When someone says Spanish Cuisine the first dish that comes to nearly everyone’s mind is Paella. And yes, you can find Paella in virtually every city, village and taberna. Historically, Spain was divided into small kingdoms; each one with its own language, culture and cuisine. Today, Spain is divided into 17 Autonomous Communities, each one with its own unique cuisine.
Valencia, in Eastern Spain, is the undisputed home of paella. It is one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean and has been one of the most important rice-producing areas in Spain since rice was introduced by the Moors over 1200 years ago. Paella has ancient roots, but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century near the Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. Although many people regard Paella as the national dish of Spain, Valencian’s regard paella as more than just a dish – it is also one of their most identifying symbols.
There are as many different Paella recipes as there are Spanish Mothers and Chefs. Paella de Marisco (seafood), Paella de Verduras (Vegetarian), Paella Mixta (freestyle) and Paella Valencia are the most common dishes. Paella Valencia traditional will be served with short grain rice, green beans, snails, chicken or rabbit, chorizo and of course Saffron and Pimenton de la Vera. Below is my Paella Recipe, and like I said, every Paella recipe is different. Mine is unusual in that I cook the delicate fish separately from the rice, because I want the fish to be as fresh and light as possible.
Lenny’s Paella Valencia Mixta printable recipe
Pairing with Paella is easy – a lighter white like Albarino or Verdejo or a softer red like Rioja or many of the great Garnacha (Grenache) Spain has to offer. Today, I am pleased to show a new one we just discovered – a beautiful and affordable red made from 120 year old vine Garnacha from Navarra.
2009 Rafael Reverte Cistum Garnacha Navarro $14.99
“The 2009 Cistum was sourced from 120-year-old ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines aged for 6 months in new French oak. Cedar, pencil lead, Asian spices, incense, and black cherry liqueur aromas are some of the elements leading to a voluminous, focused, layered wine with enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This remarkable example of old-vine Garnacha will be at its best from 2014 to 2024.”
92 Points – The Wine Advocate
In the twelfth century, the Cistercian monks of the Monastery of Fitero planted their first vines of Grenache and began the preparation of a unique and exceptional wine. Rafael Reverte has recovered Pie Franco vineyard planted in 1899, before the step of Phylloxera, to produce a wine of legend within reach of very few: “Cistum”.
Taste this wine Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm
Taste Lenny’s Paella Wednesday April 5th 6 pm with Special Guest Victor Palencia of Palencia Winery!