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November 4, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Rice town smackdown

How much do I love you Eaters? A lot. And here’s why:

Ty Graham took one look at yesterday’s paella post, examined the photo of Brian Williamson’s “legendary” grilled paella — prepared this summer at Brian’s home in Haller Lake — and felt culinarily obligated to say, “OK, legendary in Haller Lake, maybe.” Ty says he regularly makes paella on Lopez Island, mostly at the state park, though he’s not above dishing it up from his Weber grill at home here in Madrona. “We use big pans on hot fires. It’s pretty macho. If we could buy Spanish cigarette ash at The Spanish Table, we’d sprinkle some of that on,” he joked. (I think.) In true smackdown fashion, he opines, “For the good stuff, you need a large pan, bomba, Spanish smoked paprika and a wood fire. Forks are prissy!” Then he proves his point by sending along these lipsmacking lovelies:

“The main secret is to avoid getting the ingredients piled too high. Pick only four or five ingredients,” Ty says, noting that you need the heat and the thin layer of ingredients to get the right crust ratio. He also notes the importance of a pair of gloves — handy when turning ingredients to distribute the heat. And he rightly suggests we might want to have a look at this Mark Bittman video for inspiration. Yo, Ty. Here are my grill-ready “sanitary gloves.” What do you think? Too short?

Ty and his wife, Missy Chow, are busy working the polls today, but Missy wasn’t too busy to email this morning and explain that when it comes to doing paella right, it’s all about “soccarat, smoke & salt” (though she said sun, sand, sea and lots of garlic don’t hurt either.) “We keep our paella lean and mean over the wood fire at the beach on Lopez Island, to achieve the gorgeous soccarat rice crust on the bottom,” Missy wrote, echoing her husband’s email directives. “We serve paella as a communal dish, with everyone using wooden spoons, while seated or standing around the pan. Food = Love = Community.”

Missy says they use “in-season ingredients like chard and romano beans and Dungeness crab (caught from our kayak) or clams dug from the beach.” OK you two: you win the Northwest Paella Fanatic Award, OK? Her favorite winter paella is laden with pork and garbanzo beans, but she insists “there are no wrong ingredients” — and I won’t argue. How serious are they about their paella? Get this: “We’re planning on hosting a celebratory paella party for today’s elections,” Missy wrote, “but didn’t want to appear too confident or premature (nervous Democrats that we are).”

If they do fire up their paella pan in Madrona tonight, she promised to send more photos, then signed off by saying, “Don’t forget to VOTE!” As if!

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