I had the weekend to myself, without much testing to do. I’d sort of decided to spend Saturday slaving over a hot stove, but when I saw how sunny it was, I had a change of plan. I still wanted to cook myself something nice, but didn’t want to spend the whole day doing it.
I decided to try the paella from the Millennium book. It’s actually one of the quicker dishes from Eric Tucker’s two books, and as long as you do a bit of planning it comes together quite quickly at the end.
It’s based on a saffron rice pilaf, which I made earlier in the day. I also home smoked the tofu at the same time – and it was the best smoked tofu I have ever done. I’ll do a tutorial on what I did when I next do it and get some photos. I didn’t take any because I’ve done it loads of times and didn’t expect it to turn out so well. There was a secret part to it, which was just a happy find.
The other main flavours of the dish included arame seaweed, capers, orange zest, chile flakes, courgettes, cumin seeds and black olives. Looking at the amount of seaweed after it had soaked, I suspected it would be too overpowering, but it just provided a really gentle taste of the sea, which was perfect.
It was served with a chile tofu aoli. I’m always a touch suspicious of silken tofu where it’s standing in for mayonnaise or sour cream. This is probably a hangover from a very early vegan brush with a Sarah Kramer recipe where the tofu ended up tasting resoundingly of… tofu, and had to be thrown away. However, this was deliciously creamy, garlicky and fresh, and worked perfectly with the deep flavours of the paella.
For a really tasty dish, from a book renowned for difficult dishes, this one really didn’t take too long. You don’t need to smoke your own tofu so don’t let that put you off. You can use shop bought smoked tofu or a seitan sausage. I would highly recommend giving this a go. And look! The recipe is available on googlebooks here – no excuses!