March 20: Surf & Turf Paella
I have been super remiss with my HEROS the last couple of weeks because of St. Patrick’s Day - we were busy busy busy at the business, so my cooking has been focused there. But I promised K a steak for his 3/16 birthday, and I couldn’t let the weekend close without whipping up something unique for him. And dang, I think I hit a home run with this one!
It has been a minute since I have cooked a paella, and I have never made one with beef, but I found what sounded like a delicious surf & turf recipe version online - and I do believe that recipe is the HEROS of this day! The blend of smoked paprika and saffron-seasoned rice, coupled with the overall beefy flavor, was OUT OF THIS WORLD! I added more onion and less bell pepper, mainly because that‘s what I had on hand, but the veggies in this dish were perfectly basic enough to let the beef and shrimp and rice shine - use what you have but keep it simple. I also used flank steak, which is pretty much the only cut of steak I ever have on hand to cook because it’s so ridiculously easy, and it was perfect in this dish. Honestly, prob one of the best meals I have ever made - and I could already think of variations for the future, which is the thing I love most about paella. As long as you have the basic seasonings, there are a million ways to make it your own with what you have on hand.
Two additional HEROS to highlight that made this dish soooooo good - and so versatile. First up is the pre-seasoned saffron rice. No need to buy and mess with expensive saffron spice - plus it’s perfectly portioned for just about every paella dish I make. I get this rice at my local Kroger. And next of course is a big FLAT pan in which to cook the paella - I have 2 actually, and this cast iron version is actually a bit deeper and can go on the grill, which I plan to do as soon as the weather warms up a bit. This pan was $30-ish from the housewares store at my local outlet mall. You really don’t need an expensive official ‘paella’ pan - just get something sturdy with a large (14-16” diameter), flat cooking surface. (My electric burners aren’t actually large enough for this pan so keep the heat on the lower/medium end and move around the liquid in the pan so the rice absorbs enough liquid and cooks through.) I also use this pan when making fried eggs for lots of people, or a ton of bacon for the egg sandwiches for those same people. This pan reminds me often that the best tools don’t have to be expensive!
Best part of this whole story is that this recipe - as with most paella dishes - made a TON of food, so K has been reliving the deliciousness all week with leftovers in his lunchbox. I admit that I do love when the HEROS enable gifts that just keep on giving!!!