Los Altos Hills, CA.
The French know their paella too…
We were invited to dinner at some good friends’ house this past weekend.. They are French and we always look forward to dinner at their home. They both enjoy cooking and usually both share in dinner preparations.
We started with a simple tomato and mozzarella appetizer with a splash of quality olive oil. (Tomato season is late this year due to the weather but they were able to find decent tomatoes). They asked if we would like to try a rosé to start off the evening – the french rosés are really quite nice especially in the summertime. Very light, very crisp.
The main course was a paella. We have had this dish at their home before and it is always delicious. Paella is such a personal dish – everyone has his or her own way of making it and that is what makes it such a treat to have at someone’s home. What set this evening’s dish apart I thought was the presentation. The paella was served in a traditional paella type skillet and our friend had wisely not included too many “items” in the paella, just chicken (small drumsticks), mussels and shrimp. The shrimp and mussels were attractively arranged on top of the rice and the mussels (in the shell) were standing up in the rice. The husband mentioned that he thought this was better than nesting the seafood in the rice – he thought the seafood had less chance to get overcooked this way. The wine was a keeper – a 2007 Vacqueyras Jean-Marie Arnoux - a French Rhone wine - that they had bought from our local Draeger’s grocery for about $17 a bottle. Draegers was sold out when I first went by to pick some up. They say that it is flying off the shelves. On a return trip they had restocked.
Pastry dishes are a specialty of the wife. This particular evening she prepared a simple but delicious lemon tart, made with a friend’s Meyer lemons and with the kind of pastry you don’t want to waste a bite of.
A delightful summer evening with good friends, great food and lovely wine.