sherry

vegetable paella

by Heguiberto on July 10, 2013

Yottam Ottolenghi’s Plenty attacks again! His vegetable paella is divine. It is full of color and flavors. If pilaf and paella have the same linguistic root, then I think this vegetable paella must be either an early progenitor of both or perhaps the modern trans-national child of the pair, as it not only uses saffron threads, but also turmeric and chili powders common to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines: incredible! And then there’s the sherry… Wow.

vegetable paella

vegetable paella

Yotam recommends using Calasparra rice but to be honest I have never heard of it before, so couldn’t even begin to think of where to find it. At any given time my rice pantry will always have few different varieties, so I made do with what I had. My choice was Thai jasmine rice. I selected this kind because I’ve made successful paella before with it. He also recommends using freshly shelled fava beans which would have been great but I was not able to find them in the market. Instead I substituted them for a fresh frozen shelled bag of edamame.

This dish is vegetarian and vegan. So flavorful, your meat eating loved ones will enjoy it too.

vegetable paella

6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion sliced thinly
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 yellow pepper cut into strips
½ fennel bulb cut into thin strips
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 fresh bay leaves
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chili powder (cayenne)
¾ cup sherry
1 container of saffron threads (0.020oz)
2 cups Thai Jasmine rice
3 ½ cups vegetable stock – hot
thin half-moon-shaped lemon slices
4 tbsp julienned sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
8 halves of grilled artichokes, preserved in oil, drained
¾ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 pint of mixed small heirloom tomatoes, halved
~ 2tbsp chopped parsley
Kosher salt

You need a paella pan or a similar large shallow pan for the dish. On high heat, add olive oil followed by the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add sweet peppers and fennel and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Peppers and fennel will soften a bit but still hold their crunch.

Mix in turmeric, bay leaves, paprika. Add rice and mix it again so rice gets some coloring. Stir in saffron and sherry, continue to cook long enough for the sherry juices to be absorbed/evaporated. Add vegetable stock, and kosher salt to taste, lower the temperature and cook for about 18 minutes. Liquid will be almost fully absorbed by the rice. To prevent the rice from breaking refrain from stirring while cooking. Turn off the heat.

Tuck in olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemon slices, then sprinkle with parsley. Let rest, covered, for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, drizzle with some extra virgin oil and serve.

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mouth puckering mu shu tofu

by Heguiberto on October 3, 2011

A couple of weekends ago Steven and I spent the afternoon in the quaint northern California coastal city of Half Moon Bay, located just 30 minutes south of SF. It is fun to leave the city for a bit sometimes, just to decompress. The trip alone, down California highway 1, is already a magical experience for the eyes, ears and nose. I am enchanted with the rugged coastline, secluded beaches, beautiful cliffs, marine life, the sculptural Monterrey Cypress trees scattered here and there, and the scented air perfumed by the occasional waft of sea sprays, sea weed and the wild sagebrush that the coastal wind knows how to mix so well. If you have not yet done this quintessential trip you are truly missing out.

mouth puckering mu shu tofu

mouth puckering mu shu tofu

In the town of Half Moon Bay, we did a bit of window shopping, eventually ending up at the Ocean Books used books store. My favorite section is always where you find the cookbooks, which is where I headed. There I discovered The Complete Soy Cookbook by Paulette Mitchell. It is a bold title, though I’m not too sure about ‘the complete’ part. Nevertheless, it does have a bunch of recipes that I intend to try. This mu shu tofu is the first.

California coast along Highway 1

California coast along Highway 1

standing at the California Coast at Half Moon Bay

standing at the California Coast at Half Moon Bay

a grand and very sculptural Monterrey Cypress

a grand and very sculptural Monterrey Cypress

ocean pitted rock along the California coast at Half Moon Bay

ocean pitted rock along the California coast at Half Moon Bay

This recipe caught my eye because I used to enjoy mu shu pork back in the day. Aside from the fact that I misread the recipe and ended up using a ¼ cup of sherry vinegar instead of a ¼ cup dry sherry, two totally different things, the dish came out pretty good.

I am getting a puckered mouth as I remember this…..

I plan on making it again using dry sherry and perhaps with a bit of sherry vinegar because I actually liked the sour component in there. Of course much, much, much less of it lol

mouth puckering mu shu tofu

1 carrot
2 broccoli stalks and stems
4 flour tortillas
½ cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup baby Portobello mushrooms, slivered
1lb tray tofu, cut into finger sized sticks
½ cup water or vegetable stock
¼ cup dry sherry and a splash of sherry vinegar
¼ cup shoyu or tamari
2 tsp corn starch
3 tbsp olive oil
Hoisin sauce

Peel carrots and broccoli stems then pass through a mandolin to make fine sticks. Place broccoli florets in food processor and whiz it for a coarse grade. Mix with carrots and stems. The total amount should be about 6 cups.

raw shredded veggies for mu shu tofu

raw shredded veggies for mu shu tofu

Place dry sherry, sherry vinegar, shoyu, water or veggie stock and corn starch to a small bowl. Whisk it to incorporate.

Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Bring temperature to high. Add broccoli/carrot mix to it and sauté for about 5 minutes. It should still have a crunchy texture. Push mix to the side of the pan. Add remaining olive oil followed by the garlic. Let it sizzle for about a minute. Add mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Fold it with broccoli mix. Add sherry sauce to the broccoli/carrot mix and cook stirring until it bubbles and thickens. Add tofu and scallion, remove from heat, keep warm.

Meanwhile bring a skillet to high heat, place one tortilla in the pan and warm it up for about 30 seconds on each side. Transfer to a tray lined with a kitchen towel. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.

ready to wrap mouth puckering mu shu tofu

ready to wrap mouth puckering mu shu tofu

assembling mouth puckering mu shu tofu

assembling mouth puckering mu shu tofu

Assemble at table by spreading some hoisin sauce on tortilla, top with mu shu tofu, then wrap it like a burrito and chow down.

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