Habeeb Salloum M.S.M.
Since the Moorish age until our times, Spain has been a large producer of rice and the true home of paella.
Although identified as purely Spanish, paella’s history may have a connection with its medieval past as there is a theory that paella may have derived from the Arabic term baqiya’(leftovers). Whether of Moorish origin or strictly a creation of Spain, a combination of meats and seafood with rice and some vegetables, paella has taken the world by storm.
When the Spanish conquered the New World they brought paella with them — hence this dish in Cuba. A delicious feast dish, it is a good change from turkey and takes less time to prepare, what goes into the oven can be placed directly on the dining table.
Cuban-style paella (Serves 6)
If desired, a richer paella can be served by adding 1/2 pound of scallops with the shrimps.
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
1-lb uncooked shrimp, peeled
1-lb hard flesh fish filet cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups crushed tomatoes
6 cups cooked white rice
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a frying pan, melt the butter, add onion, garlic and green pepper and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Spoon into greased casserole and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.