It’s not often that we get to meet a paella “master,” but chef José Andrés and Jaleo introduce us to one of Spain’s best as part of their 6th Annual Paella Festival.
Chef Rafael Vidal has a real passion for paella—he can wax poetic on each paella’s history or why he favors short-grain rice from his native Valencia to some of the more popular market varieties.* Perhaps this is not surprising, since three generations of his family have prepared paella for kings and queens (literally!). Today through October 12, paellas based on chef Vidal’s recipes will be available at Jaleo’s three DC-area locations.
The festival offers a paella for every palate. For the traditionalist, there’s the Paella de Marisco—rice simmered in a fragrant seafood stock and topped with an eye-popping assortment of fruits de mer (okay, French major here—there must be a similar term in Spanish, non?) For the vegetarian, there’s the Paella de Verduras, which includes a garden of fresh vegetables: artichokes, leeks, cauliflower, red and yellow peppers, onions, and carrots. Pork lovers should sample the Arroz Al Horno, a colorful baked paella that features morcilla (a Spanish blood/black sausage), pork short ribs, chickpeas, and potatoes. The nonconformist will love the Arroz Negro—a deep black rice (made so by squid ink) which hides chunks of squid, monkfish, and tuna. Think you’re not a paella fan? Then try the Arroz Caldoso—a soupy rice with chicken, rabbit, artichokes, and green peas that is the perfect comfort food on a chilly day.
Want to figure out which paella pleases your palate? Make your required reservation today (at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-913-0003) for Jaleo Betheda’s Kickoff Party from 5-7 on Wednesday, October 1 and enjoy paella samples at the bar.
* It’s because it soaks up flavors better.