Food lovers have a special place for Spanish cuisine. This gastronomy is all about richness, flavor, color and vibrant dishes. They are a mosaic of different cultures such as Greek, Roman, Moorish, Jewish, French, Italian, African, and English. So, imagine how well these flavors can blend to make the most exquisite meals.
This is what Spanish cuisine has to offer to the world: mixed taste, special aroma, and powerful color. Some of the most popular dishes are Tortilla Española, Gazpacho, Pulpo a la gallega, and Fabada. But the meal that has long gained worldwide recognition is La Paella.
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An iconic Spanish dish
Paella is a colorful rice preparation that best represents Spanish food. It is not just a food preparation, but a complete description of Spanish traditions and cultural heritage.
You can find countless versions of this traditional dish. The most popular are Valencian Paella and Seafood Paella. Valencian Paella includes chicken, rabbit, snails, tomatoes, onion, garlic, butter beans, green beans, and spiced with paprika and saffron.
On the other hand, paella recipe seafood contains calamari, prawns, mussels, clams, shrimps, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peas, red peppers, smoked paprika, and saffron.
How to eat Paella?
The traditional cooking technique involves gathering outside and preparing Paella in an open fire, for eating it outside too. Eating Paella is perhaps the most expected activity, not only for enjoying this culinary delight but for sharing it with people.
Tradition says that, at the time of eating, the center of the table is reserved for placing the paellera (paella pan), and people gather around it to take a portion straight from the pan. Then, talks and jokes take place between every bite. But there is something more in this scene: the drinks.
Having a full Spanish experience implies delicious Paella paired with a proper wine. Some people think that depending on the type of Paella, the wine of choice should be different.
For people who love white wine, this is the number one choice to pair with paella, especially a Seafood Paella. White wine’s light flavor, fruity fragrance, and citrus notes allow the aroma of the Paella to dominate your senses and perfectly blend all tastes. Sauvignon Blanc, Cortese di Gavi, Verdejo, Txakolí, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Viognier, or Cava would be excellent.
Red wine lovers should leave their favorite drink apart. Seafood flavors do not pair well with aged red wines. The tannings presented in red wine can make you feel a metallic taste in your mouth when eating Paella. However, those who prefer red wine should not be disappointed. Instead of drinking a strong red varietal, any light and soft red wine like Crianza, Riojas, or Rosé will be good choices.
Among all these wine options, Rosé is the perfect pair for seafood Paella. Its acidity and juicy berry flavor contrast very well with the spices of this rice dish.
Cooking exquisite seafood paella
You already know the different types of Paella and how to enjoy it as a truly Spanish citizen. The only thing left to do is learn how to cook a seafood version of this delicious preparation.
Ingredients (8 servings)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 1 chopped onion.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes.
- 6 chopped cloves of garlic.
- 2 qt (2 liters) of chicken broth.
- 1 star of anise.
- 24 raw shell-on king prawns.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 1 finely chopped onion.
- 3 cups of short-grain rice.
- 4 sliced cloves of garlic.
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
- Pinch of saffron threads.
- 1.1 lb (500) grams of cleaned mussels.
- 3 oz (100 grams) of frozen peas.
- Parsley leaves for garnish.
- Make a broth placing in a saucepan the olive oil, onion, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, and star of anise.
- Take out the heads and shells from the prawns, and add to the broth. Cook for 30 minutes, let it cool. Put this mixture in a blender, and then strain in a sieve. Reserve.
- In a paella pan or wok, heat the olive oil and incorporate onions, garlic, paprika, saffron, and rice.
- Cook for 5 minutes, and add the broth you made.
- When rice is tender, incorporate peeled prawns, mussels, and peas.
- Put a lid on the paella pan, and cook for 15 more minutes.
- Serve with parsley leaves on the top.
- Center the paella pan on your table, and uncork your favorite wine.