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The Nehalem Experience (Part 3)—Paella! Friday, April 25, 2008

Pierce and Kate sautee onions and tomatoes for Saturday night's paella.

The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly Saturday night's paella feed. As they do every year, Pierce Henley and Kate Mitchoff cooked up a huge amount of rice, shrimp, scallops, crab legs, vegetables and—new for 2008—chicken and sausage, into a gargantuan feast for everybody. There were about 24 of us at the table, but food enough for 50!

[right] Pierce demonstrates how not to add the rice.

With the precision, coordination, and urgency of a cardio-thoracic surgical team—and a little help from a couple of sous-chefs—Pierce and Kate sauteed, steamed, boiled and baked the concoction to perfection in a pair of garbage can-sized paella pans. The heat was provided by a pair of Pierce's homemade grills.

[right] The chef tests his product. [below] Pierce and Kate check for "socarrat," the caramelization of the bottom layer of rice that is indicative of a perfectly cooked paella.

[left] Monique pulls steaming crab legs out of the pot. [below] Kate and Pierce show off the final product (the crab was added to each plate).

Sorry, no pictures of the crowd enjoying the results—my hands were full of crab!