The occasion was a promised dinner and “group viewing” of the No Reservations Philippines episode (we did this over a month ago). Many thanks to reader Jun for uploading, and friend RM, who downloaded at “high speed” a clear copy of the show. I was a bit freaked out when I realized that my $1.99 legitimately purchased itunes copy could NOT be copied onto a DVD for tv viewing… Anyway, the casual dinner date was set. Invitations went out by text, attire was shorts or equally casual outfits. Friends and many of them fellow bloggers, came for a simple menu featuring a couple, turned into three, paellas. Guests brought the wine, we ordered dessert (a cake from Roshan) and it was an easy evening of eating, watching television and chatting…
My paellas tend to be chock-full of “laman” or meat and seafood, but the more I read into authentic paellas, it seems they really shouldn’t have too much to distract from the flavored rice. So this time around, I tried to cut the meat and seafood and concentrate on the rice. I was only half successful, and could cut back more. I have posted recipes for my paella, both the tomato based one and the black squid ink one before, check the archives. This time around I made a large “red paella” with chicken, pork and sausage; a medium paella with black squid ink, squid, prawns, fish and crab; and a small red paella without pork and only with chicken and seafood. They were “thinner” than my usual paellas and I was definitely going for socarrat or tutong. I also envisioned eating it straight from the pan with these indiidual wooden spoons but for many pinoys, that was just a bit too cootie-sharing style, if you know what I mean.
Traditionally, you would mark your portion or “territory” on the pan, like large pizza wedges, and you could eat straight from the pan with your wooden spoons. Instead, we set up a buffet and everyone took what they wanted and ate it however they pleased.
It was a very relaxed dinner with one of the most interesting and shocking (for some friends and guests) discussions on intestinal parasites later in the evening. It would be the cause of several post dinner emails on the topic that had everyone rolling on the floor laughing… Oh, and one last tip if you make paella at home. We use a weber grill and have had really good results. Take the paella off the flames when it is cooked but still a little wet/soupy then cover with several sheets of newspaper and let it steam in its own juices for a few minutes before serving. Paella, salad and cake for 12… a nice relaxed evening with friends.