Paella in Chelsea

November 2, 2009 5:56:34 PM PST
This week's Neighborhood Eats, we take you to Chelsea for tapas and paella. Those words make Lolo Manso a happy man. He opened Socarrat in Chelsea a year ago.

They have one table by the window, and a very long communal table that some may be a little intimidated by, but most people end up socializing with each other.

And while there are tapas on the menu, it's the paella that beckons.

And there several varieties, including one with a little of everything.

Felipe Camarillo sautés the cuttle fish, chicken and beef. Then he adds the soffrito a base made of onions, peppers and garlic.

In goes the Spanish rice and stock.

That simmers for 5 minutes and, then it's into the oven.

After ten minutes the shellfish is added, and it's into the oven again.

A little garnish and there's your paella.

And when you dig in, dig toward the bottom for the socarrat. That's the caramelized crunchy part.

PAELLA SOCARRAT (for 2 people)

  • 4oz sepia (cuttle fish)
  • 6oz chicken (cubed)
  • 4oz beef (cubed)
  • 3/4 cup soffrito (base made with onion, red and green peppers, please consult spanish cook book for your favorite version)
  • 1 cup paella rice
  • 2 cups stock (chicken, seafood or both, add a little saffron to taste)
  • 6 jumbo shrimp (head on)
  • 6 little neck clams
  • 6 scallops
  • 10 mussels
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz fava beans
  • 2oz piquillo peppers
  • olive oil
    First, we put the spec i al paella pan on the oven and heat it on medium flare for about 30 seconds.
    Then, we add three table spoons of extra virgin olive oil, followed by 4 oz. of sepia, 6 oz. of bite-size chicken and 4 oz. of beef, with a touch of garlic and we saute them for about one minute.
    This is followed by adding 3/4 of a cup of soffrito (base made with onion, red and green peppers), and we add one cup of paella rice (like arborio) and we wait for 30 seconds.
    We then add 2 cups of chicken and seafood broth (called "caldo", which is already prepared with saffron) and let all cook on the oven for about 5 minutes. Then we put the pan in the oven in a temperature of 500 degrees and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Before the paella absorbs all the broth, we add 10 mussels, 6 head-on jumbo shrimps, 6 little neck clams and 4 scallops. We let it cook for 5 minutes in order for the seafood absorb the paella's flavor. In this step, you can taste the paella and add salt and pepper to taste.
    Finally we take the pan out of the oven and decorate the paella with fresh fava beans, piquillo peppers and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The paella is now ready.
    A tip for serving: One should leave the paella rest in the pan for few minutes, then start serving from the middle, and then leave the corners to the end in order to enjoy the "socarrat" (the crunchy part of the paella.)