Ingredients: Chili, Smoked Paprika, Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Garlic, Onion, Roasted Bell Pepper, Lemon Juice, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Parsley, Saffron.
Moorish Style Paella with Eggplant Salad,
Whole Wheat Malugae & Zhug
Serves 4 with leftovers
1 medium eggplant
1 cup short-grain brown rice
Filtered cold water to cook the rice; boiling water as the rice is absorbed into the paella vegetable base
1 large Turkish Bay Leaf or two small
2 small yellow or white onions (or one large)
2 stalks celery
1 medium size celery root
½ lb mushrooms
6 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp saffron
3 tbsp Paella Spice mix
1 tsp red-roasted pepper powder
Salt to taste
4 medium Roma or fleshy tomatoes
3-4 cups of boiling water
(Optional: 1/2 of the liquid can be chicken stock or dry white wine)
1 ¾ 2 lbs. fish and/or shellfish
(Suggested mix: halibut, salmon, shrimp, scallop or other fatty fish)
1/2 cup olive oil plus few spoonfuls to grease the pan
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Black pepper to taste
Fresh Italian parsley (few handfuls)
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut eggplant into 1 ½ inch pieces. Place in bowl with olive oil and salt; mix until coated. Place on baking pan oiled with olive oil and then covered with Silpat mat or parchment. Bake for 45 minutes until deep golden brown. Set aside.
1. Wash one cup short-grain brown rice.
2. Bring a large saucepan of 6 cup000s water to boil. Add ½ tsp. salt and the rice. Bring back to boil. Turn off heat when water reaches boil; let set for about 30 minutes or until the rice is slightly crunchy to taste. Drain and run cold water over the rice. Set aside. The rice will finish cooking as it is added to the paella base.
3. Chop celery stalks, celery root, and onions into ½ inch pieces. Set aside.
4. Cut mushrooms into ½ cubes, and mince the garlic into small dice.
5. Heat ½ cup olive oil in a large oversized skillet.
6. Add Turkish bay leaf, celery root, celery stalk and onions to the pan and sauté on high heat for 3-5 minutes; stir to prevent burning.
7. Let the onion turn brown around the edges then, add the garlic and mushrooms to the cooking vegetables. Sauté all for about 5 minutes until softened.
8. Add Seasonings: Saffron, Paella Spice mix, Roasted bell pepper powder, and Salt & pepper directly to the vegetable mix. Stir slowly for 20 seconds, and then add the crunchy drained rice; stir slowly until almost soft. Add the cut tomatoes and lower the heat to medium, and cook until tomatoes release their liquid, about 2-5 minutes. This will assure that the spices will not burn.
9. Add 4-5 cups liquid (water, stock, or a combination of stock and white wine); add additional boiling water little by little (maybe ¼ ½ cup at a time until the rice finishes cooking and absorbs all the liquid.) Longer cooking time without excessive additional water is the better technique for slow cooking.
10. Taste for salt & pepper and adjust seasoning
11. Keep stirring to prevent the bottom from "over burning" and make sure the rice is absorbing the water as it cooks. Continue adding liquid as necessary.
12. While the rice is completing the cooking process, wash and dry completely the fish and/or seafood. The fish must be at room temperature before you add to paella. Otherwise it will release additional moisture into the paella as it cooks.
13. When the paella liquid is nearly absorbed and the rice cooked (taste for doneness!), add the fish and/or shellfish. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
14. Turn the fish over and continue cook for five or so minutes until the fish flakes.
15. Add a sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper and the parsley chopped fine.
16. Add cooked eggplant, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.
You can prepare this entire dish a day ahead of time. The flavors will concentrate. You may have to add a little bit more water to bring up to the desired consistency, but make sure you have a light hand with the liquid. Heat ONLY until paella reaches serving temperature.