This paella recipe was originally created for a party at Blenheim Forge, a blacksmith in south-east London. The dish was made during late summer when tomatoes were in abundance. Ripe and over-ripe tomatoes were available at the local market, making it the perfect opportunity to create a celebration of tomatoes. The ideal time to enjoy this paella is on a late summer’s evening, preferably outdoors. It can be served with a spoonful of aquafaba mayonnaise.
Paella is a one-pot wonder that can be a stunning centerpiece for any meal. This recipe was developed to make the most of the last of the affordable, ripe, and plentiful summer tomatoes before they go out of season. To ensure a smooth cooking process, it is recommended to have all the ingredients prepared and ready to go before starting. The paella itself takes approximately 18 minutes to cook, and it is best enjoyed fresh without delay to prevent the rice from overcooking. It’s important to note that the flavors of the dish will intensify as the stock is absorbed and reduces, so it’s best not to over-season the rice during the cooking process. Adjustments can always be made at the end.
To make this paella, you will need saffron threads, vegetable stock, extra-virgin olive oil, onion, garlic cloves, bomba rice, mixed ripe tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, sweet paprika, fresh oregano or thyme, black olives, flat-leaf parsley, and optional aquafaba mayonnaise for serving.
To start, toast the saffron in a dry pan until it darkens slightly, then grind it in a mortar and stir in water. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a pan. In a paella pan or large ovenproof frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and rice, and cook for an additional two minutes. Stir in the grated tomatoes, sun-dried tomato or ñora pepper paste, sweet paprika, and oregano or thyme sprigs. Pour in the hot stock until it reaches 1cm above the rice’s surface. Lightly season and arrange tomato slices and olives on top. Drizzle saffron liquid evenly over the dish and bring it to a boil. Allow it to cook undisturbed for five minutes until the liquid reduces. Transfer the paella to the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a clean tea towel, and let it rest for two minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and accompanied by optional mayonnaise.