We couldn’t think of a more fitting meal than paella for this edition of our yearly Food Issue.
Paella, Spain’s most famous dish, is made with regional ingredients. The versions are endless. On the upper Texas Coast, paella calls for freshly caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp, as opposed to clams or lobster.
My introduction to the saffron-laced dish was two decades ago in a small café just outside Seville, after touring the ruins of the Roman city of Italica. After a dusty day of sightseeing, I ordered paella made with chicken and washed it down with a cold bottle of Coca-Cola. It ranked among the best meals of my life — until a few years ago, when I tried a version made with Gulf seafood.
Food stylist Alicia Cahill added some chicken and chorizo to the paella gracing the cover, giving some Tex-Mex flair to what’s globally accepted as the perfect one-dish dinner.
Versatility and adaptation were big themes in this issue, which celebrates our diverse dining scene and the many ways different cultures use local seafood in their traditional dishes, which range from a Brazilian food called caruru to a Vietnamese shrimp bánh mì.
What’s also extraordinary about the Texas Gulf Coast is the caliber of chefs living on our shores. In this issue, we feature two celebrity chefs — Mary Bass and Nancy Manlove — who have found fame on reality TV cooking shows and who share their talents and their insights about food in this issue.
We hope you enjoy this edition, packed with recipes and people who make good food.
Coast Monthly would like to thank Maureen McCutchen for the use of her beautiful Galveston home for this month’s photo shoot of the paella gracing the cover. McCutchen’s home on Lake Madeline offered the perfect setting and stunning views.
We’d also like to thank our food stylist, Alicia Cahill, for making a gorgeous paella for the cover.
Also, we extend our sincerest gratitude to Tommy Tipton of Lauderdale Yacht Sales in League City for generously making the stunning yacht Time Out available for our Gourmet Galley feature. Visit www.lauderdaleyachtsales.com for information.