Midsummer paella

Vegetable paella with yoghurtThis vegetarian paella was the centrepiece for a midsummer dinner for friends at 42 Carlton Place in Glasgow. The colour of the vegetablesButter bean puree with dukkah  suffered a little from being kept waiting – we were drinking champagne outside, eating Ottolenghi’s delicious Butter bean puree with dukkah (right) and enjoying the evening light – but it still tasted just fine.

Louise's Paella panLuckily a friend had this big paella pan, which was perfect for 9 people, but a large frying pan or shallow saucepan would do, ideally one with a lid. I doubled the quantities here, which serve about 4 as a main course. The recipe started with the Vegetable paella in Moro East and incorporates some of the ingredients and spicing from Ottolenghi’s recipe.

5 tbsps olive oil
4cm piece cinnamon stick
6 allspice berries
1 large or 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric (if not using saffron)
1 artichoke heart from a jar or 200g courgettes
1 fennel bulb, cut into strips
6-8 spring onions, sliced into 2cm lengths
300g basmati rice, soaked in tepid water for 1 hour
100ml sherry (optional)
1 tsp saffron strands
300g asparagus, tips sliced off and stem in 1 cm rounds
80g podded peas
120g podded broad beans (blanched and skinned if large)
450ml vegetable stock
1/2 bunch of parsley (or dill) chopped

To serve:
150g Greek yoghurt, thinned with 4 tbsp water, and mixed with 1/2 garlic clove crushed, 4 finely sliced spring onions and 2 tbsps finely chopped mint
Lemon wedges

Soffrito for vegetable paellaHeat the oil in a medium saucepan (or paella pan) with the cinnamon and allspice. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook over a medium heat for 20-25 minutes, adding the fennel half way through, until the onion is soft and golden brown. Add the garlic, bay leaves and other spices if using.

Slice the artichoke, add to the pot with the spring onions and fry for a few minutes. Drain the rice and add to the pan, stirring for a minute or so to coat it in oil. Add the sherry and saffron, and boil down for a minute. Then add the asparagus, peas, broad beans, stock and the dill or parsley. Season to taste.

Paella covered with greaseproof paperCover with a sheet of greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid if your pan has one. Bring to the boil and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 10 minutes without stirring. Remove for the heat and leave to rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve with the seasoned yoghurt and/or lemon wedges.

Midsummer dessertAfterwards we ate Lemon and almond cake, raspberries, and Coconut panna cotta with papaya and lime.

Thanks to Luc for taking all the photos.

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