In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across the world. See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!
This week: Paella, from Paladar, in Hollywood, Calif.
A lot has changed in Hollywood in recent years. The once-tacky area has been experiencing a makeover, converting the run-down surroundings into one of the West Coast's hippest and most exciting food scenes.
Located on one of Hollywood Boulevard’s side streets is the Cuban-influenced Paladar — a place that locals love (and tourists may miss if they don’t look carefully). The food is both comforting and daring, the environment is cool, and the late night happy hour is the “place to be seen.” Our recommendation is to go with a group of people and share several different dishes.
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About the chef: Jason Cline, 27, began his career by studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University while simultaneously interning at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Fla. Growing up and spending most of his career in heavily Cuban Florida has given Cline an understanding of Caribbean ingredients, as well as instilling in him a fascination for Cuban cooking. While in Florida, Cline worked at Disney World’s Flying Fish Café and at the opulent Dux Restaurant in The Peabody Orlando (a branch of the venerable Memphis hotel). There, under the guidance of noted chef David Clawson, Cline mastered haute cuisine laced with global accents and executed with classic European technique.
Cline’s first executive chef position was at Hue, a critically acclaimed restaurant in downtown Orlando. He then moved West to take over the stoves at Paladar, where he both honors traditional recipes for classic Cuban dishes such as ropa vieja and arroz con pollo while pushing the boundaries with his brand of Nuevo Cubano cooking. Cline’s menu reflects inspirations from around the globe, including dishes with strong Japanese, American and Mexican accents.
Here is Cline’s interpretation of the classic paella.
(PLEASE NOTE: Ingredient prices are estimates and based on national averages. Amounts listed are for one portion. Increase proportionately according to number of portions desired.)
Start by cooking the rice with the onion and saffron threads in a heavy pan until al dente. (Follow the instructions on the packet for cooking the rice. The word al dente is usually used when describing pasta or rice. It best describes a state of doneness where the starch offers some resistance to the tooth when bitten.) Allow the rice to cool, then reserve for later. (Saffron, an expensive, aromatic herb, can be found, or special ordered, from a specialty food market.)
Dredge the monkfish in a mixture of flour, corn flour, cumin, salt and pepper. Pan-sear the fillet in some of the olive oil, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Sauté the fish several minutes longer, until medium- to well-done. (Monkfish is a low-fat, mild, sweet flavored fish that can be substituted with lobster.) In a separate sauté pan, combine the remaining olive oil, the chorizo, garlic, clams, shrimp, mussels, red pepper, red onion, zucchini and asparagus. (A good-quality salami can be used as a substitute, if chorizo — a spicy sausage — is not available.) Cover and cook for several minutes.
Deglaze the pan with white wine. (The term deglaze is used when liquid is added to loosen cooked particles from the bottom of the sauté pan.) Next, add the reserved rice, fish stock and lemon zest. Cook until the rice is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Fish bouillon can be used to substitute fish stock, and is available at most Asian food markets.) Next, combine the juice of the lemon with a pinch of cumin and a teaspoon of pesto. (Pesto can be purchased already prepared or can be made at home. Combine equal parts basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil in a food processor; then mix until pureed.)
Arrange a large serving bowl with rice in the middle, the shellfish around the edges, and the seared monkfish on top of the rice. Garnish with a drizzle of the pesto mixture, diced tomatoes and chopped parsley.9123260604813813372810long-grain rice1cup1 cup long-grain rice ($0.45)onion0.51/2 yellow onion, diced ($0.35)saffron threads 1pinch1 small pinch saffron threads ($2.35)Water (for cooking rice)monkfish fillet4ounce4 ounces monkfish fillet ($2.75)all-purpose flour0.25cup1/4 cup all-purpose flour ($0.08)corn flour0.25cup1/4 cup corn flour ($0.12)cumin1pinch1 pinch cumin ($0.02)Salt and pepperolive oil2tablespoon2 tablespoons olive oil ($0.08)beef chorizo2ounce2 ounces beef chorizo ($0.55)littleneck clams33 littleneck clams ($1.85)garlic1teaspoon1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped ($0.11)mussels33 fresh mussels ($1.45)rock shrimp33 rock shrimp ($1.25)red peppers1tablespoon1 tablespoon red peppers, diced ($0.08)red onion1tablespoon1 tablespoon red onion, diced ($0.06)zucchini1tablespoon1 tablespoon zucchini, diced ($0.07)asparagus1tablespoon1 tablespoon asparagus, chopped ($0.11)white wine0.125cup1/8 cup white wine ($0.45)lemon 1Zest of one lemon ($0.48)fish stock2cup2 cups fish stock ($0.25)Juice of one lemontomato0.125cup1/8 cup tomato, diced ($0.08)cumin1pinch1 pinch cumin ($0.02)pesto1teaspoon1 teaspoon pesto ($0.28)parsley1pinch1 pinch parsley, chopped ($0.03)
1649 Wilcox Avenue
Hollywood, Calif., 90028
Want to find out how you can make your favorite restaurant dish at home? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.