Paella by Candle 79

Angel RamosComment

Serves 6

2 ears of fresh corn, husked 
1 1⁄4 teaspoons saffron 
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 pound oyster mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sautéing
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1⁄4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup chopped cauliflower florets
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups Valencia or Arborio rice 
1 cup ground seitan sausage, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (optional)
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Using tongs, hold the corn over a gas flame and cook, turning, until nicely charred. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside. 

Soak the saffron in the hot water for at least 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Using the same pan, heat another 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika and sauté until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the corn, cauliflower, and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the mushrooms.

Heat the stock in a saucepan and hold it at a simmer. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot or traditional paella pan over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until well coated, about 30 seconds. Add the salt and the saffron water and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Add 1⁄2 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed it all. Continue adding the liquid in 1⁄2-cup increments and stirring until the rice has absorbed it, until the rice is tender, not mushy, and retains its bite, 25 to 30 minutes.

To get the socarrat, or caramelized crust on the rice, uncover the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook until the rice crackles and smells toasty, being careful not to burn it. Add the mushroom mixture and sausage and stir. Cook over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pot so the rice doesn’t stick, for about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Sprinkle the paella with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of smoked paprika and the optional scallions.

Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook. Photo by Rita Maas.

View article: "The Beautiful Belief of Candle 79."

Besame Mucho

PostcardNicky NeimanComment

Argentinean photographer, Ignacio Lehmann, has traveled all over the world “catching kisses.” His project began a couple years ago in New York City, where he photographed his first 100 kisses in one city. Since then, he has traveled through Europe, South America and Asia searching for more kisses.

Ancient Fibers, Organic Future for Peru

ArticlePatricia CodinaComment

Dr. James Vreeland was an archeologist studying pre-Columbian textiles on the northern coast of Peru, when he noticed that the ancient fibers he was observing under the microscope appeared to be naturally pigmented, not dyed. The existence of colored cotton had been all but forgotten and was really only known to local peasant farmers of that region. 

Cumbia Loves New York

ArticleMichelle Christina LarsenComment

Bareto is performing for hundreds of grinning fans crammed into Stage 48, a large venue frozen to the skirts of the Hudson River Piers. Concert-goers in their 20s and 30s are frantically waving their arms in the frost, singing along to modern renditions of classic Peruvian cumbia, or chicha, a genre which, until recently, carried a lower class stigma that many Peruvians turned their backs on. 

Hoboken's Essential Tamal

InterviewLatin LoverComment

"I started selling Cuban-style, fresh corn tamales at Zafra, when we opened our restaurant in 2000. Today we make about five different types from different parts of Latin America. We felt that tamales were an essential part of the Latin American diet, and one of the most spectacular foods from our part of the world. It was inconceivable to open a Cuban-Latino restaurant without tamales."