We used to do most of our grocery shopping in the shops in the area, but since the ‘outbreak’ and the ‘lockdown’, it all has been really messed up, with shops packed with people but devoid of food.
Now that most of our fresh food shopping comes from erratic and unpredictable home deliveries, and is complemented with whatever we can find when we venture onto the shops once a week, we’ve had to “change our paradigm”.
Or in other words, instead of going from recipe to ingredients, we’re now going the other way: here’s the ingredients, what can you do with them?
I wanted something soothing and autumnal like a shepherd’s pie but I was also feeling quite adventurous and experimental, so I ended up with this delicious alternative, which also happens to be vegan ?
On arrival to the agroturismo, we were offered an aperitivo, with olives, crisps, bread, cheeses, and white wine from the region, produced by a nearby vineyard.
After we had either opened our appetite or obliterated it with cheese, it was time to have dinner.
This was the opening, and I really liked its simplicity: bread, rosemary, olive oil and very mature figs. The combination of sweet and salty worked really well, and the rosemary added that extra complexity of aromas for a memorable snack.
✍? Adding it to my list of “things to replicate at home” ?
Paella is a very simple dish that Valencian peasants would cook using cheap, fresh and widely available ingredients. Yet despite its innate simplicity, people repeatedly misunderstand and complicate it, causing us Valencians a great deal of stress in the process, because we know it could be so much better and yet people keep insisting on bastardising our national dish in every possible way! ?
Also if you, like me, do not live in Valencia and hence do not have access to some of the “niche” local ingredients, I will also provide acceptable replacements that follow the original spirit. I live in the UK, so my suggestions will reflect what I can find in local markets and supermarkets. If it’s not in my list, it quite probably is not acceptable, so don’t add it ?