Paella, ole!


With Spanish memories of food and wine (and sun) still lingering in my mind, we decided last Saturday to cook seafood paella. And open a bottle of Spanish wine.Paella originated in Valencia, and got its name from the ‘la paella – the pan’ used for cooking rice and sea food. Being the favorite (and cheapest) food of the Valencians, this rice dish became known to the rest of Spain, and the name eventually evolved in the 19th century to define the dish as well.

I consider paella a party dish. Easy to cook (although a little time consuming), it can cover the main course for 6 people. We had a smaller version of the usual sea food paella, nevertheless delicious, and very filling.

Cooking paella, you would ideally use Mediterranean rice (cooked in chicken stock). However plain rice works just as fine. The other ingredients needed are: shellfish (sea food), and lots of varied ones, as this gives the flavor to the dish: jumbo prawns, clams, mussels, whitefish. Then some chicken; and for spice chorizo. I personally add some chilies as well, but then again I eat wasabi spread on bread! Vegetables for the flavor and the color: red and green peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic. And the piece de resistance: a little bit of saffron, for the deep yellow color it gives to the rice.

All this cooked and mixed together make for a very hearty and tasty paella, which no friend will say no to. Add to it some tapas as entreé and a nice red Spanish wine, and the fiesta is on its way. Ole!

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