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Paella!: Spectacular Rice Dishes From Spain Hardcover


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Paella!: Spectacular Rice Dishes From Spain + Tapas (Revised): The Little Dishes of Spain + The Foods and Wines of Spain
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (May 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805056238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805056235
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Determined to rescue paella from what the author calls its "worldwide ignominy," Casas (Tapas) offers 58 enticingly authentic recipes, most drawn from Spain's eastern coast. Cooks weary of risotto, or those simply tired of all the stirring it entails, will be attracted to the intriguing combinations of flavors that can be achieved with this other Mediterranean approach to short-grained rice. The grain imported from Spain is best, says Casas, but Arborio is more than acceptableAand while a paella pan is similarly preferred, a shallow casserole dish also works well. Preparation is within easy reach for anyone: saut? ingredients briefly, add rice, add hot liquid, boil for several minutes, then pop in the oven to bake. Dishes include Scallop and Wild Mushroom Paella; Golden Rice with Shrimp and Fresh Tuna; Crusted Paella with Pork, Chicken and Sausage; and Vegetable Paella with Spicy Garlic Sauce. Casas also includes paellas with squid, rabbit and duck. There is even a Seafood Pasta Paella from Valencia that calls for no rice at all. The balance of the meal is covered with 25 recipes for tapas and first courses and another 25 for such desserts as Chocolate Flan with Almond-Flavored Chocolate Sauce and White Sangria Sorbet with Melon and Kiwi. With Casas's demystifying help, good paella will be a revelation to many.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Casas says paella is her passion, and she's determined to show Americans what a "glorious" dish an authentic paella can be. Rather than the usual jumble of shellfish, chicken, and sausage, she prefers versions that feature one particular ingredient. She emphasizes the fact that the rice isn't an afterthought; rather, "the texture and flavor of the rice is everything." She includes recipes for more than 50 different types, from the classic Black Squid Paella ("one of the paella greats") to Vegetable Paella with Spicy Garlic Sauce; there are also recipes for tapas, desserts, and some delicious sauces and dips. Casas is well known for her authoritative books on Spanish food and wine (e.g., Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain, LJ 3/15/96), and most collections will want her latest.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Karl Voiles on September 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After trying a couple of paellas from this book, I have to agree with the person who criticized the recommended cooking method. Baking the seafood for 20 minutes ruins it, rendering the shrimp tough and other seafood dry and tasteless. I had much better success with stovetop cooking, adding the seafood during the last five minutes or so. Perhaps baking the paella would work better if the seafood was added later rather than earlier. Ingredient lists and proportions are right on the mark, with the resulting flavors garnering highest marks.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Hugh McMillan on February 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Although there are many varieties of paella with regional ingredients there is one indispensable ingredient; short grain Spanish rice. The best part of paella is without any question the "socarrat" which is the toasty caramelized layer of rice which sticks to the bottom of the paella pan when the dish is properly prepared on top of the stove or better yet, the grill. One can not make proper paella in an oven, convection or otherwise. The rice will be a soupy mess or dried out but never yield the desireable crunchy "socarrat".

"Paella Paella" is a far superior book although a great recipe for learning the technique of paella preparation can be found at the Fine Cooking magazine website. After you make that once then you may use whatever ingredients you wish to combine to make fantastic paella. Be creative.

Is it worth the trouble to find the proper pan, Spanish rice, saffron and olive oil? Absolutely! "Socarrat" Rules!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If the Spanish chefs Ms. Casas credits for many of these recipes are as good as she extols, then their secrets are safe. You will have to go to Spain to taste their paellas, because they obviously did not divulge their mysteries to Ms. Casas.
I followed these recipes to the letter. I even went to my local Hispanic market to buy the right rice. Six recipes I tried-and six times they were perfect failures.
Her oven cooking method toughens meat (I tried beef and chicken), and vaporizes seafood (mussels and clams dry up and disappear). Rice is both hard on top because it is baked to a crisp in the oven, and mushy below because the liquid is not simmered away fast enough. Vegetables become soft and taste boiled.
I could go on and on about the shortcomings of this book, but that would be overkill.
Nevertheless, I gave a 1-star rating to this book because the list of ingredients is helpful. If you already know how to cook paella, Ms. Casas' ingredients will give you a great dish even though her cooking method will not.
Suffice it to say, if you search for the earthy, primal, unforgettable taste of Spanish paella, don't look for the recipes here. I have discovered other cookbooks whose recipes replicate the kind of paella I had in Spain. Try them instead. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Dawes on September 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Penelope Casas has come up with yet another indispensable addition to anyone's library of Spanish cuisine. This book greatly expands our knowledge of Spain's great rice dishes and I highly recommend it. Although many paella and arroz recipes seem daunting, if you follow Ms. Casas instructions you will find that, except for prepping the dishes, good paellas are surprisingly easy to make, colorful on the table, and usually popular with everyone. These enjoyable dish can even be reheated by micro-wave the next day, if indeed, there is any left. (My advice is to make double the amount you think you will need.) Making paella is a great family endeavor and the dish is a great dinner party, picnic, or outdoor barbecue dish. The variety of rice dishes in Casas's book gives an idea of the great diversity of Spanish cuisine.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I love to cook, but have always been intimidated by paella. I'm not sure if it was the special pan or the expensive saffron- but I never tried it until I bought Paella! Our first attempt was not only delicious, but down-right memorable. Casas explains each ingredient and process clearly, indicating substitutions for more familiar ingredients where appropriate. Don't wait! I made my first paella without a paella pan or saffron. Maybe Santa will bring both because I'm certainly not going to stop making paella!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Casas seems to have the mistaken idea that all long-grain rice is "converted". It's not.
Also, I don't believe that a recipe that cooks for 10 minutes in a gas oven would take 20 in an electric, "even when (the electric is) properly calibrated". Heat is heat, unless the oven is a convection model. Maybe she ought'a calibrate her GAS oven.
THE HERITAGE OF SPANISH COOKING, by Alicia Rios and Lourdes March, tells you how to cook a paella on top of the stove, and by extension, the grill, like they do in Spain and New Orleans.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Craig Kenneth Bryant on June 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Two stars for the author's passion, and because the ingredient lists, at least, really look worth trying. But as for "rescuing" paella from "worldwide ignominy" (as Penelope Casas immodestly gives her objective...and where exactly is paella regarded with "ignominy", anyway?), this book must be regarded as a failure.

Paella, like risotto, is about technique as much as ingredients, and the techniques presented in this book are baffling. How can an author sing the praises of tradition as loudly as Casas does in her introduction, and then devote the entire book to her frankly non-traditional technique that bakes paella in the oven for 20 minutes? With 50+ recipes, you'd think she'd find time to at least give one recipe for paella cooked over wood fire or on a charcoal grill, or using one of the special-built paella burners you can buy, or even just cooking the entire dish on the stovetop. Alas, this is not to be--Casas has her oven technique, and essentially repeats it 50 times with different lists of ingredients. This is scarcely believable, but there is is--she has photographs of paella cooked over fires in Spain, and even tells you "if paella is not made over a wood-burning fire, you are not likely to achieve a socarrat" (the crusty, almost-but-not-quite burnt layer of rice that makes paella lovers swoon), but can spare scarcely one paragraph to give you a few scanty notes on cooking over a fire. The crowning glory of paella--written off utterly in a cookbook devoted to the dish. Ridiculous.

Another sad deficiency is the photography, which is scanty and black-and-white.
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