Paella is a traditional rice-based dish that is cooked with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, seafood, meats, and spices. The dish is believed to have originated in Valencia, Spain, in the mid-19th century, but the exact origin is still up for some debate.
Dating back to its origins, paella was made with a few simple ingredients, consisting of rice, vegetables, and snails. Over time, the ingredients used in paella have become more elaborate and tasty, with Spain's varied cuisine producing some wonderful regional paella variations.
Cooking paella is traditionally done in a large, shallow pan aptly named a paellera (it even has its own emoji 🥘). The pan is heated over an open fire, and the ingredients are added in layers. The rice is cooked first, followed by the vegetables, meats, and seafood (though cooking styles and order of ingredients can differ as you will see in our wonderful video). The dish is then cooked until the rice is tender and the flavors have blended together.
Over the years, Paella has become synonymous with Spanish cuisine and thus a popular dish around the world, and it is often served at special occasions and celebrations. In a nod to the back yard barbeque, paella barbecue grills have become a popular option for summertime gatherings (just replace the burgers and beer with paella and sangria).
Some of the most popular variations include paella Valenciana, which is made with chicken, rabbit, and snails; paella de marisco, which is made with seafood; and paella mixta, which is made with a combination of meats and seafood. Vegan paella has become more common, with local seasonal vegetables and tofu offering a great alternative to seafood.
One constant for all paella varieties is the use of saffron. With It's unique flavor profile, saffron is a must have ingredient.
Paella is a delicious and versatile dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a great way to bring friends and family together for a hearty meal, and it is sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Try this authentic family paella recipe:
- Heat oil in a large skillet (or paellera) over medium-high.
- Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add shrimp (in shell to preserve flavor) and little neck clams (you can also add scallops, calamari…); cook for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in rice (1/2 cup per person; spread in an even layer. Cook, for about 3 minutes.
- Add 5-6 ounces of tomato sauce and stir. Reduce heat to medium.
- Stir in your favorite fish stock (2 cups per 1 cup of rice), salt, 5-6 saffron threads, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and black pepper.
- Cook, without stirring. Before liquid evaporates, add the juice of one lemon.
- Decorate with sweet red peppers and lemon wedges.
- Serve immediately.
1. "History of Paella." Paella World, www.paellaworld.com/history-
2. "Paella: A Brief History." The Paella Company, www.thepaellacompany.co.uk/
3. "Paella: A History of Spain's Most Famous Dish." The Culture Trip, theculturetrip.com/europe/
spain/articles/a-history-of-. spains-most-famous-dish- paella/