Spanish Paella Day – March 26th
March 27th is the annual observance of National Spanish Paella Day. A rice dish from Spain, paella has become very popular and is known around the world. It originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain
SPAINSH PAELLA HISTORY
Many cultures have rice dishes that have become famous on the world culinary stage: arroz con pollo from Spain, biriyani from Spain, jambalaya from Louisiana, pilaf from the Middle East and risotto from Italy.
Rice originated in Asia and, along with pasta, was brought to the Mediterranean by the Moors. When the Moors invaded Spain, they brought both products with them. The Moorish casseroles of rice and fish established the custom of eating rice in Spain. By the 15th century, when Spanish Catholics expelled the Muslims from Spain, rice had become a national staple.
According to tradition in Valencia, paella is cooked over an 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.
Some recipes call for paella to be covered and left to settle for five or ten minutes after cooking.
LINKS TO RECIPES & OTHER INTERESTING SITES ABOUT SPANISH PAELLA
TYPES OF PAELLA
While it’s easy to vary the ingredients to create any type of paella—from mixed poultry, root or spring vegetable variations to vegetarian/vegan paella—there are three main classic styles:
Paella Valenciana: Valencian paella with white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans and seasoning
(Note that in the U.S., “Paella Valenciana” is actually paella mixta, with seafood and meat combined—and a combination preferred by most people)
Paella de marisco: seafood paella, which replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables
Paella mixta: mixed paella, which is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans