Not only paella: these are the 6 best recipes of Valencian cuisine
The gastronomy of the Valencian Community goes far beyond the paella. Although it is undeniable that rice is its most prominent ingredient – and is prepared in many ways throughout the region -, there are many other dishes worth discovering. And you can use portable propane pizza ovens for more recipes.
The Valencian cuisine is intimately linked to the products of its coast, but also of the garden and the countryside, which make up a gastronomy where there is both sea and mountains, and in which stews of all kinds (the popular olletas) alternate, as well as cold dishes and a great repertoire of sweets.
This is a review of the iconic dishes of Valencian cuisine and its best recipes.
It is usually called the “ratatouille of Valencia”, but the Valencian titaina of Cabanyal deserves to be recognized with its own name. The genuine recipe is prepared with tonya de sorra, tuna belly tuna salting that can be difficult to find outside this land. But it is such a simple and delicious dish that it is also worth trying with fresh fish, also with bonito when it is in season, or even with good canning.
- Ingredients: 1 kg of ripe tomatoes, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt dessert, 1 tablespoon of sugar dessert, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 75 g of pine nuts and 400 g of tuna.
- Preparation: We start by grating the tomatoes. Rinse, and drain the peppers, chop them and do the same with the ajitos. We heat the oil in the clay pot, we throw the pine nuts and garlic, when they start to take color since it is very important that they do not burn us, we add the tuna, brown and reserve. We put the peppers to fry, but carefully do not get too much, they should not be soft, because then they will be done with the tomato, we take out and reserve. Now it is the turn of the tomato that we fry in the same oil that will already have all the previous flavors. Cook 30 minutes over medium-low heat until all the water is reduced. Add the salt and sugar, add the peppers, tuna, and garlic. Leave 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
The esgarraet is the Valencian version of a cold dish present throughout the Mediterranean in which roasted vegetables are mixed with oil and fish. The Valencian esgarraet is as simple as it is effective. How could the combination of roasted pimiento, salted cod, garlic, and oil fail?
- Ingredients: 250g of roasted pepper in strips (the meat of about two peppers), 50-60g of salted cod crumbs, 3 cloves of garlic, 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- preparation:The trick to get a good esgarraet is patience, not so much when preparing it, because it is difficult to lose it in such a simple process, but to wait for it to macerate well, the cod is hydrated and the flavors are integrated, because it looks so good from the first moment it costs to resist putting the fork in it. The first step is to roast the peppers until the skin separates from the meat. We let them cool, we peel them and cut them into strips. If we want we can use them by boat, but look for them to be of quality because the final result will thank you. We also chop the garlic cloves (without mincing them too much) and we just crumbled the cod. Finally, we mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add the olive oil. We stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for several hours If it is from one day to another better than better. We serve with abundant bread.
3. Tomato Coca
This spreading food on a base with flour as the main ingredient is something very European. Pizza for the Italians, ask for the Turks, flammkuchen for the Germans, lahmacun for the Armenians or quiche for the French. In Spain, the area of Levante is the owner of our version of this type of production, with coca as the protagonist.
- Ingredients: 125 ml of water (for the dough), 90 g of extra virgin olive oil (for the dough), 100 ml of beer (for the dough), 425 g of wheat flour (for the dough), 500 g of natural tomato, 1 red pepper, 1 small onion, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 cans of tuna in oil, 20 g of pine nuts, salt, sugar.
- Preparation: To prepare the tomato coca we have to make two elaborations, on the one hand, the dough and on the other the sofrito. We begin with the latter to cool slightly before spreading it on the dough.
Peel and chop the onion. We clean the pepper and cut it into small dice. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan and poach both vegetables over low heat for 5 minutes. Grate the tomato, add to the pan, season and add a little sugar to compensate for the acidity. Cook for 10 minutes, remove and let cool. To prepare the dough we pour the water, oil, and beer in a deep bowl. Add a pinch of salt and add the flour little by little. Mix, stirring with a spoon initially and kneading on a clean work surface to obtain a homogeneous mass. We spread on two baking sheets, which is very thin, cover with the sauce and bake in the oven, preheated to 180 °C, for 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of the oven, remove the trays and distribute the chopped hard-boiled egg and the tuna in oil drained between them. We also spread the pine nuts. We introduce again in the oven and cook 10 more minutes. We check that the base of the cocas is well-cooked before removing and serving.
4. Valencian Paella
- Ingredients: 1 and a half kilograms of pump rice, 1 chicken, 1/2 rabbit, 1/2 kilo of “bachoqueta” (flat green beans), 1/2 kilo of “garrofó” (large flat beans). Optionally, 6 alchachofas and 1/2 kilo of snails. Oil, salt, paprika, crushed tomatoes, saffron and some sprigs of rosemary.
