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Daring Cooks: Rice with Seafood and Vegetables

Rice with mushrooms, shrimp and asparagus
Rice with mushrooms, shrimp and asparagus

The Challenge:    Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by Jose’ Andres

The scoop from our hostess Olga from Las Cosasde Olga and Olga’s Recipes:  Hi all, this is Olga and I’m pleased to be your host at August Daring Cooks Challenge. I’ve chosen a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

He trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his three Michelin star restaurant El Bulli. José Andrés lives now in Washington DC and he owns several restaurants in Washington DC area (El Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel…).

The recipe I bring you is from his US TV show Made in Spain. I hope you enjoy it.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
  • 1 Saucepan
  • Ingredients (serves 4):

    • 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)   (I used asparagus.)
    • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)   (My choice was baby bellas.)
    • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
    • 1 glass of white wine  (I used about 1/2 cup.)
    • 2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)   (Used 1 pound of raw shrimp.)
    • “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
    • 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.    (Like many other Daring Cooks I used sushi rice.)
    • Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)   (I made stock from Salmon Heads.)
    • Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)   (I used about $6.00 worth of saffron threads !!!)
    • Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) – optional


  • Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
  • Cut artichokes in eights.   (I used asparagus.)
  • Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  • Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
    Olive oil, shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms and bay leaf

    Olive oil, shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms and bay leaf

    The wine, fish stock, sofreigt, rice and saffron have been added.

    The wine, fish stock, sofregit, rice and saffron have been added.

  • Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
  • Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.  (In the video of Jose Andres, it looks like he pours himself a glass of wine … so I did too.)
  • Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.   ( In the video of Jose’ Andres, it looks like he used much more … so I did too.)
  • Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.  (I used my homemade fish stock.)
  • Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
  • Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. (I don’t know how else to tell you the amount I used except to say it was about $6.00 worth!  I bought .04 ounce of Spain, Coupe Grade Saffron for $8.49.  It came in a little “baggie” …  felt like I was making an illegal spice deal!)  Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
  • Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.
  • SOFREGIT – Preparation
    Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times include different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

    Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)   (I chose not to use.)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Touch of ground cumin
  • Touch of dried oregano
  • Directions:  Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.  (In the video it looked like the sofregit was cooked to a thick paste that was a reddish brown color.)  Taste and salt if necessary.

    Letting the onions carmelize slowly with the red and green peppers.

    Letting the onions caramelize slowly with the red and green peppers.

    Sofregit - cooking down to a thick consistency and reddish-brown color

    Sofregit - cooking down to a thick consistency and reddish-brown color

    FISH STOCK – preparation
    Olive Oil
    2  Fresh Salmon Heads  (I got mine from Whole Foods at no charge.  The butcher had just prepared their salmon for display and had salmon heads.)
    2  Shallots, sliced
    Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
    Lightly fry the salmon heads in the olive oil.  (This is the first time I have ever had something staring back at me from the stock pot!)  Add about about 5 and 1/2 cups of water, sliced shallots and parsley and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes (too much longer and the stock can take on a strong bitter taste).   Strain thru a fine mesh seive to catch any solids.  I then strained the stock  thru a couple layers of cheesecloth.  (Thanks Audax for the stock making tips!)   Makes about 5 cups of stock.   NOTE:  I was hesitant to add too many other ingredients to the stock pot.  I did not know how well they would mix with the strong flavors in the sofregit.  Next time I will add more ingredients to the stock to promote a  more concentrated flavor.
    Salmon heads, shallots and italion flat leaf parsley for stock.

    Salmon heads, shallots and Italian flat leaf parsley for stock.

     Allioli (Traditional recipe)
    Cooking time: 20 min aprox.  (Took me closer to 30 minutes.)

    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
    • Pinch of salt
    • Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
    • Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)  (Used just over 1 cup of olive oil.)


    1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
    2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
    3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.

      Ready to make traditional allioli.

      Ready to make traditional allioli.

    4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
    5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
    6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes  (took me longer)  of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce. 
      Will it ever thicken up?   Well ... yes it did!

      Will it ever thicken up? Well ... yes it did!

      José’s tips for traditional recipe: It’s hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don’t give up. It’s worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you’re adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.   (I even resorted to the “Dorothy from Kansas” move of closing my eyes, clicking my heels together three times while chanting “thick creamy sauce”… “thick creamy sauce” … “thick creamy sauce”.    I am happy to let you know that magic not only happened  for Dorothy and her ruby red slippers … but for me and my white Sketcher tennies!)

       Thank you Olga for such an exciting Daring Cooks challenge.  


      Daring Cooks August 2009 Challenge ... COMPLETE!

      Daring Cooks August 2009 Challenge ... COMPLETE!


    3 Responses

    1. NEVER thought I’d say this, but those fish heads are beautiful!

    2. Wow I wish I got that much traffic congrats you are popular I think I only get about 650 a week. Thanks for the link to my site. Girl you got this challenge nailed superb notes I love your red notes. And that first photo is so professional and the white allioli is bravo bravo and bravo. And yes the fish stock recipe I did in the forum was for this dish especially i.e. without any veggies or herbs since we have them already from other parts of the recipe. Yes in a normal fish stock you should add some herbs and veggies etc glad to hear that your stock worked out so well. Your photos are excellent and it sounds like you LOVED this dish. I know what you mean about the price of saffron I got some class 1 Iranian stuff in a glass pill box at the spice shop 1 gram at $50 it was in a strong room and I had to ask to go in and look at it and the owner went in with me and yes it felt like a drug deal I have to admit it was much better than the other stuff I can buy in Australia!!! Saffron cost about $50,000 a kilo it is the most expensive food stuff on the planet. Congrats on many fronts. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

    3. Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Gorgeous photos of your dish….and great job making your own fish stock! I opted for the easy route on that one. Looks like you used a healthy amount of protein (the shrimp) for your dish too – which is awesome. Great idea to substitute the asparagus for the artichokes too! See you next month!

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