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Paella And What Else?

John Liu
4 months ago
last modified: 4 months ago

SWMBO and I have been slaving on the house and yard for the past month. She has been doing interior painting and I have been stripping and sanding the exterior siding in preparation for painting the house. I repaired all the wobbly, leany, and outright missing parts of our fence and SWMBO has been working on the yard.

Every spring, we usually spend a few weekends getting the muck and rotten leaves of winter cleaned up, but this year is different. After spending so much of last year traveling, we are sticking close to home this year and tackling things we’ve neglected about the house, and that seems to have extended to a deep, deep clean and fix-up of the yard as well.

As a break, we have decided to make paella and eat it in the backyard amidst the piles of tools and supplies, pressure washer and disassembed grill, with a bottle of Portugese wine that DD brought home from her trip to Porto.

DD was skeptical of my proposal to make the original rabbit, snails, and green bean paella. I started my lecture about how paella began as a hard-scrabble dish in poor and rural Spanish villages, where rabbits and snails were foraged from the hills in lieu of valuable livestock or purchased protein. She responded, no, paella has shrimp and mussels. I said that was only after the dish had been co-opted by coastal cooks who had seafood in abundance. She said if I wanted to be true in spirit to the foraged poor-folk locavore origins of the dish then I was free to make my paella with tree squirrels and crows, but she, DD, preferred the more abundant version. Offended, I said that if she wanted to bourgeois up a humble dish, then why don’t we just make it with caviar, scallops, langoustine tails. She called my bluff so that’s what we are doing.

What would you do, if you were making paella? Rabbit or clams, shrimp or chicken? Do you have any paella tricks for me to try? I’ll be making a little one and a big one, in my fire pit over wood.

We will also make some broiled artichokes, a little cheese selection, and - hmm, what else would you suggest, as a supplementary dish? Nothing too complicated or time-consuming. I will be stripping siding all morning :-(

For six to ten people. We are not sure who is coming, made some last-minute calls but it’s Memorial Day weekend so folks have plans, or not, who knows. It will be random.

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