If you’re reading this, then like me, you are a big fan of paella. Do you also want to know how to cook a great paella? I run paella cooking classes at Savour Academy in Barcelona, where I teach you the art of this classic Spanish dish. In 2022 I earned my diploma from Escuela Hofmann, the only culinary school with a Michelin star in Barcelona. The course, specialising in paellas and arroces (rice dishes) meant that inevitably afterwards, a few friends asked me:
"What's the Secret to a Good Paella?"
At first, I thought it was hard to sum up all of this paella cooking experience as just one thing, one secret. But the more I thought about it, I realised that I now have a mantra that I teach, for making a good paella. As I tell my classes, the sum of all parts, the secret, is: Protect the Rice!
Paella Cooking, Explained
For those of you who are “new” to paella cooking, I’ll explain a little bit about this. A paella is made up, roughly, of three parts. Firstly you have the stock or caldo, which, depending on the paella, could be as complicated as fumet de marisco (seafood stock) or as simple as water (like in the Valencian paella). Then, the sofrito base of the paella, which forms the powerful savoury flavour of the Mediterranean, along with the saffron, of course. And finally, the protein (or plant-based) elements of the paella, be they Valencian (chicken, pork), Marisco (seafood), a combination, or vegan. The way in which we cook all of these different parts of the paella ensures that we in fact, protect the rice!
Not Forgetting, of Course...
Those of you who “know” paella cooking are probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned socarrat yet –
“But wait, isn’t socarrat the secret to a good paella?”
Socarrat, meaning “to singe” in Catalan, is the beloved toasted, crunchy char we get at the bottom of the pan. Revered by fans of paella, this is an important element for sure, and at Savour Academy I will show you the best socarrat technique to finish your paella. I repeat, to finish your paella. The journey of getting there, well, I’ll tell you all about that – and more – during paella class.
My Bespoke Paella Cooking Class can be booked as a private class and combined with my other experiences at Savour Academy. Get in touch with your request, I look forward to it!