Watermelon – A few quick ideas: Purée watermelon, cantaloupe and kiwi together. Swirl in a little plain yogurt and serve as refreshing cold soup. Watermelon mixed with thinly sliced red onion salt and black pepper, makes a great summer salad. In Southern American cooking, the rind of watermelon can be marinated, pickled, or candied. Watermelon is a wonderful addition to fruit salad. And fruit salad can be made days ahead since cut fruit, if chilled, retains its nutrients for at least 6 days.
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes. Serves: 6
4-1/2 cups chicken stock
½ tsp. saffron threads, crumbled, then loosely measured
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 oz. mild dried chorizo sausage, sliced into thin half-moons (See Recipe Note)
3 cups short-grain rice, such as Spanish Bomba rice or Italian Arborio
1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen green peas
1 lb. large (21-25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails left on
1 lb. mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
1 lb. littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
Garnish: 1/4 cup chopped parsley and lemon slices
Preheat the gas grill to medium-high heat (375ºF) or light a charcoal grill and let on until the charcoal is covered with gray ash.
Steep the saffron: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the saffron and salt. Turn off the heat and let the saffron steep for at least 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Cook the sofrito base: In a 12-14 inch cast iron pan or stainless steel skillet, heat the oil over medium heat on top of the stove. Add the onion an dried pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and chorizo.
Assemble the ingredients by the grill: On a table next to the grill, set the skillet with the sofrito, the rice, tomatoes, infused stock, salt, peas, shrimp, mussels, and clams.
Begin cooking the Paella: Set the skillet with the sofrito on the grill. Add the rice and cook; stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the rice is coated with old and lightly toasted. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, and peas. Taste for seasoning and add more, if needed. Spread the rice evenly over the bottom of the pan. Close the grill cover and simmer the rice without stirring for 15 minutes, or until the rice absorbs most of the stock. If the mixture looks dry, pour about 1 cup of hot water over it, but do not stir.
Add the seafood: Press the mussels and clams into the rice with the hinge sides up so they release their juices into the rice. Arrange the shrimp around the shellfish. Cover the pan with foil, close the grill and cook for 6 to 10 minutes longer (depending on the heat of your grill), or until the rice and shrimp are both cooked through and the mussels and clams are open. (Discard any shellfish that remain tightly shut once everything else is cooked.)
Check to see if the bottom is browned: Slip a spatula under the rice and check to see if you have achieved the elusive golden brown socarrat. If not, set the pan over the heat, uncovered, for a few minutes to lightly caramelize the bottom.
Sprinkle with parsley and bring the whole pan to the table for serving. Summer is just short – celebrate with friends.
Jan Robinson, Health Coach, Charter Yacht Consultant, 2019 CYBA Hall of Fame, Chef Competition Coordinator/Judge, and author of the Ship to Shore Cookbook collection; available on Amazon and www.shiptoshoreinc.com [email protected]