Summer Entertaining: Seafood Paella by Annie Campbell
Yesterday we showed you the colorful décor from Annie Campbell’s festive summer dinner party, which means we’re onto the best part: the menu. The basis of the meal (and inspiration for the party, really) was the delicious seafood paella Annie and her husband Greg Murnion, served as the main course. Annie and Greg started sourcing ingredients for the paella a week in advance, making sure they had the right Spanish Calasparra rice and fresh shrimp, mussels, and clams on order for pick-up the day of the party.
Actually cooking the paella is a process that takes several hours, but that’s sort of the fun of it. As guests arrived, everyone gathered around the grill to watch Greg cook, while drinking grilled peach tequila Negronis and snacking on charred Padron peppers, wild fruits, and cheese. There’s a reason why people gravitate towards the kitchen during gatherings; there’s something gratifying and fun about taking part in the preparation of a meal, even if you’re only an observer.
The great thing about cooking a big, family-style main course like paella is that you don’t need very much else. Annie served a market lettuce salad on the side. A bit of green is always a nice complement to any plate. Because the dinner was savory and filling, dessert was sweet and simple. Annie put together peaches with fresh cream, and strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar. It might sound a little odd, but the flavors come together to form the perfect bite. XXJKE
Photos: Skip Hopkins