We’re having an extremely hot summer, with the kind of heat that is able to drain me from any (good) intentions.
And cooking does not escape this generalized discouragement of mine.
And yet, the urge to cook is coming back, even after yesterday, our hottest day ever, with 31°C indoors, at 11PM (about 88°F).
The house can’t even cool down at night, and this morning’s fierce sun was announcing yet another tedious day.
That’s when I said to myself “Paella!”
The prospect of heating the kitchen with blazing fire, boiling water and feverish activity should have acted as a strong deterrent, but here you are, reading this post, meaning the deed is done!
I tried something new for this paella: replace the peas by courgette (or zucchini if you like).
Onion, garlic, tomato, spices (among which the almighty saffron) were invited of course.
And still I didn’t have shrimps, and going out with this heat was out of the question, I aimed for the freezer, and fished four big scallops.
Gentle thawing in warm water was followed by delicate drying (scallops don’t like rough manners)
An olive oil/lemon juice marinade was their new environment for the next hour.
On the other hand, red peppers were savagely cut, sliced, and thrown in a devilish pan.
They did not escape from it unscathed …
Now the cooking begins …
Sizzling olive oil and chopped onions … not very original …
Diced courgettes quickly joined the onions
Until the golden color and aromatic smell concluded a very interesting first chapter.
The tomato abruptly crashed this party, and started mingling …
Until it became everybody’s best friend.
The ‘sofrito’ is ready.
Once the veggies are set aside, some meat is unceremoniously cooked.
Nothing to see here (but the smell was mouth watering)
Now that cooked and spiced vegetables and meat are united, the chopped garlic is very much seen as an intruder
But the garlic is quickly assimilated, and we are ready for the last act.
Snow-white rice rains on the colorful scenery.
Spices and hot water do their best to help achieve the impossible mix
Bubbling and smelling, the pan is traversed by perfumed eddies
Remember the peppers, and never forget the scallops!
Cooking is just a formality now, a matter of waiting for the rice to puff up, adjusting the heat level, or the water quantity.
Until, finally, my urge is satisfied, and yet another meal is ready to be served.