By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Chef Fred DeAngelo finishes preparing an
order of seafood paella.

Saffron essential to paella

The key to paella is saffron -- "the world's most expensive spice," says chef Fred DeAngelo of Palomino Euro Bistro. Saffron is the pistil of the purple crocus, and it takes 2,000 strands to make a single ounce, DeAngelo says.

He buys his by the ounce -- at $40 per. "I keep it locked up in my office."

Paella is a signature dish at Palomino and among the restaurant's most popular. DeAngelo offers the recipe, requested by a couple of patrons who rank it among the world's great foods.

This dish has an impressive list of ingredients, from chorizo to king crab. Putting it together could be an expensive proposition -- the saffron alone could break the bank.

Luckily, a little spice goes a long way and this recipe calls for just 1/2 teaspoon. You can get saffron at kitchen specialty shops and at some supermarkets. For a sure thing, go to Strawberry Connection, where you'll pay $4.75 for less than half a gram.

The cooking of this classic Spanish dish has been simplified somewhat, DeAngelo said.

Traditionally, you'd prepare it completely in the oven, cooking the rice three-quarters done, then adding the seafood in parts, depending on how long each type needs to cook, returning the dish to the oven each time. Palomino cooks the rice in the oven, then finishes it on the stove top.

One note: This is a low-fat dish, but the portions are HUGE, so the calorie count is an amazing 1,130. If you try this at home, consider dividing a single portion among two or even three people with normal-sized appetites. I doubt they'll complain.


Palomino Euro Bistro Paella

bullet Prepared rice:
1 ounce olive oil
1 link chorizo, rough cut
5 ounces chicken thigh meat
1 medium Maui onion, 1/2-inch dice
1/2 red pepper, 1/2-inch dice
1/2 green pepper, 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces vermouth
4 roma tomatoes, 1/2-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed peppers
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound long-grain rice

bullet Paella:
3 teaspoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
9 ounces mahimahi
9 live clams
9 live mussels
Salt and pepper to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon each
6 ounces fish stock or clam juice
6 ounces white wine
Juice of 1-1/2 lemons
9 large shrimp (16-20 size)
3 king crab claws or legs, cut in half and split
2-1/2 pounds prepared rice (above)
3 ounces peas

To make the rice: Heat oil, brown chorizo and chicken. Add onions, peppers and garlic, deglaze with vermouth.

Add tomatoes, spices and stock, bring to a boil. Add rice, cover and bake about 1/2 hour in a 375-degree oven. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

To prepare paella: Combine oil, garlic, fish, clams and mussels and saute over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with stock and wine, add lemon juice, cover and reduce until shellfish open, about 1 minute.

Add shrimp, crab, rice and peas, gently stir, then cover and cook another 2 minutes. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped parsley. Serves 3.

Note: If you don't have a large enough pan to hold all the ingredients at once, divide the prepared rice and the paella ingredients into 3 equal parts and prepare one portion at a time.

bullet Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving, without added salt and pepper: 1,130 calories, 31 g fat, 7 saturated, 370 mg cholesterol, more than 1,500 mg sodium*.*


Can you help?

These reader requests are leftover from the old year. If you've got a recipe to share, I can promise you fame, if not fortune, here on this very page:

bullet Pumpkin cookies made with molasses and served with a sour-cream/powdered sugar dip.

bullet Banana muffins from the old Tahitian Lanai.

bullet Chex mix flavored with coffee.

bullet Fish cake, the steamed type.

bullet Finally, anybody know how someone in Texas could buy laulau by air freight?

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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