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Secret Recipe: Gitane's Paella

Photo courtesy of Gitane

Photo courtesy of Gitane

7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you can't stop thinking about and want to make at home, email schuyler@7x7.com. Your wish may end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.

Chefs Bridget Batson and Patrick Kelly of Gitane launched Secreto Mondays in early March, essentially dedicating a night to some of their most well-loved dishes (like the lamb tartare) and soon-to-be favorites only available on everyone’s favorite weekday. The Gitane Paella—a combination of Spanish rice, roasted head-on prawns, calamari, and green garlic salsa verde—is both hearty and bright, particularly with the rosé and sherry flights also available with the special menu. Looks like it’s about time to get a case of the Mondays.

Paella Gitane

Serves 2

For the picada verde:

1 large garlic clove

1 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

For the sofrito:

Splash of olive oil

1 cup onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 cup mixed green and red bell peppers, thinly sliced 

2 cups tomato, roughly chopped

5 sprigs each parsley, thyme, and oregano

1 teaspoon pimenton

salt and pepper

For the rice:

splash of olive oil

1 cup onion, small dice

1 1/2 cups Valencia rice (Bomba brand is preferred)

1 pinch saffron

1 1/2 cups sofrito

1 cup fennel, small dice

1 cup spring onion, sliced thinly

1 cup fennel fronds

1/4 cup pimenton

1 1/2 cups water or stock (if preferred)

salt and pepper

4 large prawns, head on, peeled, cleaned

8 ounces calamari, whole tentacles and bodies cut into 1/2-inch strips

Splash of olive oil

salt and pepper

For the picada verde:

1.      With a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic with a pinch of salt until it forms a smooth paste.
2.      Add in the parsley and work it until well combined.
3.      Add the olive oil and season.

For the sofrito:

1.      In a small pot, combine all of the ingredients, season, and bring to a boil.
2.      Reduce the heat to low and let slowly cook until almost dry and caramelized. 
3.      Pass through a medium size food mill.

Chef’s note: The beauty of sofrito sauce is that you can take any of your over-ripe produce you’ve been meaning to use and make a great sauce. We’ve used carrots, zucchini, celery and all kinds of peppers. The slow cooking and caramelizing is key. You can also substitute canned tomatoes.

For the rice:

1.      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.      In a 10-inch paella pan, slowly sweat the onions and fennel in olive oil for 3 minutes or until tender.
3.      Add the rice, sofrito, saffron, spring onions, fennel fronds, chorizo, and pimenton.
4.      Finish with the water: stir until well combined.
5.      Place the pan in the oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender, the liquid has been absorbed, and a crust begins to form at the bottom of the pan.
6.      When your rice is almost finished, season the prawns and calamari.
7.      Place the prawns on top and put back in the oven for 5 minutes. They should be slightly undercooked.
8.      Scatter the calamari rings and tentacles over the top and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the prawns and calamaris are cooked through.

9.      Finish with the picada verde and a squeeze of lemon.