My friend Chef Tom asked me to a get together featuring some new paella broths last evening. Paella! One of my favorite dishes! It's one of those things I discovered in Madrid when I was a student and have been on a search for 'good' paella in the U.S. ever since. So naturally I made all haste to make arrangements to attend.
Mollie Stone's that I was excited to try out, and the party was presenting the very same Aneto paella broths.
Close up of Chickpea, Spinach and Cod Paella
The next four paellas came out in succession. The flavors were complex. The Aneto broths are made naturally, like we might make a broth in our home, yet using more complex ingredients than we would normally take the time to gather. It was great to see a succession of completely recognizable and wholesome ingredients in each broth.
Valencia Paella with Green Peppers, Artichokes, Asparagus and Sausage
It was great to learn the story of paella beginning as a fisherman's dish where they started by using local ingredients, fish pieces and a carbohydrate. The fishermen also used potatoes and pasta as the carb portion of their dish. Rice has become the popular carbohydrate, and it stands up well to the technique.
Seafood Paella with Prawn Carpaccio and Pine Nuts
And I learned that technique is what paella is, rather than a recipe. Daniel compared paellas to omelets where you choose ingredients and cook to your individual taste rather than using a recipe from others. To make paella, you need a shallow dish and high heat. First you saute the assembled ingredients - some vegetables and meat/fish in the pan. When these are cooked, you add the rice and broth and cook at high heat for about 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of low heat, then a brief rest of 5-10 minutes.
Chickpea, Spinach and Cod Paella
The best rice to use for paella is Bomba rice because its molecular structure allows it to expand lengthwise rather than bursting open as many rices do under the rapid and high heating required to make paella. It's more forgiving to overcooking. A medium grain non-sticky rice in general is advised for use.
Paella made with Aneto natural paella broth with Squid Ink