Mr. C and I were invited to spend lunch with a couple of people from the church we are attending. More importantly, paella was being served.
We have wanted to try real paella since we have arrived in Spain; however, we hadn’t ordered it because we were told so many cautionary tales about sketchy paella being served at local restaurants. So, this was the perfect foundation for (I’m sure) many more paella tastings to come.
The word paella comes from the French word panelle, or in English pan, which oils give you a strong idea of how paella is made. Paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish that is cooked in one large, round, shallow pan with two small handles on either side. It can take 45-90 minutes to cook, which can be a good sign of if you are having good paella of not. Usually, the longer, the better.
There are a few different kinds of paella; the more famous ones are paella valenciana (Valencian paella), paella de marisco (seafood paella) and paella mixta (mixed paella). Valencian paella is considered to be the original recipe. This consists of mainly rice, vegetables, chicken, snails and rabbit. Yup. Rabbit.
We had Valencian paella and it was delicious! We each took turns scooping our portion of paella out of the pan and then squeezed fresh lemon juice on whatever we had taken. To be honest, it was not the flavor I was expecting, but it was still wonderful. Usually, I do not like lemon juice on my food. I am that weirdo who orders “water, no lemon” at restaurants. However, the lemon juice made it 20% tastier.
All in all, paella was definitely worth the wait. Literally.
Adventure Lesson Learned: Food is an art. Don’t take away pieces of it because you think you won’t like it. Trust what the chef put together.