Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Perfect Summer Meal

The summer calls for good food , perfect for indoor or al fresco dining. Today's New York Dining section  celebrates that in both its' City Kitchen and A Good Appetite sections. The result is a sunny paella followed by the unusual yet refreshing rhubarb and caramel ice cream. These are the perfect dishes for a simple Sunday night meal or a cozy Saturday get together.

David Tanis, author of the weekly column  City Kitchen, give readers the chance to make a yummy shrimp paella.It's actually considered a picnic food in Spain where it's made over an open fire.It is meant to be unstirred and uncovered, basically the perfect no fuss no muss summer dish. The most important and perhaps the most labor intensive step is the first, making the sofrito. This is a mix of chopped pepper and chorizo, Spanish sausage sauteed in olive oil. Then the rice and other ingredients are added. Mr. Tanis explains it's a  simple 10 10 10 cooking process. 10 minutes over a high flame, then 10 minutes over a medium then 10 minutes resting covered with a clean towel.  His paella is a briny mix of shrimp and fava mixed in with garlic saffron and a spicy version of paprika known as pimenton.

To counter balance this is Melissa Clark's rhubarb caramel ice cream .This sweet concoction would be the perfect end to the paella dinner. Her recipe appears in A Good Appetite and it is a rich frozen custard made with whole milk and four egg yolks. She adds rhubarb , stewing it to a melting softness in sugar. By doing this Ms. Clark renders the fruit to a chewiness that won't freeze into tooth breaking chunks later on. A rich home made caramel is also added made only with sugar. If the entire ice cream sounds way too sweet, sour cream is added to give it the right amount of tartness to set off the sweet. It is made in a regular ice cream maker with the rhubarb and caramel being added lastly.

A perfect summer meal includes a tasty out door dish followed by  something cool and exotic. These two dishes , the paella and rhubarb caramel ice cream fit the bill nicely. They are what a warm weather party or dinner need.

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