A new addition to the ingredients were stems of cilantro. While the risotto was risotto-ing, I was over on prep, separating leaves of cilantro from the stems (for garnish at the end). Nevertheless, the soft yet crisp cilantro stems, also work well for adding flavor. They will also go atop the paella during the final presentation. **
And finally, one last mollusk is going to join the group, some steamed clams. These clams were already steamed and flash frozen, so Chef Husband popped them into the microwave for a couple minutes, to bring them up to temp. Then with their little clammy smiles face-up, even more cheese rains down upon them. ***
Into a 350° oven, the entire paella pan goes, for about 10-12 minutes, until hot throughout.
One last step in the process…garnish. The aioli has been done since way back (by yours truly), and now it’s time to drizzle it across the top of all this yummy deliciousness, and sprinkle it with the cilantro leaves and stems. Our over-sized bowls are hot-hot, straight from the oven, and finally our Gumboesque Paella/Risotto is ready to serve.
Onto the center of the dinner table the paella pan takes its place, where we can all then dig in and finally enjoy, with a nice glass of wine ****. Oh yeah, remember we got together as wine group to try various wines, but really, the food has taken center stage. *****
As SIRI would say, “You have arrived. Your destination is above.”
Notes from Chef Husband
* Here you have an opportunity to “Show me the MONEY” and place your ingredients in an exciting arrangement that will best showcase the ingredients used.
** Always be thinking…”Flavor”. Never throw anything away that might contribute to flavoring your foods, either the one your working on, or another.
*** Remember not to cover your hard work and presentation by completely covering it with cheese. It should be looked upon as an additional flavoring element.
**** There are certainly a lot of bold and subtle flavors within this presentation, so when considering wines I would go towards a wine fairly high in acidity. This will cut through some of the richness, as well as serve as a palate cleanser, especially with a complicated dish with such and expansive flavor profile. Consider a slightly chilled (55 degrees) Sauvignon Blanc or perhaps a nice herbaceous, yet crisp and clean, Viognier.
***** That was my plan from the beginning, he he. Please, don’t tell Chef Wife 😉