With the recipes of the restaurants distinguished by Wikipaella, we generate a statistical pattern of the ingredients in the authentic Paellas. As a conclusion, we came to distinguish between basic ingredients, with presence in 100% of the recipes, and some variable ingredients, whose appearance depends on the area of the Valencian Community in which we are. Here you can check what they are and the proportion in which they are used.
EXTRA VIRGEN OLIVE OIL
The most suitable EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is one that is very fruity yet light on the pa- late to give a perfect balance when cooking. It is very important to exercise restraint with the oil, as any excess leads to greasy paellas that are not easy to digest.
It is usually present in Seafood Paellas and Rabbit and Snail Paellas. They also use it in some areas of the region to cook Valencian Paella. It is added to the fried ingredients to give them a greater intensity of flavour and to add the rich traditional values of this spice.
Water is used to turn the juices and mineral salts from the fried ingredients into a stock, which is then absorbed into the rice. The amount of water is determined by the hardness of the water and the atmospheric pressure of the place where it is cooked.
This has been historically used in Valencian Paella as it is a winter vegetable that replaced other vegetables when there were no refrigerators. Nowadays, the artichoke is an ever-present ingredient in the province of Castellón and in some populations of l’Horta Nord (València).
There is more than one variety used to make paella. One must take into account their properties and characteristics, as well as the boiling temperature, receptacle and the types of water and ingredients suited to each one.
The natural colourant par excellence for Paellas. Although it is difficult to achieve the right colour tones with saffron strands, it is not advisable to use tartrazine, the artificial colourant E-102, since it is unhealthy. A going overboard with the saffron leads to an unpleasant aftertaste of chlorine.
Present in the Seafood Paellas of some areas of the Valencian Community. It is a great source of protein, low in calories and fats. Not being a seasonal product, squid can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
The fish stock is crucial in all Seafood Paellas. For its production, we make use of throwaway fish or rockfish. Besides, it is common to use oily fish to add fat to the broth and seafood to enhance its flavour (usually galeras, crabs or heads of prawns).
Mediterranean variety of mussel, smaller, with a softer tonality and a more intense flavour. It is a scarce and very localised good, its production only takes place in Valencia and during the months without “r” (May, June, July, August). The “clóchina” is rich in vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and Omega 3.
Also known as “vaqueta”, these are found exclusively in the south-east and “Levante” region of the Iberian Peninsula. Unlike other snails that prefer damp environments, the serrano snail lives in the mountains and can be found in rugged regions where thyme, lavender and rosemary grow. Considered an exquisite delicacy, it is an essential in Rabbit and Snail Paella, while it is a third optional protein in Valencian Paella.
Rabbit is another free-range animal that has traditionally been added to the Valencian Paella. It is a white meat which is healthy and affordable. This ingredient is an essential of the Paella Valenciana and the Alicante-style Paella de Conejo y Caracoles, where the selection, preparation and cooking of the animal becomes a ritual.
Delicious scavenger crustacean present in all Seafood Paellas. A delicacy, in the case of the Red Shrimp, where the concentration of iodine and salt combines perfectly with the sweet juices that its head encloses. Such a whole explosion of marine flavour.
In some populations of Castellón, they include pork in the Valencian Paella to endow it with a more intense and characteristic flavour. It is added in small proportions and normally it replaces rabbit.
Legume present in some Paellas de Conejo y Caracoles, which adds flavour to the dish and helps the rice to be loose. Chickpeas contain a large amount of vegetable protein.
One of the ingredients with most notable character of Valencian Paella, these give a special taste and texture. The Valencian variety is blackish, whilst the Peruvian kind (from where they originate) and Turkish varieties are completely white and floury.
The ñora is a variety of pepper, small sized and ball-shaped, which is grown mainly in the region of Vega Baja (Alicante), especially in Guardamar del Segura. This ingredient, present in the majority of Seafood Paellas, provides flavour and colour. Moreover, a large amount of the paprika that is made in Spain comes from the ñora.
This is a typical ingredient of Valencian Paella in areas wherethis type of poultry is bred, such as those close to the Albufera lagoon, particularly during hunting season. It is advisable to reduce the amount of chicken by 30% and the total amount of oil added to the paella.
In many regions of the Valencian Community, mainly in the Valencian and the Seafood Paellas, it is typical to add a teaspoon of paprika to finish the sautéed tomato and immediately pour the water to avoid burning it. It is not advisable to use La Vera paprika, due to its potent smoky aroma. The Vega Baja Brand, on the other hand, is well-recommended.
Herbaceous aromatic plant with a characteristic and very accentuated flavour, we can find it in some Seafood Paellas. It is rich in folic acid and minerals. It is also known for its digestive properties.
The “queen of spices” brings a characteristic aroma and flavour to the Paella de Conejo y Caracoles. It is better to acquire it in whole grains to verify that the pepper does not contain additives and that it is natural.
FLAT GREEN BEANS
Ferradura, roiget and bajoqueta are the different names given to the varieties of flat green beans, the second fresh vegetable found in every Valencian paella.