Paella is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
Seafood paella replaces meat with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables.
In the Mediterranean coast, Valencians used seafood instead of meat and beans to make paella. Valencians regard this recipe as authentic, as well. In this recipe, the seafood is served in the shell. A variant on this is paella del senyoret which uses seafood without shells. Later, however, Spaniards living outside of Valencia combined seafood with meat from land animals and mixed paella was born. This paella is sometimes called preparación barroca (baroque preparation) due to the variety of ingredients and its final presentation.
During the 20th century, paella’s popularity spread past Spain’s borders. As other cultures set out to make paella, the dish invariably acquired regional influences. Consequently, paella recipes went from being relatively simple to including a wide variety of seafood, meat, sausage, (even chorizo) vegetables and many different seasonings. However, the most globally popular recipe is seafood paella.
Throughout non-Valencian Spain, mixed paella is very popular. Some restaurants in Spain (and many in the United States) that serve this mixed version, refer to it as Valencian paella. However, Valencians insist only the original two Valencian recipes are authentic. They generally view all others as inferior, not genuine, or even grotesque.