The classic paella Valenciana – that incredibly flavorful platter of saffron-hued rice loaded with savory tidbits – has appeared on my family’s Holiday table for even longer than I can remember. The combination of rice cooked in a rich chicken broth spiked with saffron, annato, black pepper, and pimenton dulce (sweet paprika) and the mix of braised meats, fried vegetables, and olives is an unbeatable one that has never failed to dash our individual and communal resolve not to eat too much during the Christmas Season. One taste of this ambrosial heap of carbs is enough to make you swear off diets forever. Well, at least until January rolls around…
But you know, dear readers, how things are at my house: waste not, want not is the credo we follow. With that in mind, I kind of found myself racking my brains as to how to deal with the tubs of paella still sitting in the fridge. The end result: I fried it up into a tostada, of sorts. 😀
If you love that Brit classic bubble and squeak – a thick, savory, pan-fried cake of mashed leftover cabbage and root vegetables – I think making a similar thing with leftover paella would be up your alley. In my case, I lumped in a layer of cold paella into a pre-heated non-stick pan (medium-heat on your hob – and make sure it’s a non-stick pan) and scrunched it down with a spatula. The thing here is to leave it be till it forms a crust, so you leave it alone for the better part of five to eight minutes before flipping it over and leaving it alone.
The resulting tostada is deliciously crunchy on the outside, soft and savory within. Any additions like braised pork or chorizo (Mom used a particularly fiery chorizo de Pamplona this year) attain a smoky edge that makes them even more delicious. It makes quite a meal on its own, but this tostada is also great paired with fried ham (if you still have any left after the Holidays) or sausages. Dollop on some whole-grain mustard and you have a meal fit for a king. 😉