Though its origin is quite unsophisticated, paella has become a quintessentially Spanish dish that some of the finest cooks work to perfect. It began as a simple recipe that farmers would pull together with any ingredients that were on hand, traditionally rice, onions, tomatoes, snails and beans. It was cooked over an open wood fire and eaten right out of the pan rather than on individual plates. The word paella supposedly comes from the old Valencian name of the cooking pan, la paellera, or perhaps has it´s origin from the Latin word “patella” which means pan.
Valencia, in Eastern Spain is considered the birthplace of paella. Rice was introduced there by the Moors over 1200 years ago and now Valencia is one of the largest rice producing regions in Spain. The most famous paella rice is from Murcia, from the region of Calasparra. This is a traditional paella rice that is a short grain white rice that is very absorbent and retains it firm texture. It is also prized for being non-stick.
Valencia is on the coast of Spain and therefore it is no surprise that seafood is regularly used in most paella recipes. These days, however, paella can be prepared in many ways, depending on the region in Spain that it comes from or the personal taste of the chef. There are hundreds of variations of chicken paella, seafood paella and also vegetarian paella. There are entire cookbooks dedicated to paella. It may seem easy to throw together a paella recipe because it is a one pan preparation, but to make a superb paella takes time, good ingredients and practice.
Preparing and eating a paella is a social event, be it at home, in a restaurant or at a party. It can be prepared on the stove top, in the oven or over an open fire or barbecue. Often the preparation becomes a topic of discussion with debates over how much or which ingredients to add. It is an ideal meal for a celebration, satisfying when it is cold outside or festive when outside in the good weather.
The secret to an authentic and tasty paella, is using fine quality Spanish ingredients and an authentic paella pan. Calasparra paella rice, smoked Spanish paprika, Spanish saffron and fresh ingredients are essential. The saffron is what gives the dish its distinctive yellow color. The pan can be stainless steel, enameled or carbon steel depending on your budget. All of these types of pans will do the job. Make sure you purchase the size of pan needed to accommodate the servings needed. From Spain offers only the finest, award-winning paella spices and chef-quality paella pans. The paella recipe available on our website has been tried and happily tested many times and gives an awesome result. We also have several paella cookbooks for the experimental chef.