~Spicy Andalusian Seafood Paella~

My first authentic Paella experience was in the Spanish Andalusian city of Seville. I loved how the Paella had a spicy taste from Cayenne pepper which paired perfectly with the sweet & smoky flavors of Pimenton Spanish paprika & wood fire roasted Paquillo peppers. I used authentic Spanish ingredients which I brought back from Spain this past June like the Zaffarania Azafran Saffron from Granada, Nunez di Prado extra virgin olive oil from Cordoba, ‘La Odalisca Pimenton- sweet smoky paprika from Murcia. I wanted to give my Paella an authentic taste which takes me back to beautiful Andalusia everytime I re-create this recipe at home.

Many cultures have rice dishes that have become famous around various different culinary cultures around the world.  Arroz con Pollo from Spain, Biryani from India, Jambalaya from Louisiana, Pilaf or Pulao from the Middle East and Risotto from Italy.

Rice originated in Asia and, along with pasta, was brought to the Mediterranean by the Moors. When the Moors invaded Spain, they brought both products with them. The Moorish casseroles of rice and fish established the custom of eating rice in Spain. By the 15th century, when Spanish Catholics expelled the Muslims from Spain, rice had become a national staple.

I was particularly interested in what the Moors ate and how they influence the culinary history of Spain. The occupation of the Moors of Iberia had a great influence on the culinary development of Spain. Moors were the ones who introduced rice and they also brought with them & grew  figs, citrus fruits, many of the eastern spices like cumin and aniseed. They used Almonds & dried fruits in both savory & sweet dishes. Moors were cultured & sophisticated people who brought new way of life to Spain.

As I walked around the great city of the Moors called Granada and visited Alhambra Palace, I was in awe of what Moors had left behind and how lavishly and peacefully they lived.

Beautiful Andalusian City of Granada which is located on the Foothills of Sierra Nevada Mountains

Alhambra Palace~ A Lavish Moorish Palace~Truly a Marvelous Treasure that Moors have left behind.

On a hill overlooking Granada, the Alhambra. A sprawling palace-citadel that comprised royal residential quarters, court complexes flanked by official chambers, a bath, and a mosque.

The construction of this Marvelous structure was begun in the thirteenth century by Ibn al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, and was continued by his successors in the fourteenth century.

The romantic imagination of centuries of visitors has been captivated by the special combination of the slender columns, fountains, and  water basins found in those courtyards—the Lion Court in particular; this combination is understood from inscriptions to be a physical realization of descriptions of Paradise in Islamic poetry.

A must see when you are in Granada, Spain. We took  a 3 hour train from Seville to Granada. You will need to book for tickets in advance and need to be there on time for the entrance. We stayed one night at a gorgeous hotel called Alhambra Palace Hotel overlooking the Serene city of Granada.

~Please Click Here to  Check Out My Recipe on Food 52 Paella Contest, Please Comment & Like~ {If You Like} Thank You!:)

Cherine - October 22, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Your paella looks marvelous!

Faith - October 22, 2010 - 5:29 pm

I would absolutely love to visit Spain! Until I do, I’ll have to make this gorgeous paella. ;) Thanks for sharing your gorgeous pics of Granada!

Nadia - October 22, 2010 - 5:43 pm

I would love to visit Spain, hopefully we’ll do a tour and hit up Spain, France, and Turkey next summer!

Your paella looks delicious. Usually they have sausage in them so I never eat paella at a restaurant might try your version. I will have to join Food 52 to “like” your version!

Sara - October 22, 2010 - 6:48 pm

Thanks Nadia, Faith & Chrine!

Lani - October 23, 2010 - 4:47 am

You have outdone yourself…not only with the authentic recipe, which I will try next time my dad is in town, but also the gorgeous photos of this very unique place. I loved reading the history and I almost felt like you took us to that very special time and place when the Moors lived in harmony in their adopted country.

Bravo! And I did like you on Food52!!

Jamie - October 23, 2010 - 12:47 pm

Sara, your stunning photos always make me travel to somewhere beautiful, exotic, lush! Just perfect! And I absolutely love paella but this version looks even more flavorful and mouthwatering.

Sara - October 23, 2010 - 5:39 pm

Thanks Jamie! I envy you that you live in France and can travel to Andalusia any weekend and enjoy authentic paella! :)

Sara - October 23, 2010 - 5:40 pm

Lani, my paella was not as good as your dad’s (uncle’s)

Sarah - October 24, 2010 - 10:21 am

I was in Granada just over a year ago! I posted about it back in September 2009 if you’re interested :-) Great little town, and yes, Alhambra was just amazing. We had our authentic paella in Madrid and it was well worth the high price. Yours looks fantastic. Wish I had been able to buy some ingredients while I was there… Smart thinking on your part.

Quay Po Cooks - October 25, 2010 - 3:00 am

We are planning to go Spain on our next holiday trip. I LOVE paella, yours looks DIVINE!! Makes me HUNGRY!!

Lael Hazan - October 25, 2010 - 6:17 pm

Gorgeous, as always, your photos are beautiful. I love the way that you weave the history, story, and photos together. Paella was a favorite in my family. My mother would sometimes make it for thanksgiving, much to the chagrin of my grandmother who wanted turkey. Thank you

rebecca - October 26, 2010 - 2:44 am

wow what a paella great pictures and wonderful info on the travel

sanjeeta kk - October 26, 2010 - 5:14 am

Great looking Paella. Probably I can try this out with veggie.

marla {family fresh cooking} - October 26, 2010 - 5:58 pm

Sara, you are so lucky that you got to visit Spain & have real Paella – this has always been one of my favorite dishes. All of those seasonings with a medley of seafood, pure bliss. Wish I had some for lunch this instant. I will go track you down on Food 52 :) xo

Magic of Spice - October 26, 2010 - 7:50 pm

This is a gorgeous Seafood Paella…always a favorite dish of mine :) Beautiful photos as well…

Joyti - October 27, 2010 - 2:12 am

I took a class about the history of the Iberian Peninsula…its interesting to see how the Moors effected the food of the region as well so many other aspects of its culture…
That paella must be the most beautiful I’ve ever ‘seen’. I want to dive into it with a huge spoon!

Sara - October 27, 2010 - 3:53 pm

Thanks Lael, Marla, Sarah, Sanjeeta, magic of spice & quay po! :)

Gina von - October 28, 2010 - 5:58 pm

This looks wonderful and brings back so many memories of Granada (sigh). Gorgeous pictures too!

Bridgett - October 29, 2010 - 12:30 am

Spain looks absolutely stunning. I adore paella and would love to share a bit with you…mind sharing?

Soma - October 29, 2010 - 12:59 am

What a wonderful tour!!! I love that picture of the city thru the gate.. looks almost unreal like a painting.

those shrimps are calling my name:-).. beautiful recipe.

Soma - October 29, 2010 - 12:59 am

What a wonderful tour!!! I love that picture of the city thru the gate.. looks almost unreal like a painting.

those shrimps are calling my name:-).. beautiful recipe.

Sara - October 31, 2010 - 5:56 pm

Thanks Gina! Loved Granada!

Sara - October 31, 2010 - 5:56 pm

Thanks Bridgett & Soma! Ofcourse I dont mind sharing! :)

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