Welcome to the east corner of Spain!
This week Meg of Fledging Foodie chose our recipe of the week: paella. And just for a minute it turned me back in Andalucía, Costa del Sol, where I ate the most delicious paella ever. The flavor is still there, in my gourmet memory box.
bits and pieces about paella
Paella is a Valencian cooking metal pan (paellera) and a rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
Paella is a Catalan word, which derives from the Old French word paelle for pan, which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan. Valencians use the word paella for all pans, including the specialized shallow pan used for cooking paellas. Paelleras are traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles.
According to tradition in Valencia, men are cooking paella on open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine-cones. This produces an aromatic smoke, which infuses the paella. Also, dinner guests traditionally eat directly out of the paellera.
There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanish: paella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco), and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta), but there are many others as well.
Smoked red bell peppers paella
I cooked my own vegan version of paella (last week I’ve started fasting, so no seafood until Easter, at least).