Paella is now one of Spain’s tourist attractions. There is hardly a tourist who does not succumb to a good paella dish.
The History of the Paella
Paella originated in the rural areas of Valencia between the 15th and 16th centuries. An easy-to-prepare meal for the region’s farmers and shepherds.
Whether the “seafood paella” was created at the same time as the “field paella” is not known to this day. In addition to the seafood, there are numerous delicious ingredients that give this special dish the opportunity to flourish.
In its origins, paella consisted of poultry, rabbit, various vegetables, special rice, saffron and olive oil. The paella was prepared in a large pan over an open fire, which was kindled from orange branches and at the same time gave the dish its characteristic taste and smell.
In Levante, a story is told about the War of Independence. It is about a French general, a woman and a paella that she cooked for the French general. The French general was so torn about the paella that he and the cook struck a deal: for every new plate of paella, the general would release a Spanish prisoner. The chef used her imagination and her great ability to improvise and cooked a different paella every day. It is said that 176 prisoners were released in this way…
The word “paella”
There are many theories as to where the word paella came from.
One of the most romantic theories is that there is a story about a man making paella for his girlfriend to win her love.
In Spanish, “paella” can be a derivative of “for her”. Although this is just a romantic story, there is some truth to this theory as well. In Spain, cooking is usually a woman’s job – but paella has traditionally been a man’s job.
There is no standardized recipe
Paella is a dish for which almost every ingredient is used. Each chef adds the ingredients he is most fond of, for this reason each paella is unique.
With fish, seafood or the traditional Spanish chorizo - any combination is possible with a paella, there are no limits to your imagination
If you feel like preparing your own paella, here are a few traditional recipes
- Arroz Negro – Black paella with calamari
- Paella a la Marinera