Any idea which Paella Pan is the best option for you? Didn’t you know there are different types of paella pans? Do you want to discover the differences between them?
Continue reading to clear all your doubts.
This article is about the differences between polished steel pans, also called carbon steel and enameled steel ones. It can be practical for you, either if you want to prepare a paella party from time to time with your friends and family or you are a professional event catering chef that cooks for thousands of people.
First, let’s take a look at their similitudes:
With both of them you can achieve the sincerest appreciation of any Valencian: “ché que bo!” translated to English, “wow, that’s really good!”
Paella pans are traditionally round, shallow and the smaller ones have two handles. The bigger is the paellera, the more handles they have. The base is slightly convex, so the oil will go into the center of the pan to assist in the first stages. They are made of steel, that conducts heat quickly all over the surface. This material is thin but very solid and durable.
These pans are suitable for gas and open fire. Enameled paella pans are also suitable for the oven.
Have you ever tried to make a Paella with wooden fire?
That’s a whole other level! To take control of fire is not so easy as it seems and that’s the reason why people usually buy paella gas burners. It’s really easy to cook with the flames of the gas burner (and your clothes will not stink afterwards).
Anyway, we invite you to try the very traditional way with orange wood-fire at least once, just to feel proud of yourself. Don’t forget to tell your plans in advance to the firefighters!
It’s a joke, don’t worry. Most probably, first times, flames will die, rice will not cook well all over the pan or the worst that can happen is that you burn out part of your meal and order delivery.
To be honest, the paella kit makes your life much easier.
Going back to the main point of this article, let’s see now the differences between both pans, so you can purchase the best one for you.
Enameled Steel Paella Pan
These Paella Pans are coated in tough black enamel, offering a layer of protection from rust and non-stick capabilities.
You don’t need to worry too much while you are cooking the rice, because with this pan it’s hard to burn it.
Once you have finished your delicious paella, it cleans up nicely and won’t have to be oiled to maintain it like first day. If the pan has the quality and the guaranty of the TerraMar Imports’ ones, it will not rust, at least if the coating is undamaged.
If the pan size allows, it can be fitted also in the dishwasher without troubles.
Polished Steel Paella Pan
This is the traditional pan used to make Valencian Paella. Enameled one is also traditional, but most chefs have this one. This Spanish paellera is made from a sheet of polished steel, not stainless.
Opposite to the enameled pan, this one needs more attention, as it’s easy to burn excessively. The lack of coating gives less protection to the surface, so after every use should be oiled because they rust quickly.
For all butterfingers and clumsy persons: this type of paella is made for you! It’s more impact-resistant.
There is also difference in price. This kind of paella pan is usually a bit cheaper than the enameled one.
But wait, wait… so, if the enameled steel pan is easier to care for and to cook, why most chefs have a carbon steel paella pan instead?
In the right hands, the polished steel paella pan will produce excellent results. These pans offer much less burn protection and no non-stick capabilities giving the opportunity to Paella Pro’s to make the delicious “socarrat”. Socarrat is a light burned layer of rice at the bottom of La Paella, that add some crunch to the meal, making it tastier.
Once you have learn how to do the “socarrat” without burning everything and you know the procedure to maintain the pan in optimum condition, it can last as long as the enameled one.
And the winner is… (drum roll)…
Both! Yes, whatever you choose you will take home more than a simple cookware, it's a piece of the Spanish tradition made with the best material.
Our advice for beginners is to buy the enameled pan. It is easier to cook a fantastic meal and to keep them perfect for a long time without too much maintenance.
Professional chefs, I’m pretty sure you have tried both types of paella pan and you know well which one you prefer. At the end, this election is something personal. The two paelleras have an excellent quality and will last for a long period of time, even if you use them daily.
And you, which one do you prefer?