Restaurant Anise Paella Negra
By Babs Rodriguez
Photos by Meda Kessler
Chef Megan Potts, owner of Granbury’s Restaurant Anise, grew up in France outside Paris and learned to cook at her dad’s knee long before her culinary school tenure.
Her food is evocative of places where the dinner hour is sacred and good conversation is part of a meal’s success. “Paella Negra reminds me of warm Mediterranean nights spent with family. The squid ink gives it the scent of a sea breeze and a delicious brininess.” She serves the communal dish with pan con tomate, Spanish-style grilled bread with tomatoes. Toast your gathering with a lightly oaked chardonnay.
Serves 8 to 10
- Olive oil for coating paella pan
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (8 to 12 per pound)
- ½ pound calamari, tentacles cut off and saved, tubes cleaned and sliced into rings
- 1 (8-ounce) chicken breast, sliced into strips
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, destemmed and chopped fine
- ¾ cup dried chorizo sausage, diced small
- 4 medium Roma tomatoes peeled, deseeded and diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced small
- 1½ cups bomba, arborio or any short-grain rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons cuttlefish ink (ask your fishmonger; we bought ours at Central Market)
- 4½ cups liquid (clam juice preferable, but any type of broth is fine)
- 12 clams
- 12 mussels
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 lemons, sliced into wedges
Heat a paella pan over medium-high heat. Coat generously with olive oil. (A 14-inch heavy-bottom pan will work, but you won’t get the crispy rice on the bottom.)
Season shrimp, calamari and chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan, separately, to parcook. Over medium heat, fry shrimp for 1 minute per side. Stir-fry the squid tubes and tentacles for 1 to 2 minutes. Sear chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Set all aside.
Recoat pan generously with olive oil; add onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and saute for 1 minute. Add garlic, thyme and chorizo; saute another minute. Add diced tomato and bell peppers; cook until onion starts to become translucent.
Turn heat to high and add rice, stirring as pan heats. Add white wine (avoid rising steam), saffron and paprika; bring to a boil and reduce for 3 minutes. Mix cuttlefish ink into broth and add to pan. Stir and return to a boil. Salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add clams, mussels and chicken; cover and cook 8 minutes. Add shrimp and calamari; cook 5 minutes more. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.