2018 Pre-Testing - Catalonian Rice with Caramelized Onions

rice with caramelized onion

Pre-Season testing is an opportunity for teams to properly get out on track and assess reliability and performance of their updated cars. It is also a chance for teams to show off all the new liveries, rookie drivers get to head out on track for the first time, and fans get to see their favorite teams and drivers back in action. 

This year in the first week of testing it was bitterly cold, and... it snowed. F1 cars do not do snow. Teams quickly adapted and built snowmen, messed around on social media, and prepared for week two. 

Too bad they weren't here with me, because these dishes would warm anyone's bones. Both of Catalonian origin, the rice dish is emblematic of a common Catalonian cooking style where they freely mix meat and seafood, apparently this even has a name: mar y montaña (sea and mountain). And the greens were a perfect complement, though an "everyday first course" they added a special element to the meal. Followed up by a Vermouth Cocktail, this was a great foil to any poor weather. 

arroz con cebolla


All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea

½ pound Manila or small littleneck clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ cup olive oil
½ small chicken, about 1 ½ pounds, cut into large bite size pieces with skin on
2 yellow onions, grated (I highly recommend you do this in a food processor with a garter attachment - to save your cryin' eyes!)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup sweet vermouth
1½  cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
4 cups Fish Stock
2 tomatoes, halved crosswise, grated on the large holes of a handheld grater,skins discarded
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón or paprika
Pinch of saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
¼ pound squid, about 7 inches long, cleaned and with bodies cut into rings and tentacles halved if large
2 cups Spanish rice
½ pound medium shrimp 

1. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells.

2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, vermouth, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated (can take up to 30 minutes). Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are caramelized.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer.

5. When the onions are ready, add the tomatoes, pimentón (paprika), and saffron to the pan and mix well. Add the squid, decrease the heat to medium, and stir briefly to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a large (about 15-inch) cazuela (I'm planning to use a dutch oven), place over high heat, add the chicken pieces and rice, and stir to combine. Pour in the hot stock and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.

6. Drain the clams. Place the clams and the shrimp on top of the rice, and place the cazuela (dutch oven) in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. After 15-20 minutes the liquid will be absorbed, the rice will be tender, the clams will have opened, and the shrimp will turn pink.

7. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Discard any clams that failed to open and serve.


swiss chard


2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 pounds Swiss chard (2-3 bunches), stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (or almost any nut or seed, I used pepitas)
¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water to cover for 1 hour to soften, and drained

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and Swiss chard, cover, and cook at a high simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the chard in a colander, pressing on it firmly to remove any excess liquid.

2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the pine nuts, stir well, add the Swiss chard and raisins, mix well. Cook briefly, stirring, until all ingredients are heated through.

3. Serve immediately, or remove from heat, set aside, and reheat when ready to eat.