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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arroz a Banda

Arroz a banda is not paella, although it is made in a paella pan (also called a paella). It is a Valencian rice dish made with some sort of mutant shrimp called cigalas here in Spain. I don’t know what we call them in English. I have never made this dish before so I was delighted when my country mouse friends invited me to their home out in the hills near Catadau (about 40 kilometers south of Valencia). Alain is French and a damn good cook. His recipe for lapin à la moutarde (rabbit in mustard) is one of the best things I’ve had since arriving. I took advantage of my most recent meal with my friends to record this video. The dish is fairly simple and the result was truly amazing. I can’t wait to make this at home although I don’t have the cool gas paella cooker he has. When he makes paella Valenciana (with chicken and rabbit as opposed to seafood) he uses a wood fire. For this dish he says that the smoke flavor can interfere with the fish flavors.

Fish Stock
Shrimp (or whatever the hell they are)
Red Pepper
Can of diced tomatoes
Saffron, Olive Oil, Salt

Brown shrimp in pan with oil. Remove shrimp. Sauté pepper and onions, then add garlic. Pour in canned tomatoes. Add rice and mix with sautéed vegetables. Add fish stock and bring to simmer. Add a few shrimp heads. When rice is cooked add the rest of the shrimp on top of the dish. Cover with newspaper for about five minutes after turning off the stove to dry out the rice a bit. Serve. ¡Buen provecho!