Over the years as a family we have enjoyed many a paella in the garden, in the Summer.
We light a small wood based fire (Jez obviously assumes control of this very quickly, because it requires a lot of peering, swearing and assessing of the heat).
Inevitably, once we’ve finished the meal, a couple of hours later, he’ll say “that fire is perfect for cooking on now! Look at that charcoal, not too hot, perfect, we should have waited”
Anyway, there’s a lot of hoo ha and spectacle with it all. The onions, garlic, red peppers and sometimes fennel go in first. Lots of stirring, lashings of olive oil and lots of shouting. Usually, I need “wine, beer, no sherry, no beer. This is thirsty work”.
The fire is usually too hot so then there’s an awful lot of stirring, which I know isn’t right. This happens once the rice goes in. We usually pre-cook some chicken and barbecue some chorizo on the side. For pre paella nibbles.
Once the chicken and prawns go in, the dish starts to take shape.
The idea is to make it look as spectacular as possible. Loads of lemons, parsley, langoustines if you’re feeling flush and voila.
We leave it to rest whilst we argue over the chorizo.
Its a great way to cook and eat and argue outside!
Although few things beat the arrival of a paella at Antonio’s. This is our favourite restaurant on the beach near Tarifa in Southern Spain.
The ceremony and spectacle of the arrival of this dish to your table is a wonderful, celebratory moment.
By the way Spaniards don’t eat paella in the evening. Its considered absolutely crazy. Akin to having roast beef for breakfast.
We might consider the occasional paella on a Sunday lunchtime at La Feria. If I can get Jez to agree to the correct heat of the fire.