How to choose a good paella
Paella is a classic recipe of our cuisine that has become a common resource in all homes, especially for weekdays and family gatherings. Rice and fideuás are perfect recipes to satisfy everyone, and many times even be able to eat with a single dish.
To prepare a paella you need 2 essential things: good food and a good paella (or paellera, as the manufacturers say). Today we analyze why it is worth investing in a good paella pan, which paellas we recommend and the differences between the Carbone paella and the De Buyer Mineral paella.
Benefits of having a good paella
To make rice or fideuá you need to distribute the food very well to make a very thin layer, which you will cook with broth. This implies having a large surface area, even when cooking for just a few, which makes paella much larger than the gas, vitro or induction disc most of the time. Why do I mention this? Well, because a good distribution of the temperature throughout the utensil is vital for a homogeneous cooking of these recipes, especially when the food (rice or noodles) is so susceptible to quickly absorbing the water from the hot broth (that is why it has to rise temperature homogeneously).
Disadvantages of a low quality paella
There are many paellas (or paella pans) on the market, many of them very thin and simple. The drawbacks of poor quality paellas are:
- They are extremely thin , which means, on the one hand, that the utensil does not have time to distribute the heat correctly , causing the heat to quickly concentrate in the center and become very hot at that point, burning the rice or noodles, and not many times not even boiling at the ends, and making the food there raw.
- Thinness also implies deformation : many of those simpler paellas deform with the heat, making them unstable and the juices concentrate in one part of the paella pan, not achieving (once again) a homogeneous cooking.
- Use of unhealthy materials : there are paella pans on the market that claim to be made of iron, but they may be low quality alloys , with the presence of heavy materials such as lead or cadmium in the alloy, undesirable for health. On the other hand, there are very simple non-stick paella pans, which will lead you to not distribute the heat well or not last long with their non-stick properties in good condition.
- Another thing to take into account in the simplest paella pans is the enamel: there are paella pans that are enameled (painted or covered with enamel) with enamels that may not be very suitable for health or for taking a lot of heat. In this sense, it is important to get a paella pan from recognized brands, which care about the use of quality materials.
Our recommendation when choosing paella
The first thing you should decide is if you want a non-stick or iron paella pan.
If you are looking for the comfort of having a paella pan that is not excessively heavy, distributes the heat well and ensures that the food is not going to stick, opt for a non-stick paella pan. A good option for this is the Efficient non-stick paella pan from BRA : it has a quality non-stick coating, which will last a long time in good condition if you take care of it* and it has removable handles, making it completely suitable for the oven. All this, with a really high price-quality ratio.
For those who are looking for traditional cooking and do not care about the weight of the utensil, we certainly recommend choosing an iron paella pan. In the store we have two from De Buyer with which you get fabulous results and are one of the most popular paellas, for good reason: the Carbone paella pan and the Mineral paella pan . They require certain considerations when it comes to maintaining them (since iron is easier for them to stick or rust), but when you get used to them and see how easy everything is, there is no color in the results and uses that they offer. you give.
From left to right: Efficient non-stick paella pan from BRA , Carbone paella pan and the De Buyer Mineral paella pan .
Both the Mineral and Carbone paella pans are made from an iron plate that they shape. They have a considerable thickness (which makes them somewhat heavy), but the great advantages they have are :
- The thickness of the paella pan helps to distribute the heat better, and also to retain it, keeping the paella hot for longer as well.
- They are made with natural materials, free of non-stick.
- It is a completely traditional cooking, and you get the most fabulous flavor results.
- They are eternal paella pans, they will last you a lifetime in the kitchen, because there is nothing in them that can be damaged (the iron darkens, but it is part of the curing process, they are pieces that will last you forever).
- Both are oven safe.
Differences between the Mineral paella pan and the De Buyer Carbone
The two De Buyer paella pans are very similar, but the main differences to consider when deciding on one or the other are:
- The handles: in the Mineral paella pan they are made of steel and they look more elegant, but the truth is that those of the Carbone are very comfortable to hold.
- The Mineral only exists in the 32 cm size (one of the most common formats in paella pans, if not the most); Instead the Carbone offers many diameters to choose from (from 24cm to 50cm).
- Curing: the Mineral paella pan comes with a natural beeswax coating. This coating is an organic component that allows you to make a simple curing with oil (before using the paella for the first time, you will only have to heat a finger of oil for about 10 minutes and remove it, to fill in any pores it may have and prevent sticking and rusting) -you can see how to do the curing in a Mineral here . In the case of the Carbone, it does not require any prior treatment and you have to do a traditional curing, first by boiling potato peelings in it and, the second step, boiling a finger of oil ( here you will see how to do this curing).**
- The % of iron in each paella pan: practically pure iron is used to make the Mineral paella pan (greater than 99% iron), while an alloy of minerals is used for the Carbone, it is not as pure as the previous one. Despite this, it is more than 90% pure iron, and it has no implication given that paella pans, unlike frying pans, are not utensils that we use on a daily basis (in which we want to use the most natural utensils always possible).
- Due to this issue of finishes and qualities of the handles, materials and treatment with beeswax, the Mineral paella pan is somewhat more expensive than the Carbone.
*By taking care of a non-stick paella we mean: do not use metal utensils to cook in it, wash by hand and heat over low-medium heat at first, until the entire surface has been heated.
** Curing paella pans is really easy, don't be scared. If you see the videos to which we have left a link, you will see it. It's just a step or two before first use, but it's hassle-free and you'll have it done in a few minutes. With this, you will achieve a natural protection in the paella pans that will help you prevent your rice and fideuás from sticking, and it will also be a protection against oxidation.
¿El proceso de cura hay que hacerlo cada vez que se utilice?
Recomendáis entonces tener una paella más grande que el tamaño del fuego de la placa de inducción?
¿La paellera de Le Creuset está descatalogada?