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How do I make authentic paella? - MW

I tried to copy the paellas I had in Spain, but none matched the colors, aromas and delights of the real thing. Where am I hurting?
Chris, Paignton, Devon

Most people raise their paella because they stray too far from their humble cuisine, say rural roots, the chef and owner of the restaurant Jose Pizarro. Traditionally, it was made with only 10 ingredients, he explained. In other words, olive oil, chicken, rabbits, chickpeas, garrofó [Valencian bean type A], tomatoes, saffron, salt, rice and water or broth. Depending on the season and the location, he says that the installation is completed with a few other ingredients, from garlic and onions to peas and pimentón, including games, snails or seafood, but this is the distance you have to travel, or you risk bringing Spanish rice in cartoons.

Uber Spanish chef Quique Dacosta, who opened his first restaurant in the UK last year, based in London Arros QD, agrees: all ingredients are important, but the king is broth because car c is a place full of flavors. For this reason, it never uses concentrates or cubes, and insists that it was created from scratch, mainly because you have no control over its quality, and also for the whole of the ritual. paella always starts with stocks.

Angel Zapata Martin, the chef at the Barrafina restaurant group of four powerful restaurants in London, prepares his first dish by roasting the bones, shreds and shells of any meat or seafood he uses in paella. , then place them in the pan with chives, carrots, dill, garlic, tomato paste and pimientos choricero (dry peppercorns) or pimentón, all covered with water. The secret is not to use too much, or you will end up with a bland stock, he said. Three fingers above the solid.

The type of rice is also important, the three cooks agree, and it must be medium grain Spanish. Pizarro and Dacosta recommend senia rice from Valencia, the hometown of paella, but say that the bomba or albufera will do the trick; Zapata is more specific: rice is the key - I only use the Illa bomba de Riu from southern Catalonia, which benefits from the rich harvest land.

Paella, of course, is named after the pan in which it is traditionally made, and Dacosta is the loyal person that you should not call paella if it is not cooked in one: the one where it is not the same frying pan. However, Zapata is quite strict about this specific score: Earned Yes, should use an appropriate paella pan, he agrees, but the closest you should use a very large flat pan so OK.

When you have fried the sofrito base - diced onions, garlic, tomatoes and, perhaps, red pepper - and brown the meat, mix the rice to rinse, pour in the broth and leave alone: ​​never stir the paella time, warns Pizarro, a feeling that Zapata approves: Sword It makes the rice rigid and stuffy. After all, we haven't created a risotto here.

Dacosta uses a 1200 ml stock for 240 g of rice and cooks precisely for 20 minutes - Research We start counting the time the stock is in the pan - until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is full . The Valencian proverb, he thought, ends with a thin layer of crunchy flavored rice, or soccarat. To get the same effect, Zapata recommends leaving the pan hot for a short time after the rice is cooked, until you hear it popping and you see sharp edges. To remind you, added Dacosta, not all paellas have soccarat and not everyone likes it.

Another shortcoming of many questionable paella, says Dacosta, is that the vegetables are often terribly overcooked by the time the rice is ready, so add them after half the cooking. Eat and always use proper saffron, said Pepper Pizarro, never had turmeric or dye - but sacred.

A little fresh herbs and a little lemon are all you really need to accomplish, but for more prosperity, Zapata adds a picada for the final taste: mixture of saffron, raw or roasted garlic and white wine, then pour over the whole paella and let soak for a few minutes before serving. ¡Buen provecho!


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