Flowering, and a very busy time in the vineyard. As anyone who's driven past a local vineyard can tell you, it's all about growth right now; bright green fingers of vine reaching for the blue sky. And flowering. The proper care of flowering vines means getting the most out of any vintage. All across the grape-growing parts of our region, the steady hum of tractors can be heard.
During a stroll through the supermarket, I came across some fresh New Zealand crab, and thought a paella might be the perfect meal for someone who's been busy on tractor all day. Some onion and garlic sweated gently in oil, before the crab was added and cooked until it went the tell-tale red. Then some Spade Oak Albariño, before adding hot and sweet paprika, some chilli, a handful of calasparra rice, stock, and some saffron that had been left to soak in warm water while everything else was going on. Three stems of young rosemary laid on top and then left to cook gently until the rice was done, about thirty minutes, shaking the pan every now and then to stop it from sticking. (Always shake paella; never stir it!)
Served with a salad straight from our garden and the rest of the Albariño. A sublime way to end a busy day. And if you can't find crab, or don't like it, relax; paella works just as well with chicken and chorizo, squid or anything else you like.
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