From the Costa Blanca to your table: try this different paella recipe at home

 

Spanish cuisine is certainly a wonderful mélange of flavours and it is not hard to see why. Through the years, Spain has received the visit of endless cultures which undoubtedly influenced their gastronomy. 

Spanish love for olive oil and pasta has its roots in Greece and Italy. From the Moors, they inherited rice and several spices and herbs. In addition, every region contributed with their own cooking techniques and ingredients. But even with such a diverse background, there is one dish in particular which is internationally recognized as the most famous Spanish meal: paella.

Paella: the flagship of Spanish cuisine

There seems to be some debate as regards the exact ingredients used and the steps to follow when making paella. Even though this field is not free from debate, there are three key items that must be present: rice, tomato and saffron. 

Depending on which part of the country you are, the availability of ingredients varies so you may find two main versions of this dish. The traditional Valencian paella with chicken and rabbit since it is more rural oriented, but closer to the country shores restaurants typically offer seafood paella. A third version would be the mixed one, which includes two or three types of meat, but this is not as popular. 

If you want to know more about Spanish paella, visit https://mahatmarice.com/recipes/authentic-spanish-paella-seafood/

A dish with a taste of the sea

Spain is also well-known because of its extraordinarily diverse landscapes. From amazing beaches to deep woods, each region offers something different. Among all these incredible places, there is Costa Blanca, located on the southeastern coast, which receives its name from its light sandy beaches. With more than 150 miles of amazing beaches and surrounded by a perfect mix between charming old towns and nature, their inhabitants created their own version of paella: arròs del senyoret, which literally means “gentleman’s rice”. Legend has it that a gentleman ordered paella at a restaurant and made a special request: he didn’t want to get his fingers dirty while eating. So the chef came up with a solution, he decided to use seafood that was already de-shelled and peeled. Whatever its origins are, there is no denying that this is an absolutely mouth-watering Spanish gem. Before starting with the cooking process, it is a good idea to purchase a risotto wooden spoon. These utensils have a hole in the middle which prevents the rice grains from breaking when stirring. Give it a try!

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 4 garlic cloves.
  • 1 large yellow onion.
  • 1 large ripe tomato.
  • 150 gr shrimp.
  • 150 gr squid strips.
  • 250 gr round rice.
  • 4 cups fish broth.
  • 1 tbsp saffron threads.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Preparation:

  1. Finely dice the onion and the garlic cloves.
  2. In a paella pan or a large-sized pan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Sauté the onion until it is transparent and then add the garlic cloves. Fry for a few minutes.
  3. Dice the tomato and incorporate it to the pan together with the smoked paprika and the saffron threads. Add the squid rings too. Season to taste and mix everything thoroughly.
  4. Pour two cups of fish broth and add the rice. Set the heat to medium, add the shrimps and let cook for 7 minutes. At this stage, instead of stirring it’s better to shake the pan occasionally. 
  5. Set heat to low and let it simmer for another 7 minutes. Try the rice, if it is ready, turn it off, put the lid on and let sit for a few minutes. 
  6. Serve with fresh parsley or any fresh herb you like on top.

 

One of the tastiest bits of every paella is socarrat, which is the caramelized rice at the bottom. Before the cooking time finishes, make sure that you bring the heat to high and let cook for 2 minutes without shaking or stirring. This will ensure an amazing socarrat.

If you have any leftovers and you don’t plan on eating them within 2 days, you can put them into airtight containers and freeze them for up to 2 months. To defrost paella, just leave in the fridge the day before eating it and reheat in the microwave for 3-5 minutes.

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