Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shellfish and Chicken Paella with Lemon Aioli

No cute quotes. No clever quips. There is no point trying to upstage this dish. Doesn't it look delicious? It was.

Like many of you, we are fans of a few shows on the Food Network. We TIVO Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Iron Chef and, every year, The Next Food Network Star. This year we watched and were rooting for Aaron McCargo's win. And, of course, I love Giada DeLaurentis.

The recipe for this Paella is an adaptation of Bobby Flay's recipe from Throwdown. You can find the original recipe here.

Now for the disclaimer. I live in Arkansas. I have never met an Arkansan fish monger (I don't think they exist here) and, according to a conversation I inadvertently overheard a couple of weeks ago, the barely-out-of-his-teens "butcher" at my local grocery store couldn't tell a customer what tilapia tasted like because he'd only ever eaten catfish. So, when the original recipe called for fresh baby octopus and squid... well, you know, it just wasn't going to happen. But, my husband, Tom, being the ever so positive thinker that he is, drove to Little Rock and the Fresh Market there came through once again and Tom was able to get fresh clams and mussels and two frozen rock lobster tails. Score !! We had a half of a tube of chorizo in the freezer. The chorizo sausage was not the smoked and cooked kind, but rather the raw sausage you get in a tube in the sausage section at Wal*Mart. That's okay, though, the flavor is there. Oh, and we just thawed out some frozen peas.

Bobby Flay's recipe serves 8, but that is way too much for the two of us. Tom scaled down the recipe to just 4 servings.

Let me note here that I really did not care for the Aioli with this dish. I would have been just as happy with a few sprinkles of fresh lemon juice.

Shellfish and Chicken Paella with Lemon Aioli
by Tom Powers
adapted from Bobby Flay's recipe on the Food Network

For the Paella:

  • 2 roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, divided
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 6 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 4 chicken drumsticks or 2 thighs, bones removed and meat cut into about 3-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound (or 1/2 of a tube) of chorizo sausage
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 6 mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail on
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 cooked small rock lobster tails, leave the tails in the shell and split in half lengthwise
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the tomatoes in a small baking dish and drizzle with honey, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast until soft. Set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan and add a large pinch of saffron.

Into another saucepan put about 1/2 cup of the seasoned chicken stock, add the clams and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook just until the clams open. Remove the clams from the liquid and set aside, reserving the liquid in the saucepan.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a very large skillet or paella pan over medium high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the heated pan. Cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Add the chorizo, onion and garlic and saute until the chorizo is cooked through and the onions are translucent.

To the chicken juices in the frying pan, add the rice, about 3-3/4 cups of the chicken stock, the reserved clam liquid and bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken in the rice and let cook, uncovered, until the rice is quite al dente, about 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer (the rice on the bottom of the pan should form a dark brown crispy crust by the end of the cooking time. If the stock is disappearing too quickly, just add a bit more of the remaining of the remaining chicken stock.

Add the mussels, shrimp, and peas. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes until the shrimp are pin and the mussels open. Add the lobster, clams and roasted tomatoes, cover and cook for about 5 more minutes. At this point, you should be able to see liquid bubbling gently; it will settle when you turn off the heat.

Sprinkle with the parsley and lemon aioli and serve in the pan.

Lemon Aioli:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • fresh ground white pepper

Place the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, egg yolks, lemon juice and zest in a blender and process until smooth. Slowly, while the blender is running, add the oil, in a small steady stream until thickened. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Alison said...

Looks awesome Terri! Fresh Market in LR rocks! I haven't been over there nearly as much as I would like - with gas prices the way the are. Sheesh!

Terri said...

Hi Alison:

Yes! Fresh Market rocks!! I became acquainted with it a couple of years ago while visiting my son in Savannah. I couldn’t wait until one opened here, although I would love to have one here in Conway instead of Little Rock, but I will settle for Little Rock for now.

I took your advice and ordered my Dorie Greenspan cookbook used through Amazon.com. Cheap, cheap, cheap! And in perfect condition. Thanks for the tip.

Hope you are having a great week.

Tom Aarons said...

This looks so glorious and delicious, Terri. Wow!

Heather said...

You know, I bet a paella made from local seafood would be amazing. It's not that different from jambalaya, so why not?

Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

You can view our blog here:

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