Paella, a beautiful rice dish with lovely seafood, herbs and zesty lemon. It originated in Valencia on the east coast of Spain. The word “paella” is actually derived from an old French word, paelle, which refers to a large type of frying pan.
I associate paella with seafood, but often people add chicken, rabbit or other meat to the dish. I like to add frozen peas when I prepare it – it adds a nice sweetness to the dish and colour, but I didn’t with this recipe as I’ve added red and green peppers. Many recipes callfor cocktail tomatoes that are cooked with the dish so that they pop open, but I kind of like the cold, uncooked flavour and dimension uncooked cocktail tomatoes add to the dish. But once again, if you like cooked tomatoes in your food, then add them a little earlier so that they have time to cook through.
Saffron is a lovely spice to use, especially with a dish like this where it adds a savoury aspect to the overall dish, but if you don’t have saffron, a teaspoon of turmeric can be used or it can just be omitted altogether. Something else that’s quite nice, is to cook your rice in the water that the crab was cooked in. So add a cup or two of the drained cooking liquid to the chicken stock that the rice is being cooked in – it will give new life to the flavour of the cooked rice.
Then, once you’ve dished up, squeeze lots of fresh lemon juice over the paella and have some more lemon wedges on the table as there’s nothing that brings out the flavour of seafood like fresh lemon.