by Andrew Bender
In Spanish, ir de paella can mean both “to go for paella” and “to celebrate.” Small wonder that paella is the national dish of the country of ¡Olé! From a base of short-grain rice, patiently simmered in a broad, shallow pan, paella lends itself to infinite possibilities with vegetables, seafood, meats, and spices. So it’s perfect for summer entertaining.
Paella (Phaidon, $39.95, July), the cookbook by Spanish chef Alberto Herraiz of Fogón restaurant in Paris, is 108 recipes strong. Part of paella’s appeal is its flexibility, he writes. “In times gone by, there were no written recipes, and dishes evolved.” So while paella valenciana is an 18th-century classic (with garlic, green beans, butterbeans, artichoke, tomato, saffron, peppercorns, and chicken, duck, or rabbit), modern recipes are inspired by Argentina, France, Morocco, India, and the United States. Herraiz includes white paellas, riceless paellas (substituting noodles, barley, bulgur, or quinoa) and — who knew? — dessert paellas.
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