I think Kramer from Seinfeld summed it up best:
Have you ever had really good paella? Oh, it’s an orgiastic feast for the senses. A festival of sights, sounds and colors and mmmm mm mmm
Last night in Sydney I got to experience Spain’s traditional dish at its best at a masterclass held by Flavours of Spain.
Paella gets its name from the pan it is cooked in, and comes in a number of styles, most notably the Valencian style of paella, seafood and mixed.
The masterclass was a sensational evening. A selection of Spanish wines, and some amazing tapas for all present – baked prunes and almonds wrapped in bacon, pears with blue cheese and walnut, meatballs in romesco sauce, porterhouse bites and my favourite – aged manchego with quince.
And while we were all feasting on these delicious morsels, Chef Miguel Cuevas went to work on crafting an amazing paella in the biggest pan I have ever seen. As he added layer after layer of ingredient, the smells and colours of the dish filled the room.
Hot oil, and then in with a mix of seafood. Then the tomatoes and capsicum in a sofrito and then beans. Then the stock and the rice. Miguel uses a Bomba rice, and not aborio. To finish off, some prawns and mussels. Just amazing.
So what are his tips for a good paella?
- Get your stock tight, because if the stock tastes good, then so does the paella. His stock was made from prawn heads, ground cloves, bay leaf and onion.
- Make sure you use sweet paprika
- No lemon during cooking – lest the flavour overpower the dish
- Once the rice is in (which you should only do after you add stock), don’t move it around – just let it absorb and the starch do it’s work.
- Soak your saffron for an hour before hand, and make sure you pour it over the paella and not in one spot.
So why is this all important?
Well, on May 25, from 11am to 4pm, The 1st International Paella Championship will be taking place at Manly Beach.
Some of Australia’s top chefs and restaurants are competing – including Movida, Smolt, Robert Burns, The Deck and Osteria del Toro from NZ, with the top 3 going on to compete in the Sueca Paella Festival in Valencia, Spain.
So make sure you get along next weekend, and in the meantime, give paella a shot at home!
Find out more here – http://www.flavoursofspain.com.au/championships