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Few things will guarantee you an argument in Spain as fast as describing how to make a Paella.
Everybody is an expert!.....and what passes as Paella in most tourist hotels in Spain is not even remotely good enough. Purists will even tell you that it has to be made outside over a wood fire.
(Something aout the condensing vapors)

I once owned a restaurant in Spain and did as many as 100 Paellas a day (for Spaniards) on a eight burner gas stove...here is how I survived.........

Paella for 4 people :

Paella Valenciana (mixto)
 Ingredients :

  • 1 Cup Spanish Olive Oil (Virgin Extra)
  • 4 pieces of Chicken
  • 4 pieces of Rabbit
  • 8 Shrimps(frozen is OK)
  • 8 mussels and/or clams
  • 1 or 2 lCrab torsos (with legs)(frozen is OK)
  • 250 grams of White Fish (any kind)
  • 1 (small) package of frozen peas
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • A few red pimientos (canned)
  • 1 small spoon Saffron (or yellow food colorant if you can´t find Saffron)
  • 500 grams of Spanish rice
    medium grain.
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Salt
  • 11/4 liter water


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BEFORE you start: Put on a little soft flamenco guitar music...preferable something of 'Paco de Lucia'...Spain's foremost guitarrist.

Pour the Olive Oil in the cold paella pan and heat it.(Do it the other way around..you get spattered with hot oil).. Once it starts to bubble:

First, fry the chicken and the rabbit and the tomato sauce at the same time, during several minutes; the meat has to be well done. (This is called the sofrit )

Add a little salt.

At the same time cut the whitefish in small pieces and when the meat is almost ready, add the fish and fry it too.

Take a sip of a cold dry white wine.

When the meat and fish is well-done, (if you do it the other way around the meat will not get crispy because of the water in the vegetables) add the vegetables and move a couple of times, and after 1 minute, add water and saffron, (fill the paella pan completely)...or roughly...one liter of water for each 500 grams of rice.

Let it boil with high fire during 20 ­ 30 minutes, tasting for salt concentration now and then. Add crab legs, shrimps, mussels and clams.

After 20 or 30 minutes the paella is ready for the rice. There is a special way to do it:

Take a sip of a cold dry white wine.

Make a mountain ridge that is going to criss- cross the paella pan, in 2 diameters . These two ridges of rice must be over the water level one inch, with this technique you don't have a problem to know how much rice you need. After you have measured the rice like this, move it with a spoon and mix it into the whole paella.
Add water again, but this time pour the water in until it reaches the handles.
Add the crab legs, clams and shrimp.

Lower the fire and add in the fresh cut rosemary sprigs as garnish. The rice has to cook 20 minutes.

Watch the water and the fire, the rice has to cook 20 minutes but don't burn it!!
When the water has ALMOST disappeared.....add the peas, and turn the fire off.
Slice the red pimientos and arrange them in a radial design (like wheel spokes) as decoration.
Cover the paella pan with a damp kitchen towel and let it "rest" for another 5 minutes.

Take a sip of a cold dry white wine.

Cut the lemon in 4 pieces and serve the rice with one-piece of lemon on the dish. Each diner squeezes a piece of lemon (to taste) onto his portion.

Play some faster tracks of guitar music on the stereo.....(Paco de Lucia)

Serve with a cold dry white wine.
Take some pictures......but be humble, tell everyone it is just a little something you picked up in Spain.....
then pass out for a long SIESTA!!

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