Everybody wants a seat at Martha Stewart’s table.
This Saturday the domestic maven is serving up her paella recipe for a group of nearly 100 Hetrick-Martin Institute supporters at the East Hampton home of James and Lisa Cohen.
For the third consecutive year, the charitable couple will host HMI’s annual “School’s Out” cocktail benefit and has added an intimate dinner to the evening’s festivities with the help of Stewart and her former private chef, Pierre Schaedelin, now of PS Tailored Events.
“For me it’s just as easy to cook for 100 as it is 10 — sometimes it’s even easier,” explained Stewart, who lives near the Cohens’ Hamptons estate. “It’s very fun and theatrical to watch a paella cooked outdoors. If all of your ingredients are ready you can cook the whole thing in less than 25 minutes.”
Proceeds from the event will go directly to HMI, which is the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ youth service organization. “I work in the artistic field and my community is full of people who belong to that group,” adds Stewart. “It’s extremely important to offer them support, recognition and the ability to work in an angst-free environment.”
For Lisa Cohen, a board member of HMI, involving Stewart with the event was an easy and natural fit. “Who else knows more about the art of food, dining and entertaining than Martha,” offered the Galerie Magazine founder. “It’s great that every year we can bring on more ambassadors to raise even more awareness.”
Guests Saturday will be treated to a selection of vegetarian, seafood or meat and chicken mixes of the traditional Spanish dish that Stewart asserts is always properly finished with saffron and cognac and cooked with “flames coming up the sides of the pan.”
The charitable evening will be capped by a luxury cognac tasting, which will be paired with Italian biscotti from broadcaster Rosanna Scotto’s family recipe book. Individual tickets to the cocktail portion of the evening start at $375 with the opportunity to taste Stewart’s paella feast going for $1,500.
For those not in East Hampton this weekend, try Stewart’s paella recipe at home and visit marthastewart.com for more summer entertaining ideas.
To make this paella you will need a 28-inch paella pan. The amount of stock you need will vary depending on whether you cook the paella on a stove or over a fire.
INGREDIENTS (note that seafood choices can be altered to taste)
6 lobsters (1 1/4 pound each)
4 whole chickens, each cut into 10 pieces
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons paprika
6 tablespoons coarse salt
4 pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 pounds chorizo, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups diced onion (1 large onion)
1 cup minced garlic
4 pounds squid, cleaned and cut into 1-inch rings and tentacle sections
4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 pounds (about 3 dozen) sea scallops, muscles trimmed
6 green bell peppers (about 4 1/2 pounds), seeded and ribs removed, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups fresh peas
4 cups peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped tomatoes, (about 3 pounds)
3 dozen small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
10 to 12 cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned
10 cups long-grain rice (4 pounds)
2 cups cognac
2 tablespoons Spanish saffron threads
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Coat chicken with 1/2 cup oil, paprika, and 2 tablespoons salt; let sit for 2 hours. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook lobsters for 4 minutes, and drain. When cool enough to handle, remove tails from shells, and cut into bite-size pieces. Cut claws in half, leaving meat in shells. Discard bodies, or save for use in a seafood stock.
2. In a 28-inch paella pan, heat remaining cup olive oil over four burners set on medium heat, or over a hardwood fire (place grid 3 inches from fire). Cook chicken in the oil, turning occasionally until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
3. Add pork to pan with chicken, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt, and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chorizo, and cook for 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook for 3 minutes more. Add squid, stir to combine, and cook 1 minute.
4. Add lobster, shrimp, scallops, green peppers, and asparagus, and saute for 5 to 7 minutes; add peas, tomatoes, mussels, and 4 cups chicken stock. Cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle rice evenly over the whole pan, and stir until combined. Add 4 cups stock and 1 cup brandy. With a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, combine saffron with remaining 3 tablespoons salt. Transfer to a small bowl, and combine with 1 cup stock and remaining 1 cup brandy. Pour over rice. Season with ground pepper.
5. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. If liquid is absorbed before rice is al dente, continue adding remaining stock 1 cup at a time. Stir in lemon juice, and serve.