Gary, here's the recipe you asked for. This week, we've been serving Shrimp and Chorizo Skewers with a Paella Cake as a starter.
The term "paella" is a bit of a misnomer. For this dish, we're making basically a paella-flavored risotto; just a slight difference of technique from paella but one which yields a creamier rice from which to make cakes. The word paella conveys just the right flavor and concept, so paella it is, with all due apologies to my Spanish friends.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion in fine dice
1 poblano pepper in fine dice
1 red pepper, roasted, in fine dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large pinch saffron
2 teaspoons pimentón
2 cups paella rice (or Arborio)
1 cup white wine
24-32 fluid ounces seafood stock (or water)
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
1 large egg
Wondra (or all purpose) flour
Heat a pan over medium high flame and film with the oil. Start the sofrito by adding the onion and both peppers and cooking until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic, saffron, and pimentón and cook for another minute. If I were using chorizo in my paella cakes, which I often do, I would add it to the sofrito and cut back on the pimentón.
Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the edges of the rice become translucent. Add the white wine and stir well. Lower the flame and let the wine evaporate slowly, stirring occasionally.
Then, as for risotto, add sufficient stock or water to just cover the rice (shown in this photo) and stir often as the rice cooks. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and continue to add stock 2 ounces at a time as necessary. As the rice nears doneness, adjust the seasoning to your liking. The rice will take about 20 minutes to become tender, but still a touch chewy in the center.
Remove the rice from the flame and help it cool quickly by spreading it out on a tray. When cooled to just above body temperature, stir in the cheese and the egg. Refrigerate until cold and firm.
Shape the cold, firm rice into patties (wetting your hands between cakes helps), dredge in seasoned Wondra (or regular flour), and brown in a pan filmed with more oil over medium heat. Reserve warm.
Makes 12 3-ounce cakes.
I often apply this technique to any leftover paella or risotto, as either an appetizer as in this case, or as a garnish for an entrée.