December 15, 2010
A Paella Pan:
Kitchen equipment is a difficult gift, because you have to know someone pretty well before you know what they might need. But a paella pan is a safe bet: Few people have them, and with the new focus on Spanish food, most cooks wish they did. But which pan to buy?
You can buy enormously expensive stainless steel paella pans in most kitchen stores, but I wouldn’t; although the cheaper carbon steel pans require care to keep them from rusting, most people won’t make paella often enough to justify the high cost of stainless. So I’d stick with tradition. You need to give some thought to size as well: it’s tempting to buy one of the giant pans that will feed a crowd, but most home stoves won’t accommodate a pan larger than 20 inches, and if it’s going into a home oven, 18 inches is pretty much the limit.
When I give paella pans, I usually add a bag of Bomba rice (wonderful stuff that absorbs three times its volume in liquid, making it perfect for paella), and as much saffron as I can afford. Nobody ever has too much saffron.
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