Paella is a delicious dish which deserves its own holiday, so on March 27 we celebrate National Spanish Paella Day. Considered by many to be the national dish of Spain, paella originated, as many traditional dishes do, as “peasant” food — a lunchtime rice dish prepared by workers in the field over an open fire. Always cooked in a round, flat bottomed pan with handles, the dish most likely takes its name from the Latin term “patella,” a flat plate on which offerings were made to the gods. The open flame is essential, as it creates the layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan that is essential and unique to paella. Delicious!
Why We Love Paella (and National Spanish Paella Day)
A. It’s something to share with friends
Paella is a very social dish, traditionally brought straight to the table and eaten right out of the pan. It’s the perfect excuse to bring together a group of good friends to enjoy a meal together.
B. It takes skill
A specific cooking technique is used for a dish to be called “Paella”. Besides using a short grain, pearl like rice, paella must be cooked in the traditional shallow, flat bottomed pan. The ingredients, once added, should not be disturbed, allowing the delicacy known as “socarrat,” or crispy bottom rice layer, to form.
C. It’s versatille
Paella is all about the rice, so whatever else you choose to add is up to you. A traditional Valencian pella is made with chicken, rabbit and white beans, but there are seafood paellas or even vegetable paellas. The choice of ingredients is entirely your choice, so grab a paella pan and experiment!
How To Celebrate National Spanish Paella Day
1. Take a Paella class
Paella takes a little technique to get it right, so find a great paella class in your city and sign up. A couple of hours learning to cook a delicious rice dish, and probably an excuse to sip some sangria? What could be better?
2. Have a paella party!
Paella is best enjoyed with friends. In fact, it’s specifically meant to be shared! So invite a few of your BFFs (best foodie friends) over, make a pan of delicious paella and get ready for a wonderful evening.
3. Find great paella in your city
Good paella isn’t very difficult to make, but great paella is on another level and should be appreciated. Do your research and find the restaurant in your city with the reputation for the best paella and make a reservation.