A New Twist on Paella – Squid Ink!

by | Jul 25, 2018 | Desserts, Main Dishes, Seafood | 10 comments

Sepia, or Squid Ink Paella

I’m interrupting my travelogue of Sicily to tell you about yet another fantastic paella party I hosted on Saturday. This was our 4th annual party and my mom and I decided to take it to the next level. “I saw this interesting Garcima Paella Burner at Pata Negra,” my mom said enthusiastically. Pata Negra is our local Spanish food stuffs store and also carries every size of paella pan and accessories to throw a great paella party. I returned to the store with her and fell in love with the concept. Two propane-fueled ring burners attach to a tripod. The paella pan sits on top. No more messy charcoal! Click here to see them at La Tienda.

The knowledgeable salesman saw me eyeing the packages of squid ink or sepia, I so enjoyed in Sicilian pastas. He pointed out a sepia broth that he swore would make the BEST paella ever. How could we refuse? The black broth, from the squid ink, would turn the rice black!

Sepia or Squid Ink broth for the Paella. You can buy it at Spanish Table

Sauteeing the Bomba rice with olive oil. You can see the Garcima Paella Burner setup.

I love inviting guests who are eager to try new and different foods.

Me and my fabulous aunt Barb, who is a fabulous chef herself.

My cousin Ali, who is a master at organizing parties and who helped me more than I can say, and my beautiful mom, the birthday girl.

My co-chef Eva, me and my best friend Jenny!

Me and my dear friend Alan who makes the best cocktails on the planet!

Our guests: Jenn, Joanne, Jan, Barb and Mom

Here I was, trying something totally new on my 11 guinea pig guests! The entire paella prep was reduced by half by using the sepia broth. All we did was chop one onion, sauté it in a fair amount of olive oil, add the Bomba Spanish rice, stir, then add the warmed sepia broth. I stirred in a pinch of saffron (from Palermo!) and about a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Now all that was left to do was to let it steam while we prepped the seafood to top the paella.

Eva and me adding the mollusks. We are having fun!

We tucked clams, mussels, squid ringlets with their tentacles and shrimp into the cooked rice and covered it with foil for about five minutes. Mangiamo!

Finished Seafood Paella before garnishing with roasted red peppers and fresh parsley.

I think everyone agreed, this was the best paella ever. The sepia broth delivered a richness, almost as if I had slaved all day to make the perfect fish broth using fish heads and shellfish. The unusual squid ink that colors the rice black just made the entire dish more interesting and a great conversation piece!

Jenny and her colorful salad.

The perfect crunchy green salad to go with the Paella.

The paella was accompanied by a gorgeous green salad, made by my best friend Jenny, and some chunks of French bread. This was a celebration for my mom’s birthday and every year she craves Pavlova as her birthday cake. The meringue was one of the best I’ve ever made. Thick, soft marshmallow meringue with a lemon creme filling, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Always a crowd pleaser and all the prep can be done in advance. Assembly takes about five minutes! My advice for throwing a party – keep it simple. Limit the dishes to one hearty main, a salad, bread and dessert and involve your friends in the cooking and prepping process. Don’t forget the after dinner dance party! Ours lasted until midnight!

Pavlova – a slice of marshmallowy lightness with a tang of lemon creme. Yummy!

My wonderful mom, the birthday girl!

The next time you make paella, I hope you try it with the sepia broth. You will thank me.

“When you hear a Spanish cook describe a paella or a cake, you realize she’s using a much richer repertoire of adjectives than what one of us would use to characterize a book or an important experience.”
Julio Cortázar, Final Exam

Ciao for now!

About Mary Knight

I have always been passionate about food and its origin, all things France and Julia Child. Travel tugs at my heart, luring me to new places where I can feast my eyes and senses, taste local …

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