Paella and I have a lot in common.
We are both complicated, intense and AWESOME.
Maybe that is why I am am so drawn to this dish and purchased a 20″ proper Paella pan 6 months ago in anticipation of mastering the preparation for my 4th Annual Friendsgiving!
For the past 4 years my roommate and I have opened our home to all friends (friends of friends, friends of someone’s sister that is also from Ohio, ANYONE) to come hang out, drink, eat and eventually dance our faces off.
The culture behind this traditional Valencian rice dish revolves around large get togethers. I love to feed people and grew up in family where FOOD IS LOVE.
There are many articles online about Paella preparation but I just wanted to touch on the 6 important elements:
The Pan – Called Paella is a wide, shallow flat metal pan. It is all about the rice having contact with the pan.
The Rice – Super crucial. MEDIUM GRAIN RICE. I have a hard time finding authentic Bomba, but have used both Calrose and Arborio varieties. Just DO NOT USE LONG GRAIN RICE.
The Sofrito – The base flavor, can vary. Mine consits of tomato, garlic, onion and smoked paprika.
The Liquid – I make Seafood Paella and make my own homemade seafood stalk consisting of clam juice and the shimp shells. I then infuse the stalk with the very important Saffron.
The Distribution of Heat – Traditionally prepared over large outdoor woodfires but… I live in Brooklyn. So, I turn on all 4 burners of my electric range and rotate to evenly cook.
The Soccarat- (The reason why I LOVE this stuff) The caramelized crust of rice that will form between the rice and the pan.
I put a lot of energy and love into everything I do (including my paella) and I love and appreciate the people in my life so much. It is for that reason I can not think of a better, more appropriate dish to share on Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!