Considering getting paella catering in Sydney? Here’s everything you need to know about ordering this famous Spanish dish.
What it is
This is a traditional and unpretentious Spanish rice-based dish served in a pan. Flavours tend to include saffron, garlic, tomato, lemon and parsley. For protein, your options include chicken, seafood or chorizo.
Before there was paella catering in Sydney, the dish was concocted and enjoyed by folks over in Valencia, Spain. It emerged thanks to the irrigation systems developed by the Romans, which allowed rice to grow and become a stable part of the diet by the 15th century. It’s believed that the dish originated as an open-air meal served by lake Albufera, where water vole was used in place of chicken.
Over time, the dish evolved to become a bit more sophisticated, with the Valencians adding other ingredients – such as duck, beans, rabbit and paprika – to their pans. The dish began to spread to other locations, and a seafood variety soon emerged near the Mediterranean shores. The traditional seafood dish has the seafood still in its shell, although other versions exist where the shell is removed before it reaches the table.
Paella catering in Sydney slowly emerged after the Spanish began to migrate to Australia in the late 1800s – the first Spanish restaurant in the country opened in Melbourne in 1860. By the 1950s, Spanish migrants were flocking in, and Spanish food became very popular across the nation!
As for the name itself? It’s literally Catalan for ‘pan’. The word we use today emerged in 1840 in a newspaper article, and the rest is history!
How it’s prepared
Paella catering in Sydney takes many hours, from preparing the vegetables to cooking the food. The essential part of making the dish involves using the right pan – it should be a large, thin, round one. This type of pan helps to produce the sofrito – the flavour-rich sauce made of tomatoes, olive oil and onion (though actual ingredients used depend on the region making it) that forms the base of the dish. Next, fresh, local, premium ingredients must be used to ensure the quality and taste of paella catering in Sydney, and it is crucial that the right type of rice is used. Short-grained rice is required to absorb the sofrito whilst retaining firmness – mushy rice is a great way to ruin the dish.
One of the key signs of a great dish is the quality of the rice layer. If it is cooked right, it will be slightly crispy and toasted (without being burnt), and will earn the name of ‘socarrat’. This is produced by raising the heat during the last stages of cooking – the rice should start to crackle. Another sign is how deep the rice layer is; it should be quite thin so that you know the rice has absorbed the sofrito.
How it’s eaten
Once the food is cooked through, Paella catering in Sydney is traditionally served to guests in the pan it was cooked in – on the centre of the dining table, of course. Place a bowl next to it for guests to place their seafood shells if necessary. The dish should be divided up into equal sections. Then, guests are free to eat straight out of the pan! Feel free to squeeze lemon on top and pair it with some white wine if you’re feeling up for it.
Paella catering in Sydney is designed to be shared; it is the perfect dish for bringing people together and putting a smile on everyone’s faces.