So, there’s a whole paella sub-culture developing. Saturday we went to a private Paella-off with some generous friends (and 400 others), the makers of Aurelia’s Chorizo, clearly the best Spanish chorizo in the whole world. These folks are serious about their paella as you can tell by the photo of the pan. We call this the four gaucho model.
Eric made the cherry paella paddle ’cause a paella this big needs the appropriate shovel. And when an event starts this way you know it’ll only get better. Around 4 o’clock James Canter, the executive chef of Alhambra in McAllen, showed up with these:
And then these.
And they all went into the paella, along with lots of semi-boneless quail and of course, Aurelia’s Chorizo, which James says is the best he has ever found. James is one of the new breed of chef, the non-yelling, non-cussing, inclusive, generous breed who relies on solid cooking knowledge and wonderful ingredients. Gordon Ramsey, it’ll be good to forget you and your ilk.
I learned a lot! A lot! Like, this is the way Spaniards measure the rice into the pan:
The stock gets added to each rice sector to the top of the rice dam, again a measure. This is gaucho food after all and they probably don’t have Pyrex on the trail.
And the final dish in its glorious assembly. . .
I feel so privileged to have been there, and to have been able to stir up these lovely mushrooms. Yes, he let me handle the pan! I told you he was generous. In fact, throughout the event a spirit of generosity prevailed.
Until, of course, we had to get a taste of this world class paella. We fought our way through the crowd to a plate, almost giving up once or twice, but Eric persevered. This was hands down the best paella ever! Ever!