So.. as I finished eating my paella last night I started to reflect on the fact that it always looks better and sounds better than it really tastes. It's a fun thing to cook.. it's a fun thing to plan and shop for.. It's a great process.. but the end result, to me, tends to suffer from the same problem that infects Mac-n-Cheese... endless forkfuls of "sameness". The flavors meld together and I find my mouth craving acidity.. or crunch..
It's not a BAD dish.. but I know it wouldn't be so globally revered if it always tasted like mine has (I've made it 3 or 4 times). I did mine on the gas grill last night but had a nice oak smoke going the whole time so I had a "campfire" taste to it that was really good. I got the soccarat (sp?) which is nice in the mouth... but other than that it's starchy and heavy.
I used chicken, sausage and shrimp.. and before you post your outrage at my yankee ingredients keep in mind that the problem I'm trying to fix would not have been improved with rabbit, squid or frog's legs.
I think my first problem is rice- I used arborio. I also probably moved it around too much so I made it overly starchy by breaking my rice down. But other than that- what creates contrast in a good paella? I used saffron, smoked paprika, good chicken stock, lots of garlic, onion..
Also- it's just a dumb thing to make for 2 people :-) I needed about 8 neighbors to stop in to help eat it!!