Paella is a dish of great possibility, without rigid constraints. It was originally created by workers in the orange groves of Valencia with the elements they had on hand, commonly duck, rabbit and snails. Seafood paellas are a fairly recent adaptation, although they are the most popular. The only constants in paella are the rice, olive oil, onion and saffron. All other ingredients are a matter of the regional style and imagination of the cook and what is good in the market that day.
In Spain, the vagaries of paella are the subject of endless debate and great passion. Paella can be made with…
…game birds, rabbit, lamb, chicken, pork, sausage…
…any number of vegetables such as broad beans, artichokes, roasted bell peppers, spring onions, peas, large white beans, garlic shoots…
…a host of fish and seafood, including shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, squid, crayfish, snails, eel, monkfish…
At Solera restaurant in New York City,Ruffino Lopez-Lourido, a walking reference work on paella, made intriguing and delicious paellas with squab, the Spanish blood sausage called morcilla, and suckling pig, among others. Henri Delcros at Meadowood Resort once devised an unusual grilled vegetable paella. Classically, only a few kinds of meat or seafood and vegetables are featured in a paella. Paella is above all about rice.
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