Summer seafood paella Seattle’s glorious summer has finally arrived!    It’s too warm to cook indoors, so grab a paella burner (sold at Paris-Madrid Grocery if you don’t have one) and cook paella in the backyard, or at a nearby park. There are dozens of Seattle summer festivals happening in the next few weeks including the Torchlight Parade and Hydroplane races (check this schedule), not to mention family reunions, weddings, and backyard parties.  Paella made on a ringed burner is a wonderful and tasty dish to serve at outdoor events.  Simply prep ingredients in advance and it’s very easy to put together!  See below for a divine seafood paella recipe which I made last weekend for a group of friends. Serve it with a white Albariño such as Pazo Senorans ($19.99) or a red Rioja such as El Coto Reserva ($20.99).

Nicoise olivesNicoise olives:   We now carry unpasteurized Nicoise olives in our grab and go refrigerator case.  The jarred options were expensive, so we tracked down a French producer who sells them in bulk.  The unpasteurized olives have more flavor than those sold in a jar and are an essential ingredient in Salade Nicoise.  To make this exceptional dish, pick up flavorful tomatoes and green beans now in season, boil the beans with potatoes and toss everything with canned Spanish tuna in olive oil and Nicoise olives.  Simple and delicious, this is one of my favorite summer dishes.

Wine Discoveries worth checking out:
Miraval roseChateau Miraval Rosé 2018
, Cotes du Provence   Sold in a distinctively shaped bottle, a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle, it is a selection of the best parcels on the estate.  Winemaker Marc Perrin is no slouch – his family owns the esteemed Beaucastel estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  Miraval rosé is a juicy and bright rosé, with aromas of fresh fruit and spring flowers.  Airy, delicate and complex it offers up mineral notes and a persistent, lingering finish.   One of the best rosés from southern France!

Tajinaste BlancoTajinaste Blanco Seco 2017, Tenerife Canary Islands ($21.99)  90% Listan Blanco and 10% Albillo, with 20% aged for 2-3 months in neutral oak barrels.   The vines grow in volcanic soils, on steeply terraced hillsides on their own pre-phylloxera rootstocks.  The soils and terruyño give a fantastic texture to this dry wine, which reflects citrus notes laden with minerality.  Rich on the palate, it offers up a pebbly texture with pleasing weight.  This is an excellent wine to serve with seafood paella.

Plan Pegau NVDomaine du Pégau NV Plan Pégau, Rhone ($23.99)  How often does one see a non-vintage wine in this day and age?  Yet it was the tradition to blend multiple harvests back in the day, and in fact, Spain’s distinguished Bodegas Vega Sicilia’s Reserva Especial is a non-vintage wine. Plan Pégau is the non-vintage wine of top-tier Domaine du Pégau in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  The current release is a blend of three stellar harvests:  2014, 2015 and 2016.  A kitchen-sink mix of 30% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Merlot, and the 20% balance a mix of old-vines Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Danlas, Alicante and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Rich and meaty, it offers up ripe fruit with feminine elegance.  Lifted and bright, it delivers nuanced layers of fruit, spice and great balance.  It’s a true “little brother” to Domaine du Pégau Cuveé Réservée Châteauneuf-du-Pape, at a fraction of the price.   Serve this with anything off the grill.

Felip Uribe vineyards, Andes Plateau winery
Mark your calendars for these upcoming in-store tastings:

Saturday, July 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Taste natural wines of Chile
Saturday, August 3 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  Taste Albariños and red wines from Galicia
Saturday, August 17 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Taste olive oils, honey and wine with John Cancilla of Bodega y Almazara Marqués de Valdueza

Seafood paella July

Prawn, Mussel, Halibut & Garbanzo Bean Paella
Serves 12

½ cup                    Spanish Olive Oil
1 lb                        Halibut or other white fish cut into one-inch pieces
2 teaspoons      Garlic chopped
One                     medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 jar                 Matiz Sofrito
1/2 cup               Manzanilla sherry
11-12 cups        Clam Juice or Aneto Fish broth
½ gram                 Spanish Saffron
1 teaspoon         Spanish smoked paprika
14 oz                    Cooked Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar                     Ferrer Piquillo peppers, chopped
8 oz                     Palacios chorizo, sliced
4 cups                 Bomba Valencian Rice
1 1/2 lbs             Prawns
3 lbs                    Fresh  Mussels
2 cups                 Fresh green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
Chopped parsley to taste

Heat the sherry to a simmer and add saffron.  Remove from heat and let the saffron steep for 10 minutes.
Heat olive oil in 24 inch (19 serving) paella pan.
Add garlic and onions, sauté until soft, then add the halibut.  Cook until fish turns white.
Add sofrito, paprika, piquillo peppers, chorizo, and garbanzo beans.  Cook until warmed through.
Add 10 cups* of the clam juice and the sherry-saffron mixture and bring to a boil.
Add rice and return to a low boil.
Add the green beans and mussels
Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the prawns.  Continue to simmer until the rice is cooked, about 10 additional minutes.
*(The seafood will probably release enough liquid while cooking that the pan will not go dry before the rice is cooked but if they don’t, add more broth).
When the rice is done, top with foil, turn off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with parsley and serve.