A Culinary Journey to Valencia
Valencia sits on the banks of the Turia River on the Medterrannean coast of Spain . It is one of the most important industrial cities in Spain . But it is Valencias agriculture that is responsible for its worldwide fame .
It was founded in 138 as a Roman colony but truly blossomed under the Moors and their development of the region as an agricultural center .
Valencia is one of the most diverse vegetable and citrus producers in Spain . From orange groves that stretch to the Mediterrannean to artichokes and even dates the region is blessed by sea breezes and plenty of sunshine .
But it s best known product is rice . Almost all Spanish dishes that begin with the word arroz , owe their fame to this region . Thre most famous of these of course is paella .
The word paella , of course , refers to the pan in which the rice was cooked . But to the world outside of Spain , it has come to mean a rice dish with seafood and sometimes chicken.
The varieties of paella in Spain , however are as endless as the local ingredients . I know a woman from Cataluna for whom a typical and favorite paella , of her region , is arroz a la Catalana or rice with rabbit and butifarra . Butifarra is a locally made sausage .
Although the argument rages over which paella is more authentic or real , no one disputes the fact that Valencia is the birthplace of the dish . Valencia is where the rice is grown and from where almost all the classic Spanish rice dishes originate .
The traditional Paella a la Valenciana , is made with snails , rabbit , and green string beans or favas ( habas ) .
What follows is a recipe for the recipe we all think of as Paella a la Valenciana .
Paella a la Valenciana- 14 " paella pan
The one we all think of when we hear paella .
5 ½ C fish stock
1 ½ # lobster shelled , cut into pieces . You can leave
claws whole for presentation if you like .
Preheat the oven to 375 and bring the stock to a simmer . Heat the oil in paella pan and sear the lobster 1 min. season . Remove . Cook monkfish , shrimp , season , 2 minutes and remove . Cook onion , garlic , add paprika , 3 - 4 min. Add tomato and rice stir to coat . Add the fish stock and stir frequently . After 10 min. , add peas , parsley , shrimp , and monkfish . Arrange mussels , lobster claws and roasted peppers . Place in oven 10 min.
Do not overcook the rice . If it is crunchy but close , remove from oven and allow to finish cooking outside . Brush outer garnishes lightly with olive oil if they appear a bit dry . There should be very little liquid left , drain if necessary.