A traditional dish from Spain, paella (pie-ey-a) variations are virtually endless, but they all follow a basic standard that once you get right, you can go forward and build on with confidence. Try these five tips for perfect Spanish paella.
Authentic Spanish Chef Gualterio Fernandez of Paella Fiesta shares his top five secrets to Spanish paella success:
- Use high quality and fresh ingredients, including making your own stock.
- Select the right type of rice which is Spanish medium grain. Once the paella is finished, the rice should be loose, moist and not sticky.
- Use the correct ratio of stock to rice. Normally 2:1.
- An authentic paella pan does the trick. Make sure you are using the correct size pan for the number of guests that you are serving. (sizes vary in diameter)
- Using a gas stove top (for small paellas) and a burner or open fire (larger paellas), it is important that the heat covers the whole bottom of the pan.
SPANISH PAELLA RECIPE
By Gualterio Fernandez.
- 3 pieces white fish bite size
- 4 banana prawns
- 5 mussels
- 5 clams
- 100 grs squid
- 180 grs Spanish medium-grain rice (Calasparra)
- 360 ml fish stock
- 5 Saffron strands
- 1/3 red capsicum cut in small dice
- 1/3 green capsicum cut in small dice
- ½ cup of green beans cut in bite size
- 1/3 cup green peas
- 1 grated tomato
- 1 lemon cut into six wedges
- ½ tsp of pimento dulce (sweet Spanish paprika)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
For the chicken or fish stock:
- 2 kg white fish bones
- 600 ml water to reduce to 400ml of stock
- 1/2 onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 bay leave
- 1/2 leek
- 2 cloves of garlic
- In a stock pan make the stock from white fish bones, celery, onion, leek, garlic and bay leaves.
- In a sauce pan add ½ cup water add clams and mussels cover the pan and let it cook until open the shells about 5 minutes. Keep the liquid remaining of boiled them add it to the stock.
- In a 26 cm paella pan heat 2 tbsps. olive oil over high heat. When the oil is hot add the prawns and cook two sides until red, about 1 minute. Remove the prawns and reserve for later.
- Add 4 tbsps. of olive oil to the paella pan. Reduce the heat to medium, add red and green capsicum and fry for a few minutes. Add the grated tomato and cook for a few minutes more.
- Add the green beans, squid, pimenton, and saffron and then the stock.
- Bring the stock to boil. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Add the rice and make sure the rice is evenly distributed to the pan. Do not stir again.
- Cook, uncovered, for 18 minutes over medium heat until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked with just a bite to it.
- Sprinkle the peas over the paella; arrange the prawns, clams and mussels on top of the paella. Turn the heat down to low. Leave the paella 2 minutes more so the bottom of the paella can become slightly crusty
- Remove the paella from the heat, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Cut the lemon in wedges and serve.