To take the original version of Paella far, it is necessary to divulge the traditional recipe and its secrets, not so guarded but undervalued. Demystify ingredients, processes and techniques that continue to go badly with the star dish of Valencian gastronomy.
When Paellas began to be cooked in the Albufera Natural Park , there was no greater dissemination of the recipe than the experience of cooking together with someone who knew how to prepare it . Grandmothers, mothers and fathers taught their descendants how to cook our rice dishes, a pure oral tradition that ended up becoming part of our culture.
That is why we believe that part of our commitment to Paella is to offer answers for those who want to get closer to the dish, manage to control each of the processes that make up our most traditional dish.
Rafa Margós tells what he learned from his father, the advice his grandmother taught him and the keys to achieve the perfect Paella. From how to know what size the Paella should be to how to get the exact point of the rice, going through the technique to get the revered socarrat.
The size and portions of the Paella.
The size of the container is of the utmost importance so that the finish of the rice is ideal. Rafa Margós says that the most important thing to know the correct size is to be aware that the rice must completely cover the surface of the Paella. And the better the thinner the layer of rice , the more flavor it will be able to absorb and the grain will cook evenly.
How to get the exact point of the rice.
Our Mestre Paeller insists that for the grain to remain loose, dry and whole, good control of the heat is essential to evaporate the broth when the rice needs it. A uniform distribution of the rice is also key: we must pour the rice and distribute it and from there, the boiling of the broth will be in charge of keeping the rice spread over the entire surface.
But what happens if we run out of broth sooner than expected?
A fire that is too strong will cause the broth to evaporate earlier than expected. It is a common problem that can be solved by adding water gradually . This does not affect the flavor at all, since the water simply hydrates the grain and evaporates, leaving the flavor of the broth trapped in the rice. The correct evaporation of the broth, points out Rafa Margós, is essential. Even more than the water/rice ratios.
Why is it so important to let the rice rest?
When removing the Paella from the heat, the resting begins. The waiting time that will allow all the flavors to settle, for the rice to finish releasing and reach the indicated texture. In a way, the paella continues to cook during the rest : as long as the grain does not drop below 65 degrees, it continues to cook and gelatinize.
The socarrat. The most glorious bite of Paella.
The socarrat is the excellence of the point of rice. That thin toasted and crunchy layer of rice that keeps the tastiest bite of the paella. A particular Valencian caviar that Rafa Margós explains to us in detail.
Our Mestre Paeller, warns that it is the process that requires the most technique since it requires experience and precision so that the result is not burnt rice lacking the aromas and flavors typical of wood-fired paella.
This layer of glory is achieved at the last minute, as long as the rice has released all the starch. To do this, the broth must be completely evaporated in minute 17. It is then when the oil from the sauce that has remained on the surface of the Paella begins to go down to the base and when it rises to maximum heat, the rice is fried with it. A key minute where the rice reaches an incomparable texture and flavor.
A paella is not the same without firewood. If you want to discover all the secrets of this vegetable fuel and ask our Mestre Paeller how he manages to have absolute control over the fire, don't go too far.