By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Viva L’Espana! Paella – Spain’s national dish- adds sizzle and spice to any summer menu. This alluring one-pan wonder classically combines seasoned saffron rice, garlic and onions with elements from the country’s fertile Mare y Montana (the sea and the mountains).
The history of this unique grain-based specialty blends the tastes and traditions of two cultures. Over 1200 years ago, when the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula, they brought their agricultural expertise with them. They introduced an improved rice irrigation system from the Arab and Roman worlds to the local farmers when they realized the area’s weather and soil made the crop thrive, especially in Valencia.
With its warm Mediterranean air and water, this Eastern Spanish region became the hub for growing and then exporting the commodity throughout the country and Europe. Royal banquets often featured rice dishes. Savvy field laborers and kitchen servants gathered banquet leftovers-whether they were chicken, rabbit, fish or vegetables and cooked them with their daily rice staple in a “patella” (Catalan for a high sided skillet pan). Hence, thanks to the name of the pan, “paella” was born.
Throughout the centuries, its palate power and prestige has gained mouthwatering momentum with multiple ingredients and diverse interpretations. Today, from city to city, the entrée remains a delicious shining star on menus, at culinary competitions, family feasts and festive fiestas.
FEATURED CHEF SPOTLIGHT: CHEF CLAUD BELTRAN
The Matfer team spent a fun and food-friendly day at beautiful Bacchus Kitchen in Pasadena where Executive Chef & Co-Owner Claud Beltran created a summertime stunner of pristine paella using ideally matched Matfer tools.
Chef Beltran’s passion for paella allows this talented chef to reach a whole new level of flavor and flair thanks to the use of sensational summer vegetables with a spicy sizzling twist. Turn up the heat and take a peek at his scintillating dish. Read the spotlight!
TOOLS FOR THE TASTE
As an inspirational chef, you are guaranteed an outstanding outcome for your own personalized paella when you use Matfer’s Black Steel Paella Pan, Matfer Prep Chef – slicer, Aluminum Conical Collander & Giesser Messer Multi-Purpose Kitchen Knife.