Paella, Detail from Home Cookin’

Paella, Home Cooking, Hunter Hill, Hagerstown, Maryland, April 2

It was my first paella project.


Seafood’s expensive.

Saffron too — I estimate the dish took a $5 pinch.

Having watched at least a dozen YouTube how-to videos, here’s how I broke it down:

–There is no wrong way to create a Paella except to borrow too much from New Orleans and turn it out a Jambalaya;
–There is no ideal pan IF one does not have an ideal broad-bottomed pan;
–There are stages:
—-Create stock
—-Sauté meat
—-Saute vegetables
——chopped garlic and onion
—-Add saffron
—-Stir in and coat rice and add stock and cook
—-Steam shellfish

My largest pan turned out to be a non-stick 12-inch “Kitchen Essentials” by Calphalon (purchased while camping at a friend’s place after a fire — the one pan served all needs, scrambled eggs to soup, with an aftermarket $20 tempered glass lid with silicon rings fit to the 9-11-or-12-inch range).


Things could always be done better, yes?

–Too much olive oil, a big “glug”, at the start that once done goes all the way through the cooking process;
–forgotten: strips of red pepper place in after the shellfish had been arranged — visual disaster!
–forgotten: the peas.

Cool borrowing and invention:

–salting the pan before cooking;
–adding anchovies at the saute stage — next time, I’ll add the same to the top of the dish;
–adding smoked paprika worked out well.

Could be more ideal:

–yes, a steel or stainless steel paella pan may have helped get a crisped bottom on the dish.  The largest the apartment stove may allow appears to be 13 or 14 inches.  That’s life.

With personal interpretation, “rustic home style” suits what equipment one has to work with and how one prefers to work.  Probably, this coming from the rankest of bachelor beginners in the kitchen, ingredients first & methods to suit make the meal


Cooking for one: there will be leftovers, but the reheating of smaller portions may be cool with such a dish because the finished ingredients may be laid out flat and given a little more character over the heat.


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