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The first ingredient Project 365(2) Day 290 | by Keith Williamson
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The first ingredient Project 365(2) Day 290

My friend Pete wants to know how to make perfect paella. Well he has the pan and I have emailed him my own recipe.

 

What I failed to tell him was the most important ingredient which ensures success every time is a decent bottle of vino tinto.

 

Now I am no wine connoisseur and there is nothing in my wine rack that costs more than a few Euros but then you don’t actually need to pay more than that to get something quite reasonable here in Spain.

 

I like wines that are full bodied, deep purple in colour with an intense aroma. I like the warm taste of berry fruits and a long after taste in the mouth. Anything less than 12% stays on the shelf, in fact, these days I’ll only select wines 12.5% or higher (many are 13% or more).

 

My favourite at the moment is Abadía Mantrús – an oak aged wine from Ribera del Duero. At less than 3 Euros a bottle it is eminently drinkable. .

 

Pete, my advice to you is to open a bottle before you start preparing the ingredients. Trust me, by the time you have finished cooking, your paella will taste just fabulous!

 

PS Just to help Pete around these labels: cosecha means the vintage or year, crianza means it has been aged, tempranillo is a variety of black grape used in Spanish wines e.g. Rioja and Ribera del Duero, Valdepeñas is a municipality in the province of Ciudad Real but confusingly, is used as an alternative name for the tempranillo grape.

 

PPS I should point out that the wine is strictly for drinking. Don't add it to the paella because it has no place in this dish.

 

Canon 5D MkII with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.

 

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Taken on November 19, 2010