What Else Can I Use a Paella Pan For?
Do you own a paella pan?
Maybe your mother brought you a paella pan home from Spain as a gift. Maybe you bought one yourself for a souvenir. Or perhaps you bought it for a particular occasion and then never cooked paella again. Whatever the case, it's now sitting on a shelf staring you down every time you go into the kitchen.
Give that paellera a new purpose! There are plenty of other ways to use a this cooking vessel, and they aren't exclusive to Spanish food. You might be surprised at how often you reach for it once you see how versatile this cooking vessel can be.
9 Alternative Ways to Use a Paella Pan
1. Cooking meat or fish
Because of the wide, shallow shape, you can prepare more food at once than in a traditional frying pan or skillet. Instead of cooking your meat in batches, you can fit more chicken breasts, pork chops, or fish fillets on the heat at once, so you spend less time over the hot stove and can ensure that everything is done at the same time. A paella pan gets really hot, so it is perfect for putting a nice, hard sear on steak or chops.
2. As a breakfast griddle
The relatively flat surface is ideal for cooking breakfast foods. You can crisp bacon, scramble or fry eggs, even brown your toast in butter! Use it as a plancha or griddle for your pancakes to cut down on cooking time and get to the eating part faster.
For those veggies tend to fall through the cracks of your grill, a paella pan is the perfect solution. It will get you those perfect toasty vegetables you want, without all the fancy work with the barbecue tongs. Try asparagus, zucchini, broccolini, or some sliced peppers and onions.
Designed for high temperatures, paella pans can be used as you would baking sheets or jelly roll pans. Make buttermilk biscuits or oatmeal cookies, whatever your heart desires!
A traditional roasting pan is wide and shallow, too! You can get a beautiful crispy crust on potatoes in the oven or slow-roast root vegetables to caramelized perfection. Depending on the size of your pan, you can even roast a whole chicken dinner!
6. Stir-frying or sautéing
If you don't have a wok, a paellera is a great substitute. It provides a nice even heat so that all of your ingredients cook evenly. Sauté vegetables or stir fry strips of meat, or make a fried rice!
7. Campfire cooking
A paella pan is pretty much ideal as a portable cooking surface for use over a campfire or open flame (which is how paella is traditionally made, as well). Be careful that it has adequate support; do not simply place it on top of burning wood, as the fire can collapse and send the hot pan flying. Safety first, then dinner!
8. For presentation
Make a seasonal centerpiece for your table or sideboard in your paella pan, or use it to display and serve appetizers at a dinner party. Just make sure you wash and reseason the pan before you cook with it again!
9. As a bird feeder
Frankly, I would rather see you use the pan for any of the above, or donate it to someone who will, but if you absolutely cannot find another place for it, the shape does lend itself to repurposing as a bird bath or bird feeder. Build a custom stand or secure it to a sturdy railing.
Sample Recipe - Chicken Madras in a Paella Pan
Of course, the best use for a paella pan is always going to be to cook paella. You'll need a little bit of practice to make sure you get the right rice texture and a great soccarat, or crust, but once you get the hang of it, it really doesn't take very long to cook. Once you get in the habit, won't be so so daunting, and before you know it, you'll be whipping it up all the time!