Some of my best recipes have been created through pure necessity. If you have been following my other blog, My Kitchen By The Lake, you will know that we have recently "borrowed" my brother's boat and have been going on dinner cruises almost every night. This is quite taxing on the cook/mate, for she never knows how many are going to show up for dinner or when the mood will strike.
Last night, I got the signal just as I was getting in from the big A and letting the dogs out. Oh dear, no time to think much, but pack and go. I had some cold leftover Zucchini Rice With Red Peppers And Lemon Balm which I had served with bay scallops the night before but definitely not much for a main meal, particularly when there was the possibility of two other guests. Luckly, there is always frozen shrimp in the freezer, and plenty of cherry tomatoes which, together with the zucchini, are coming in fast and furious. Zucchini Gelato anyone? Then, I noticed a couple of chorizos that had been left over from our BBQ on the Fourth and *lightbulb why not pass this off as a cold Picnic Paella? The funny part is I also had cold chicken in the fridge, talk about a well stocked fridge.
Paella served with a dry French rose
Brie served at the right temperature
A dry French Rose, a perfectly mature Brie and the best yellow cherries I've had in a long time made for a delightful Summer dinner and the perception by everyone that I had spent hours in the kitchen. The truth is I spent the time it takes to sautee the shrimp and the chorizo and the time it took to mix everything and stick it in a plastic container! In 15 minutes everything was ready to go and the kitchen ship shape.
Cold Picnic Paella
Leftover Zucchini Rice With Onions, Red Peppers And Lemon Balm (cold)
1/2 lbs shrimp peeled, deveined, tails on
2 small Spanish Chorizo (I used El Quijote)
white or rose wine
Pimenton de la Vera (Sweet Spanish Paprika)
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Cooked cold chicken (optional)
Lemon Balm, chopped
First sautee the shrimp in olive oil and garlic. If shrimp is frozen, steam for 3 or 4 minutes ahead. Add some pimenton and salt while browning. Add 1/2 cup rose or white wine and reduce. Remove from stove and set aside. With a paper towel, wipe pan. Slice the Spanish chorizo in 1/4 in rounds and sautee in a little olive oil. When they are browned, add to the cold rice with the drippings, the shrimp with leftover oil and garlic, tomatoes and cold chicken if using. If it needs extra olive oil add it now and correct for salt and pepper.
If you are going to serve it within a couple of hours, stick it in the freezer to cool quickly. If not, cover and store in refrigerator, preferrably overnight. Bring it out of the refirgerator a good 20 minutes before serving.
The leftover of the leftovers were divine when I had them again for lunch today!
Now, if you want to see beautiful photos of the sunset and the rest of the "dinner cruise" come over to My Kitchen By The Lake.