Step away from the pumpkin spice latte! Yes, our days are getting noticeably shorter and Labor Day is but a memory, but this is when it gets GOOD in Michigan. No other time of the year will gift us with this much fresh local produce. Stores and Farmer’s markets are overflowing with the best of summer – sweet corn, blackberries, green beans, real vine ripened tomatoes… this is what we dream about in the dregs of February! Let’s make the most of it! Let’s start with this…..
Heirloom Tomato Paella
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, like Black Star Farms Dry Riesling
- 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Large pinch saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 cups Bomba or Arborio rice
- Minced fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat broth in a saucepan on stovetop and keep warm until ready to use. Meanwhile, put tomato wedges into a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gently toss to coat. Set aside.
Put remaining oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron and smoked paprika. Cook for a minute or two more, then add the rice. Stir occasionally until it is well coated with the onions and spices and the grains of rice begin to look shiny and translucent. Add wine and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, then add the hot broth and stir until just combined.
Arrange the tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 20-25 minutes. The rice is done when the broth has been absorbed and the rice is just tender. Turn off oven and let sit for 5 to 15 minutes.
The best part — remove pan from oven and put over high heat on the stovetop for a few minutes to develop a beautiful, golden, crispy bottom crust. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Tenille Enger is an amateur cook and gardener with a passion for moments when the two intersect. She is an active contributor to Taste the Local Difference® in both digital works and in print. You can contact her at [email protected].