This pano shows some traditional local food dishes from this region in the world. The background shows a spot at the Municipal Park just outside the Park's Restaurant. I have always liked this place/moment: eating traditional food recipes surrounded by palm trees.
The Spanish Valencian Region is known, food-wise, by its large variety of rice dishes, generally referred to as "paella." Every city/village within this region is proud to have its own local rice speciality.
In the particular case of Elche, the local rice speciality is called "Arroz con Costra" which could be translated as "Crusted Rice." The main peculiarity of this rice dish is a final layer of beaten eggs on top which, when baked, forms a crust.
The cultivation of rice in the Valencian region was probably introduced by the Arabs in the VIII Century and the first mention of this particular Crusted Rice can be found on a recipe book by Ruperto de Nola (Naples's King's cook) published in 1520. This dish could then be considered to be the first written rice recipe from Spain.
"And what about these for starters": also in this pano and clockwise from the main Crusted Rice dish are:
- Local bay shrimps
- Salted fish seasonal salad
- Squid fried rings
- Almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon
- Stuffed anchovies
- Traditional Local Almond cake
Special thanks to Julian Marin and the staff from the Municipal Park Restaurant
for setting up a table to shoot the pano in such a short period of time!
******************************* Crusted Rice: grandma's basic recipe
Ingredients: Rice, salt, saffron, olive oil, ripe tomatoes, chicken/rabbit, white and red sausages, white and black pudding sausages, eggs.
Difficulty level: medium. Cooking this rice well requires some experience, especially when it comes to get a proper crust.
Cooking time: 1 hour+
A basic how-to:
The first thing you need is a nice cooking stock to boil the rice with. — In order to make this stock you start by slightly frying the sausages with some oil. You then put these apart and fry the meat until browned. At this point you add the ripe tomato and fry it with the meat. Once you get a nice fry-up you add water and boil the whole thing for about 20 minutes in order to get a nice tasty stock. To finish with the stock you add some toasted saffron strands (which give rice the characteristic yellowish colour) and salt to taste (the stock should be slightly salty at this point).
Cooking the rice comes next. — You add the rice to the stock and cook it for 10-20 minutes, until nearly all water is gone. You then add back the sausages and get ready for the last part.
(You may use the time while rice is cooking to beat the eggs, with a pinch of salt, and leave them ready for the last step. You also need, and very important, a very hot oven to pump up the egg. A traditional "cruster" can be used too. This is a metal lid that is put on top and covered with hot embers)
Baking a nice crust. — To finish with, you pour the beaten egg on the rice and quickly put it in the hot oven. After 5-15 minutes the egg should pump up and then Crusted Rice is ready! :) Some people like eating it with squeeze lemon and as many other rice dishes it is also delicious when cold.
You may have a look here
for a nice detailed and photo description.