Everything You Need to Know About Seafood Paella
Those who like Mediterranean cuisine would probably never say no when offered paella. This incredibly versatile Spanish dish can feature anything and everything you can imagine on a rice base, and this is probably what makes it the favorite of so many people. From chicken through pork all the way to different kinds of vegetables, everyone can tailor paella to their taste, but arguably, seafood paella is something that everyone should try. So, here is everything you need to know about seafood paella.
The history of paella
The history of paella dates back as far as the mid-nineteenth century. While not everything is known about its creation, it is certain that it originates from Valencia, one of the top rice-producing regions in the country, and its name comes from the Latin word for the pan it is cooked in patella. The immense versatility of the dish can also be traced back to these times. It is believed that the farmers who first came up with the dish added whatever they could find at the time to it (including snails and different vegetables). Today, paella is a well-loved dish all around the world and seafood paella is one of the newest variations.
The basics of cooking paella
Restaurants and catering companies specializing in paella such as Tapas Market know the ins and outs of cooking this delicacy, so if youve ever tried impeccable paella, you too probably want to know what you should pay attention to during preparation. One of the most crucial elements is the special pan needed. Its a round, wide and shallow pan with a flat bottom so that the rice can cook evenly. If you have the option, it is also best to cook paella over an open fire. Finally, the choice of rice is also of crucial importance for the success of your paella. Avoid long grain rice and instead, opt for Bomba rice or medium-grain if that is what you have access to. Cooking the dish indoors is, of course, possible, but cooking it outside has its flare.
The two things that you are never going to skip for paella are the aforementioned rice and saffron for seasoning. While saffron can be an expensive ingredient, it brings a unique flavor and a lovely color to the dish. As mentioned in the beginning, there is a long list of things you can put in paella. When talking about seafood paella, look for shrimp, clams, mussels, firm fish, lobster, prawns, squid and so on choose whichever ones of these and combine them to your liking. You can also add chorizo beside the seafood but its not a must. And of course, you will need olive oil, garlic, paprika, tomato, onions and optionally, wine. You will also need stock whether you will opt for chicken or fish stock is up to you, but you can even make your own stock.
There are numerous ways to go about the preparation, and it will partially depend on the seafood ingredients you chose. Before you start, you should steep the saffron in your stock for 15 minutes and add salt to taste. If youre using ingredients such as lobster, you will want to cut and cook that in advance too. When you have all these on standby, you can start preparing your seafood paella. Cook your seafood ingredients partially in some olive oil, then remove them from the oil and prepare your sofrito by adding the garlic, onion and paprika to the oil. Once this is done, its time to get your paella pan out. First, add the sofrito and the rice, and once that is partially cooked, add your stock, tomato, and anything else you might want to add. After, this, you wont be stirring the rice so that it gets a lovely brown color on the bottom. When the rice is partially cooked, you can add your seafood ingredients on top and cover the pan until everything is well cooked.
Seafood paella requires some preparation, however, if youre a fan of seafood and all things Mediterranean, it will be worth it in the end. Good luck!