- 3cups vegetable stock
- 1/2tsp saffron threads
- 2bay leaves
- 8-10fresh asparagus spears
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1medium onion, chopped
- 4garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2fennel bulb, sliced and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1cup vermouth or dry white wine
- 3/4cup peeled fresh or frozen fava beans (thawed if frozen)
- 3/4cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
- 1cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2fire-roasted piquillo peppers, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 8artichoke hearts, stems trimmed so they sit flat
- 3/4cup canned or fresh chopped tomatoes
- 2cups Bomba paella rice
- 1tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2preserved lemons, seeds removed and finely chopped or juice of one fresh lemon
- 1tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tbsp dried
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olives stuffed with lemon peel or olives of your choice, for garnish
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Alioli garlic sauce, for serving
Put the saffron, bay leaves and vegetable stock in a saucepan over a low heat, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and set aside.
Slice off woody ends of asparagus, then cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces. In a 13-inch paella pan, add 1 cup of water and boil asparagus over high heat for 1-2 minutes or until bright green. Strain asparagus and run under very cold water to stop the cooking.
Wipe and dry the paella pan and add the olive oil. Sauté onion, fennel and garlic over medium heat until onion and fennel are soft. Add the rosemary, vermouth or wine and simmer for one minute.
Add the cannellini beans, piquillo peppers, rice, paprika, tomatoes, asparagus, preserved lemons or lemon juice and vegetable stock. Mix well and season to taste. Arrange artichokes around the pan, tucking them into the rice a bit. Leave to simmer vigorously for 6 minutes, then scatter over the peas and fava beans. Lower the heat and simmer gently for another 15 minutes. It is important to not stir the rice at this point. At the end of cooking, all the liquid should have been absorbed and the rice should be just tender. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a large sheet of foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Remove foil, garnish with a dash of smoked paprika, olives and the chopped parsley leaves.