Paella de Mar y Montaña
Paella of the Sea and the Mountains...
This classic Spanish paella recipe is named Paella de Mar y Montaña, meaning "Paella of Land and Sea". Not entirely surprising, the ingredients used in this Spanish rice dish are meat and fish...
Paella de Mar y Montana - Served as a Tapa
The Authentic Spanish Paella Recipe
For years we have been making paella on the basis of these small bags of ready made paella herbs that you can buy in the Spanish supermarkets. You simply add the contents of these small packages to the stock before you add it to the rice. Nothing wrong with it. They include everything, including the yellow color agent, and we have been enjoying delicious paellas for years.
However, over the last few years, while travelling through Spain, we have come to realize that the best paellas that we had, in really good restaurants, actually were not the vibrant yellow that we were used to, while they hardly ever had the "nice and dry" rice grains that we had at home...
So we went on a quest for the true paella recipe. Without the ready made bag of herbs, that is. And we found a couple, like the one on this page.
Paella Basic Recipe
The basic recipe for an authentic Spanish paella goes like this:
• Onion, garlic and tomato are sauteed in olive oil ("sofrito");
• The rice is also shortly sauteed in the sofrito;
• Extra ingredients are added (meat, fish, veggies);
• Right quantity of stock is added to the rice;
• Yellow colorant is added (mostly saffron, but curcuma is used as well);
• Herbs are added (mostly parsley, often rosemary and thyme as well);
• Check the salt content ("rectificar el sal");
• Cook for six to eight minutes on high flame;
• Cook for seven to ten minutes on low flame, or in the oven;
• Let rest for two to three minutes underneath a newspaper...
• ¡Buen Provecho!
The Pan: Paella or Paellera
The paella pan in the picture above is a real Spanish "paella" or "paellera". These paellas come in various sizes. This one is 28cm diameter, suitable for a paella for two to three people.
The round ears allow the paella to be placed in the confined space of an oven. After first cooking the paella on high flame for eight minutes or so, we transfer the paella to the oven where we allow the rice to cook to perfection for some eight minutes more.
Alternatively you can also cook the paella on low to medium heat until the rice is done, like indicated below in the chapter "Paella Preparation".
Paella in an Ordinary Frying Pan - No Problema!
Before we got ourselves a real paella pan ("paella" of "paellera"), we have been making paella in a normal frying pan. We have done so for years, and our paellas were always very good.
Except that a normal frying pan is not the real McCoy, the only thing is that you can not place a frying pan in the oven that easily, so you will have to cook your paella on the gas stove until done.
While doing the last part of the cooking process in the oven has distinct advantages, doing so on a gas stove is in fact no problem either. As long as you cover the pan during cooking (use a lid or aluminium foil) and as long as you keep the fire low, you will still have a good paella.
Paella in a Frying Pan - Yes We Can!
Spanish Paella Ingredients
For this easy paella recipe from your own house, you will need the following ingredients:
(as a meal for 4 to 6 persons, as a tapa for 16 to 24 persons)
|Paella Rice; ( buy )|
|Sofrito (made in advance);|
|Aceite de Ajo y Perejil (made in advance);|
|Olive Oil, for frying, so not Virgen Extra;|
|Fish Stock *);|
|Chicken Stock *);|
|Rosemary, finely chopped;|
Additional ingredients: about 1200 grams of meat and fish:
|Rabbit ***), in 1 inch pieces;|
|Lean Pork, in 1 inch cubes;|
|fresh Pork Sauasage, preferably thin, in 1 inch pieces, or
Chorizo, in 1/2 inch pieces;
|Gambas or large Shrimp ****), raw, peeled (preferably with tail still on);|
|Calamares, in small pieces or rings;|
|Cod, in 1 inch cubes;|
|Green Beans, round or flat, in 1/2 inch pieces;|
|Lemon or Lime, quartered or sliced;|
*) For a succesfull paella, the balance between the quantities of rice and liquid is very important. As a rule of thumb, for the average paella rice we apply 1 part rice versus 2.5 parts of liquid (absorption factor 2.5), but we recommend that you follow the instructions on the package. (For example, for Arroz Bomba a factor 3 to 5 is recommended, depending on origin)
**) While saffron is the classic ingredient for Paella Valenciana, other yellow colorants are used as well. In particular curcuma, a spice which even has certain health benefits!
***) If you are not able to buy rabbit, replace by chickenwings (or just the upper parts of the wings);
****) In case you wish to present this paella as a tapa, you should adjust the number of gambas or shrimp in order to ensure that you have at least one for each portion. (when it comes to the number of shrimp on their plates, people can be most scrutinous...)
Preparation of this Spanish paella is quite easy. Actually, most of the work is in the preparation of the ingredients.
Prepare all ingredients in the right quantities and line them up so you can just grab them while you are cooking your paella. In that way you will minimize the chances that - in your youthful enthousiasm - you will overlook anything;
Preheat the oven to 430F (220C); (if not using an oven, see "Alternative" below)
Prepare the fish stock, add the saffron and rosemary, stir well, keep warm, ready for use;
Heat the olive oil in the pealla or frying pan (whatever you are using);
Sautee the rabbit and other meat on high flame until light brown, keep warm;
Add the rice, stir thoroughly to make sure that the dry rice corns get sauteed well in the Sofrito and garlic oil;
Add the meat to the rice, stir around on high flame;
Add the vegetables to the rice, stir around on high flame;
Add the gambas, calamares and fish to the rice, stir carefully;
Meanwhile, bring the stock back to the boil, add to the rice, and stir carefully to spread the rice and distribute other ingredients equally through the pan;
Check if the stock is salty enough. If not, add salt to taste;
Allow the paella to cook at high flame for like eight minutes or so; Do not stir (the thing is, the rice is allowed to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, it's part of the tradition!);
If you feel that the fluids are evaporating too quickly, cover the pan with a lid or aluminium foil;
After 8 minutes cooking at high heat, remove the lid or cover and put the paella in the oven that has been preheated to 430F (220C), and leave it to cook further for another eight or ten minutes or so;
This is how the Paella de la Casa looks like after eight minutes in the oven...
Get the paella out of the oven (be careful, don't get burned!) and leave it to settle for a few minutes covered by a newspaper (another tradition!); During this resting period the rice is allowed to suck in the last drops of free moisture and cook to perfection;
If you want to serve this Paella de la Casa as a meal, garnish her with a twig of rosemary, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh parsley on top;
Serve with plenty of lemon or lime;
Paella de Mar y Montana...
Serve the paella as a meal, or as a tapa on small dishes or bowls. Add lemon or lime quarters or slices.
Paella at Home or Outdoors!
Paella originates from the Spanish province of Valencia. In the Valenciana countryside - where rice has been grown since the eighth century - the farmers and their workers used to prepare it in the field, over a wood fire, in a paella pan or earthenware bowl resting on a couple of stones.
You can use your frying pan if you don't have a real paella pan. And if you find it awkward to make a wood fire in the corner of your kitchen... don't hesitate to use your gas range!
The aim of Tapas Bonitas is to have you make a true Spanish paella - at home or outdoors - with the authentic Spanish taste, and using ingredients that should be readily available in your local supermarket or tropical store.
In that way we bring sunny Spain a little bit closer!
Paella de Mar y Montaña