Paella a la Maestre 2021
This is the recipe that defines me as a chef: the colour, the passion, the theatre, the intensity, the happiness. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made it in my many years behind the stove. The recipe evolves every year, which is why I include the year in the name – like your favourite vintage wine! Maestre is my mother Florentina’s surname, and she is the one who first taught me how to make paella.
In Spain, there are more than 50 different ways to cook paella, depending on the region and the produce available. This way is my way, like the great Frank Sinatra said. After spending many years pursuing the perfect technique, I came up with this one, where I liquefy the sofrito to make a puree that defines the final flavour of the paella. It all came about at my restaurant, El Toro Loco, where I cooked paella to order. I had to come up with a way to achieve the perfect flavour balance in half the time and so, after much experimentation, the sofrito a la Maestre was born. The puree hits the pan with all the base flavours and becomes juicy and pulpy as the water from the tomato slowly evaporates. This is really the essential process when it comes to making a great-tasting paella. The dish itself is a blank canvas, and it is the addition of our amazing Australian seafood that makes it so delicious.
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