We import Calasparra, a short grain, white rice grown in the Murcia region of Spain for centuries. It ‘stays with the food’ well. In other words, it takes on the flavours and moisture without losing form. For the home cook, cooking small quantities, a quality Arboria is the closest available match. Anything cooked with long grain rice though, is not paella.
The beauty of paella is that its traditionally a very adaptable dish; chef can use available local ingredients to suit tastes, which allows Señor to create delicious paella for everybody; meat, seafood and vegetable lovers alike. Larger parties can even enjoy the spectacle of two or even three huge pans, cooking different paellas.
But, as with all dishes, quality ingredients are important. That sofrito must be sautéd in best extra virgin olive oil and you really cannot skimp on the saffron, even though it’s so expensive. Did you know that saffron is reputed to lower blood pressure and is cited as one reason that the Spanish have a low rate of heart disease?
In fact, paella itself is not just a delicious aromatic spectacle, it’s healthy too, cooked as it is from low fat, gluten free and fresh ingredients.