Paella is one of the most iconic dishes of Spanish cuisine. It stands out for its delicious flavor and its variety of ingredients, since it is usually made with a mixture of vegetables, meats, seafood and spices. The paella is a classic dish of the Mediterranean diet and is also a symbol of Spanish culture. It is a dish that has been enjoyed by generations of Spaniards, and has also become popular around the world. In this article, we will share with you a recipe for a genuine seafood paella and some tips for making an excellent version of this classic dish.
A Short History About Spanish Paella
The origin of paella dates back to the 19th century, when it was created by peasants in the Valencia region. The original version of paella was very simple and contained only vegetables, snails and some of the local spices available in the area. Over time, paella has evolved and the ingredients used vary depending on the area where it is cooked. In some parts of Spain, paella is still cooked with snails, while in others, chicken and rabbit are used. In the coastal areas of Spain, seafood is also used in paella.
The popularity of paella has spread throughout Spain and the world in recent years. Today, it is a dish that is enjoyed in many countries around the world, with different versions of the recipe depending on the region.
Undoubtedly, when talking about the most popular Spanish shrimp and rice recipe, this authentic icon of Spain’s gastronomy comes immediately to mind.
Let’s Go to the Kitchen: A Recipe for Paella
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 1 onion, chopped.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- 1 red bell pepper, diced.
- 2 cups of seafood stock.
- 1 teaspoon of paprika.
- 1 teaspoon of saffron threads.
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
- 2 cups of short-grain rice.
- ½ cup of frozen peas.
- ½ pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined.
- ½ pound of mussels, scrubbed and debearded.
- ½ pound of clams, scrubbed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large paella pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the seafood stock, paprika, saffron and salt and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice, stir to combine and bring the mixture back to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
- Uncover the pan, add the peas, shrimp, mussels and clams and stir to combine.
- Cover the pan and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the seafood is cooked through.
- Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
When cooking paella, it is important to use good quality ingredients. The quality of the seafood and the stock will have a big impact on the flavor of the dish. Make sure to buy fresh seafood and use a good quality seafood stock. If you don’t have access to it, you can use frozen seafood instead.
Using good quality rice is essential to keep all the flavor of the paella. Short-grain bomba rice is the best choice for this dish and is widely available in grocery stores.
Finally, be sure to let the paella rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to develop and the rice to absorb all the liquid.
Paella is best served hot and is usually accompanied by a glass of white wine. It can also be served with a side of aioli or roasted peppers.
And speaking of wines, a good accompaniment to seafood paella is a crisp, dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay. However, to be geographically precise, two Spanish varieties that pair almost perfectly with paella are:
- Albariño: A white wine grape variety from Galicia. This wine is known for its crisp acidity and fruity flavors. An excellent pairing for seafood-based paellas.
- Verdejo: Another fine white wine from Rueda, in Valladolid. This one is known for its herbal notes, citrus flavors, and bright acidity.