- preparation: Any paella worth its salt starts with a good stir-fry. In a paella, the bigger the better, the chicken, the rabbit, the beans, the artichokes and the snails are fried in abundant oil (the one you see in the photo has no jar because it is not season and the frozen one is not the same), seasoning with a little salt and paprika towards the end. When it is well browned add the crushed tomato and sauté. With the sofrito ready you must add the water. The proportions depend a lot on the fire, the heat it makes, the degree of humidity and how large the paella is, but to begin with, a good proportion is to add three times the volume of water than rice, although it is the experience which will make you adjust and perfect these amounts, which you will end up doing by eye, as did the aunt and mother of my girlfriend, who were in charge of this paella (although the tradition marks that it is the man of the house who prepares it). Now we put some more logs in the fire so that it rises in power and the broth is well done for 25 or 30 minutes. It is a good time to throw the saffron or, failing that, the paella seasoning (the most popular is “the paellador), which has salt, garlic, coloring, and a little saffron. Then we add the rice” on the easel “( diagonally) and we distribute it through the paella, we cook between 17 and 20 minutes, although here the time is marked again by the grain of rice and the power of the fire, which we must allow consuming, it has to be completely dry and loose. recommendation for first-timers is that you have a saucepan with boiling water next to it, in case you have to add water. Halfway through cooking, we can also put some sprigs of rosemary, which we will remove before serving. Finally, it is advisable to let the paella rest for a few minutes covered with a large cloth or newspaper – it is not good because with the moisture some ink can be released, but I have seen it used throughout my life – before serving it and receiving the applause of those present.
The Pella is undoubtedly the star dish of Valencian cuisine. Although his orthodox recipe did not begin to be fixed until 1950 when the Valencians speak today of the dish they refer to its version with ten very specific ingredients, and a ritual of elaboration that goes through making the broth in the paella itself.
5. Turkey with balls
This typical stew from Alicante and Vega Baja (also from Murcia) used to be prepared at Christmas or other parties when it was customary to sacrifice a turkey, although now it is more common to do it with country chicken. The “balls” – basically, meatballs – appear in other stews, and even rice dishes, but this is their most typical place.
- Ingredients: 600 g of minced beef and pork, 200 g of chopped chicken drumsticks, two sausages, a piece of bacon, 30 g of pine nuts, 1 loaf of sliced loaf, 4 eggs, 1 sliced poultry chicken, two rolled garlic cloves, 40 g of chopped almonds, 30 ml of concentrated tomato, 2 bay leaves, 100 ml of white wine, strands of saffron, 50 ml of cognac, polo broth, 15 ml of lemon juice, black pepper ground, 3 spelled and snapped potatoes, extra virgin olive oil and parsley fresco.
Preparation: We can prepare the balls in advance and thus accelerate cooking on the day of the stew. We will need good bread, “from town”, which has a couple of days, chopped or grated by hand. Failing that, the usual hard bread soaked in milk. Start by mixing all the meat in a large bowl, removing the sausage from the guts. Add salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and eggs. Mix everything well and start kneading until they are integrated. Add the pine nuts (we can reserve a part for the stew), a splash of lemon juice and bread. Combine well until you have a spongy dough, which withstands the formation. You have to go a little by eye to adjust the texture; Depending on the mixture of meat, the type of bread and eggs we may need to add one more egg or some more bread. Form the balls with damp hands, generous. Fry in batches so that they are browned on the outside, without cooking them completely inside. Freeze, when they are cold, those that we will not need in the stew. For the final dish, season the chicken chopped with the skin – better if we separate thighs and thighs, although in this case, I did not do it – and brown in a pot or large casserole with oil. Remove and reserve. Brown the garlic with the almonds in the same oil, adding pine nuts if we have reserved part. When they are golden brown, watching that they do not burn, add the tomato, bay leaf, and wine, scratching the bottom so that it takes on a good flavor. Crush with the spatula to chop the sauce a little. Return the chicken to the casserole, water with the cognac and add broth or water, without covering completely. Add the saffron and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the clicked potatoes, the balls, and a little more broth. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender and the potatoes are very sweet about 40-45 minutes. Water with a splash of lemon at the end.
6. Rice to band
The brown rice is a seafood dish, typical of the whole Levante (from Murcia to Barcelona) that starts from a fish stew, usually made with blackberry, lady, and potatoes. With that broth, two dishes were prepared: the rice separately (a band) and a stew with the potato and the shredded fish. In Castellón it is typical to serve it all together, although nowadays it is more common to prepare the rice directly, without the main stew, which today is secondary.
- Ingredients: 4 rice cubes (about 260g), 12 small fish stock, one rice cuttlefish, 8 medium-sized prawns, 1 onion, 2 ripe tomatoes, salt, a clove of garlic, paprika and saffron.
- Ingredients for the broth: Morralla (rock fish, monkfish tail, cod head …), a potato, an onion, salt
- preparation: We start with the broth, which we will prepare with rockfish and the tails and heads that we have been keeping (monkfish, cod, hake …), as well as a potato, an onion, and a little salt. In a paella with a little oil, brown the prawns. We remove them and add the onion, which we brown over medium heat, then we also add the grated tomato, the cuttlefish and a clove of minced garlic, sautéing until the tomato is done well. On the other hand, we peel the prawns and crush the skins together with a little broth, strain it and add it to the broth. Now add the rice to the paella, salt, a little paprika and saffron and, of course, the boiling broth, in an approximate ratio of three to one with respect to the rice (three saucepans for each of the rice) and cook for 19 minutes, until it is dry and loose, incorporating the peeled prawns at the end of cooking. A good trick to make it perfect is to have some boiling broth next to it, in case we see that it falls short in the middle of cooking. Finally, let stand a few minutes before serving.