaply, plus bones of fish that have been filleted. Best of all are the heads and bones of turbot. Otherwise, make Fish Stock.
Use a paella pan if you have one, otherwise a casserole or large frying pan. You will need a lid big enough to cover the pan while the rice is ‘resting’ at the end. If you have no saffron, use turmeric in preference to any other colouring.
In a paella pan, casserole or large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the crushed garlic, stirring all the time, for 1 minute. Add the powdered ingredients, briefly stir these, and pour in the fish stock. Let this simmer for a few minutes before adding the rice, a little at a time, over a period of about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the tomatoes and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 10–12 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and add the chopped parsley (if used). Stir again and level the surface of the rice gently with the back of the spoon. Turn off the heat and cover the pan; leave the rice to rest for 8–10 minutes. Serve hot, as described above.
© 1994 Sri Owen. All rights reserved.