Paella is the quintessential Spanish food of celebrations. Originating in Valencia, but with countless regional variations, this classic rice dish has five key ingredients: Spanish short-grain “Bomba” rice, saffron, pimentón (Spanish paprika), olive oil and the purpose-built paella pan from which the dish gets it’s name. José Arato, owner and Head Chef of Pimentón, has built and elegant Spanish meal around this signature dish.
The starter is a grilled vegetable salad called Escalivada. The name of this dish comes from the Catalan word escalivar, meaning “to roast over ashes or embers,” as it is traditional to cook the peppers, eggplant, zucchini, etc. over a flame. The dish is then dressed with lots of garlic, parsley, lemon & olive oil.
The centerpiece of the meal will be the robust Chorizo & Chicken paellas. This non-traditional twist on paella features fresh chicken, high quality, locally-made Spanish chorizo & mixed vegetables over special short-grain Spanish Bomba rice cooked in a saffron-scented chicken stock.
Crema Catalana is a Spanish dessert similar to creme brûlée, but cooked on the stove instead of the oven. Crema catalana uses citrus peel and sometimes cinnamon to flavor the custard, and the crisp sugar crust is traditionally caramelized using a special small round hot iron.
José Arato, owner and Head Chef at Pimenton, a Toronto caterer and gourmet food store specializing in Spanish and Mediterranean fine food, can be considered a true enthusiast of Spanish cuisine. Along with paella cooking classes, Pimentón offers wine pairing classes that teach aspiring cooks how to drink alongside the delicious dishes they’ve made.