I had my first taste of Spanish Paella at the beautiful home of my best Cuban friends, Tino and Sylvia Mendez. It was an amazing treat, and I don't think that I've had better Paella at any restaurant since!
Paella originated in its present form in the 1800's in Valencia on the Eastern coast of Spain. Made with rice, garlic, onions, saffron, olive oil, often shrimp, scallops, mussels, chicken, veggies and many other ingredients particular to the chef, it is cooked in a flat pan over a fire. The rice is full-bodied and an amazing golden yellow color.
Here is a Classic Seafood recipe.
You may never reach the level of Sylvia's cuisine, but you can't help but enjoy this dish on National Spanish Paella Day, however you might make it.
But remember! Do not stir it all together. Let it simmer, and crackle. PLACE the scallops, ARRANGE the shrimp and whatever else you might desire. And you can add your favorite Spanish wine to make it a true party!
Come to think of it, this is a great ALTERNATE image for immigration to the Americas. We were once called a Melting Pot, as we "melted together" into a homogeneous whole with a common culture. Maybe now we can be a Paella, where we arrange ourselves in peace and order and share the flavor, but not lose our individual nature in the process!
Here is a wonderful musical example of this happening in music - Sting - Buena Vista Social Club!
Enjoy National Spanish Paella Day!