Transport your guests to Ibiza with a sunny Spanish feast from Anne Sijmonsbergen’s ‘Eivissa’ cookbook. Grilled fish is wonderful with fisherman’s potatoes and green herb sauce. It is easy to cook, indoors or out, but there is something very special about grilling and eating it at the beach.
The old fisherman’s method of boiling potatoes in sea water leaves a delicious trace of salt on the skins once the liquid evaporates. The trick is to use a heavy-based enamel saucepan like a Le Creuset, so the potatoes can cook dry without scorching.
You will need:
• 30cm paella pan or large, heavy-based pan
For the chilli base:
• 2 dried nora chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1–1½ litres fish stock
For the sofregit:
• 80ml extra virgin olive oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• ½ a red pepper and ½ a green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 3 large roasted tomatoes, chopped
• 1½ tsp pimentón dulce (sweet paprika)
• 1 tsp pimentón picante (hot paprika)
• huge pinch saffron threads
• 6 small squid, or 1 large, cleaned, membrane removed, body sliced into 3cm rings (tentacles left whole)
• 500g paella rice
• 300ml white wine
• 18 shell-on prawns
• 18 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
• 18 fresh clams, scrubbed (soak wild ones in cold water with salt)
• 1 whole cooked lobster, split in half lengthways (optional)
• lemon wedges, to serve
• aioli, to serve
• salt and black pepper
1 For the chilli sauce, soak the chillies in a heatproof bowl with 80–100ml of the hot fish stock for 30 minutes, then drain, retaining the liquid.
2 Grind the chillies to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a heat-proof measuring jug. Add the chilli paste to the jug, whizz with a hand-held blender till smooth, and set aside.
3 For the sofregit, heat the olive oil in the paella pan or frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, peppers, garlic and tomatoes and fry for about 20 minutes until soft but not brown.
4 Add the pimentón dulce, pimentón picante and a large pinch of sea salt and cook for 8–10 minutes, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce.
5 Bring the remaining stock to the boil in a separate saucepan, reduce the heat and add the saffron. Add the squid to the pan, turn to coat in the sauce, and cook for 2–3 minutes, then remove and set aside.
6 Add the rice to the pan and stir it to coat the grains in the sauce. Fry for 3–4 minutes to lightly toast the rice, then pour in the white wine. Cook for 3–4 minutes, to allow the wine to reduce slightly, then pour enough simmering stock into the pan to just cover the rice.
7 Return the squid to the pan, evenly distributing it and nestling it into the rice, then cook over a low heat for 10–15 minutes, uncovered, gently stirring in more hot stock as needed. Paella, like risotto, requires a bit of judgement when cooking. Taste it to check the texture of the rice and add liquid to reach the desired consistency.
8 Place the prawns, mussels and clams evenly on top and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, then mix the lobster pieces (if using) into the rice.
9 Remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes. If you’re not using lobster,remove the pan from the heat after the prawns, mussels and clams have had 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with lemon wedges and aioli.
Recipe courtesy of Anne Sijmonsbergen, extracted from Eivissa