Paella, the classic grilled rice dish from Spain, is usually made in a special pan, but if you don’t have one, a large frying pan can stand in with delicious results. The key to this dish is the crusty caramelized layer of rice called socarrat that forms on the bottom of the pan. Besides rice, the ingredients that go into a paella range from traditional rabbit and snails to vegetables and seafood. This version, known as paella mixta, contains seafood, Spanish chorizo, and chicken. For more Spanish flair, sip on glasses of sangría while the paella’s on the stove.
What to buy: Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with its Mexican counterpart) is a dried, smoked, ready-to-eat pork sausage. It can be mild or spicy, and is found at gourmet markets or online. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can sub in some andouille sausage.
Paella rice, sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia, is a white short-grain rice prized for its ability to stay firm when cooked. It can be found in gourmet grocery stores. If you can’t find paella rice, Arborio rice can be substituted, although the texture will be slightly softer when cooked.