When I first started to do research on carbon steel cookware, I came across carbon steel Paella pans. I had no idea what a Paella pan was so I decided to do some research on the history and usages of Paella pans.
- Authentic paella pans originally came from Spain
- Paella pans are wide, round, and have shallow splayed sides
- Paella pans do not have lids
- Paella pans usually use rice as the base ingredient
- Paella pans are usually made of carbon steel, stainless steel or enamel
A Paella pan has two looped handles and may dip slightly in the middle so the oil can pool for initial sauteing. Paella pans are sometimes called Paellera pans. They are designed to cook rice in a 1/2 inch layer. The Valencians from Spain say rice should be only cooked as thick as “un ditet”, or the thickness of one finger or about 1/2 inch. The flat width surface of the Paella pan ensures that the rice contains the maximum flavor. In all cases make sure that you apply medium heat for a few minutes before applying maximum heat. This will help to prevent the warping of your pan.
The Origin and History of Paella
To help you with understanding Paella it is important to investigate the history and origin of Paella. First off, Paella is pronounced “pa-e-ya” with the “e” as in “get”.
The home of Paella is Valencia in Eastern Spain. Valencia is one of the largest natural seaports in the Mediterranean. Valencia has been one of the most important producers of rice in Spain. Rice in these areas of Spain was introduced by the Moors over 1200 years ago. The Moors were the medieval Muslim inhabitants of present-day Spain and Portugal as well as western Africa. Their culture is often referred to as Moorish.
The word “Paella” is used to describe the pan and not the dish. Paella’s origin was most likely from the Latin word for pan although it can be traced back to old Valencian.
It would be helpful to understand the Paella is popular throughout the world of global dishes. There are hundreds of different variations of Paella recipes and most cooks profess that their method of preparing Paella is the only authentic one. So no matter what recipe you choose to use, you cannot be wrong!
Paella was originally prepared by farmers and farm laborers and ate directly from the pan. They usually cooked Paella over an open wooden fire for their lunch or dinner. Sometimes, onions, beans, snails, and tomatoes were added for flavor with the rice. At times other ingredients were added to the Paella dish such as rabbit, chicken, and duck.
Today in Spain, Paella is used frequently for parties and ceremonies. Paella has never lost its popularity and many Paella cooking competitions around Spain exist today.
What are the Different Types of Paella Pans?
All authentic style Paella pans have a few common characteristics.
- They all have low splayed sides
- They all have two metal helper handles
Paella pans are made of:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
There are aluminum Paella pans, but I would stay away from them for health reasons.
Cast iron Paella pans do a great job in cooking Paella but they are very heavy. If they are used on a glass top stove you have to be careful not to drop them because they can crack the cooking surface. Cast iron pans have to be seasoned properly prior to their use. The cast-iron pan below is pre-seasoned.
Victoria SKL-313 Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Round Paella Pan with Loop Handles, 100% Non-GMO Flaxseed Oil, 13″, Black
This cast iron Paella pan is the pan to go with if you are looking for a good cast iron Paella pan. Check Amazon for the current price and take a look at the reviews when you get over there. This pan has a whopping 475 customer reviews and has 4.3 out of 5 stars. You can order this Paella pan here. Stainless steel Paella pans are easy to clean and do not need seasoning. The downside of stainless steel pans is that it is more difficult to control the heat as compared to cast iron or carbon steel Paella pans. Stainless steel is probably the most expensive of all Paella pans manufactured. If I had to pick one stainless steel Paella pan, I would choose this one from Amazon.
This Garcima Stainless Steel Paella Pan has great reviews and is reasonably priced. Check Amazon for price and availability.
Enamel-coated Paella pans are easy to clean (dishwasher safe) and do not need seasoning, much like stainless steel. Controlling the heat of enameled pans is a little easier than stainless steel. A big advantage of enamel Paella pans is that they are reasonably priced.
This Garcima 16-Inch Enameled Steel Paella Pan is my favorite enameled steel pan. Head on over to Amazon to check the availability and price. You will love this pan! Check out this great Paella pan for yourself here.
Carbon steel Paella pans are my favorite. Yes, they do need to be seasoned and oiled between uses to keep them in good condition. Most authentic Paella pans are made of carbon steel because of the ease of use. They are great for searing and for making your rice yield a golden caramelized crust. It is easy to control the temperature of Paella carbon steel pans. These pans are also probably the safest of all the available pans. They are not coated with chemicals and consist of carbon and iron.
La Paella 18″ Pata Negra Restaurant Grade Paella Pan, Large, Silver
I really like this pan because it is made of professional-grade carbon steel and is extra thick and durable. This pan is made in Spain and is reasonably priced. Check Amazon for current price and availability. This Paella pan has a 4.1 out of 5 ratings and can be found here. You won’t be disappointed!
Properly cared for, carbon steel Paella pans will last you a lifetime. In fact, you could put them in your Will!
My favorite choices are #1 Carbon steel and #2 Enameled Paella pans.
How to Care for Your Carbon Steel Paella Pan
The first rule to follow when cleaning your carbon steel Paella pan is not to use soap to clean it. The second rule is to avoid putting your pan in your dishwasher. Both of these cleaning applications remove the patina and seasoning. This is not big deal because these pans can easily be seasoned again.
Merely wipe the pan with a paper towel. If that does not remove the food on your pan, wash your pan with Kosher salt underwater. This should remove the remaining food. Do not forget to lightly oil your pan after it has dried to keep it from rusting.
Can I use my Paella pan on an induction stove? Yes, you can use your pan on an induction cooker as long as the bottom of your pan is perfectly flat.
Can I cook tomatoes in my Paella pan? Yes, you can cook tomatoes in your Paella pan but it is NOT recommended because it is possible that the seasoning will come off. Try to stay away from acidic foods in cooking with your carbon steel pan. If the seasoning does come off, it is easy to re-establish your carbon steel coating.
A Carbon Steel Pan Seasoning Method that Actually Works
Seasoning by the two methods described in this article will be easy and will produce positive predictable results. You will see, in this article, that this method of seasoning just plain works!
Carbon Steel Pans vs Non-Stick Pans
Carbon steel pans will last forever if they are properly cared for. On the other hand, pans with non-stick coatings usually require replacing every two years or when their surface is scratched. Which would you like?
Stainless Steel vs Carbon Steel Fry Pans
There are many differences between stainless steel and carbon steel cookware. As a user, I should think that the differences in usage of each of these types of cookware will be most striking. Chefs around the world prefer carbon steel cookware over stainless steel for some of the reasons pointed out in this article.
What is the Best Oil for Seasoning Carbon Steel Cookware?
There are many oils that you can use when cooking with carbon steel cookware. My preferred choice of oils is Avocado oil, Grapeseed oil, and Coconut oil. There are many reasons to select the oil that you choose to use. This article should help to make your selection a bit easier.
What is a Crepe Pan?
A crepe pan is a flat or round-bottomed pan that is shaped to effectively cook a thin crêpe or French omelet. They have shallow sides so that you can get under the crepe or omelet with a spatula or wooden crepe spoon.
Best Foods to Cook in Carbon Steel Pans
If you are looking for some of the best foods to cook in your carbon steel cookware you have come to the right place. I have included several foods that you could easily cook including, eggs, steak, vegetables, cornbread, pizza, and much more. Explore the wonderful world of cooking with carbon steel cookware.