Arroz a banda. A typical recipe in Alicante

Arroz a banda. A typical recipe in Alicante

Paella is to Valencia what rice is to  Alicante. This is a battle ‘with no blood spilled’  waged between the two provinces of Valencia and Alicante.  It’s said that paella is from Valencia.  There is no doubt about that.  But the best rice dishes are made in the province of Alicante.  And that is also true.

Be that as it may, we’ve decided to tell you about our recipe for ‘arroz a banda’ which we’ve learned from our mothers and grandmothers.

Fortunately,  we are right in the middle of the two.  Let’s explain. We are halfway between the the rice which is cultivated in Valencia and  the magnificent fish which is caught in the ports of Vila-Joiosa.  The situation of our Masía El Altet is really privileged.

So, what we’ve done is take the best of both worlds to make this ‘arroz a banda’.  And we’re certain you’re dying to know how it’s done.  So let’s begin:

Ingredients for the rice  (4 people)

  • For the fish stock: rock fish, monkfish tail, cod’s head . Add a potato, onion and salt.
  • 2 water tumblers of rice
  • 4 water tumblers of stock
  • Cuttlefish
  • 8 prawns
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • A clove of garlic
  • Paprika
  • Saffron

 Preparation

The success of this dish lies in the stock.  The more flavour it has, the better the rice will be.  You have to put in all of the fish (in the area of Alicante, it is known as ‘morralla’) and leave it to boil a couple of hours.  First of all, bring it to the boil and then after, keep it on a strong heat.  It doesn’t make any difference if there’s too much.  The next day, you can make delicious noodles, for example.

Once you’ve made the stock, you’ll have to:

  1. Put a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil into a paella pan.  Sauté the prawns and take them off the gas
  2. Add the onion and lightly fry.Add the tomato and then the cuttlefish. Repeat the operation  until it’s all well sautéed. 
  3. Now add the rice and lightly fry it.
  4. In 3 or 4 minutes, it’s time to add the stock. Experience tells us that you have to add twice as much stock as rice.
  5. Now, all you’ve got to do is keep an eye on the heat until the liquid is absorbed. This can take about 20 minutes.
  6. Finally, put he prawns on top.

And how is it served? Well, in both the restaurants in our province and at home, it’s usual to put the paella dish in the middle and it will be eaten with great relish.  Do you know why?  Because it’s a sign of friendship, of sharing what you have with your friends.

Something we mustn’t forget forget. It’s very common for the ‘arroz a banda’ to be eaten accompanied by ‘all i oli’.  You know what that is. Olive oil and crushed  garlic.  How fiery  the ‘all i oli’ is only depends on you.

 

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