We have cooked at hundreds of paella parties in Sydney over the last 3 years. So many in-fact, we have perfected our recipe with a number of key features to make our paella great! There are certain elements which make a great paella. These range from ingredients and processes to cooking techniques. I have outlined these below.
Rice – We only use calasparra or bomba rice in our paellas. – This is a very unique short grain rice which is grown in the mountains of the Spanish province Murcia. The pure mountain water here, as well as the altitude means that the grains mature 30% longer than regular rice. This slow maturation enables the rice to soak up three times its weight in stock. That means that the grain can hold more flavour whilst still retaining its texture. Unlike other short grain rice like Arborio, calasparra and bomba rice stays separate when cooked meaning you don’t get a creamy, risotto like paella, you get a delicious flavoursome paella where all the grains are separate.
Soffrito - Our soffrito is the spice mix of our paella, and we only use fresh Australian produce. Flame roasted capsicums, parsley, garlic, coriander and mint. We also use Spanish paprika and aged sherry vinegar in order to make this spice blend. We do not cook this spice mix before adding it to our paellas ensuring that all the flavour is cooked and concentrated in the pan. This is an important step to ensure that the rice is flavoursome and the base flavours of the paella develop.
Saffron - We use Pina saffron in all of our paellas which is grown in Spain. It is AAA grade saffron which is very long and coloured a deep red. This means that it turns our paellas a deep yellow colour when cooked. It also imparts it amazing floral flavour into the paella. It is grown in Novelda in Spain near Murcia and is then hand picked, dried and then packed. It is difficult to tell if a caterer uses powdered saffron or imitation saffron in their paellas by sight alone. The yellow colour can be developed in a number of ways. The giveaway is the taste from the paella.
Stock - As experienced paella caterers, we hand make all our own stocks. We get in fresh bones from our specialised chicken or seafood suppliers and then simmer for up to 6 hours to develop the flavours. Only water, celery, carrots, onions and parsley stalks are added with time being utilised to make a flavoursome broth which is perfect for our calasparra rice to soak up. We regularly travel with over 30 litres of fresh stock which is kept chilled in our soft thermal boxes to maintain its temperature and food safety.
Socarrat - The socarrat is the most prized part of the paella. That crispy, caramelised, almost burnt layer of rice on the base of the paella pan. This layer of rice is reflective of the intense heat from our custom paella burners, but does take some skill and practice to perfect. The socarrat is also often reserved for the special guests of the party, but we make sure everyone gets a little!
If you are considering a paella party in Sydney or having a paella function or event, please ensure you ask your paella caterer a few questions regarding their offering. Whether they make their own stocks, the type of rice they use and where they get their seafood from.
You are also most welcome to enquire with Paella amor.