Getting a nice layer of seasoning couldn't be more important to mastering the art of paella at home.
A traditional paella pan is crafted of high quality carbon steel. Carbon steel paella pans are the go-to choice of the world’s best paella chefs because of their unique combination of heat conductivity, heat responsiveness, heat tolerance, and stick resistance.
Cast iron isn’t used to make paella pans because of its heaviness and lack of heat responsiveness (which can lead to overcooking). Stainless steel is common in cheaper paella pans, but its lack of stick resistance and lessened heat conductivity make it hard to achieve tender, chewy rice and crunchy, savory socarrat (the caramelized layer of rice at the bottom of the pan).
For perfect rice and socarrat every time, carbon steel is key.
Just like with cast iron pans or any other carbon steel pans, a carbon steel paella pan needs to be seasoned before it can be used. Here are 8 easy steps that will result in a perfectly seasoned carbon steel paella pan.
A new Made In Paella Pan has a thin film of oil on it that was applied to prevent rusting from occurring during transit. It is food safe, but be sure to wash as much off as you can to ensure a blank slate for your seasoning.
The specific temperature depends on the smoke point of the high-smoke-point oil or wax with which you’re seasoning (most fall in the 400-450 F range). Make sure your oven temperature is at or slightly above this smoke point.
This will ensure it’s completely dry and open up the microscopic pores of your paella pan’s carbon steel.
Less is more — using too much oil or wax here can lead to a failed seasoning. You want just enough where your entire surface is shiny and coated; there should be no visible oil or wax streaks/droplets.
Don’t be alarmed if you see a little smoke — this is just part of the oil polymerization (seasoning) process.
You’re done! At this point, you can either repeat the seasoning process to build up your seasoning or get cooking.
You can expect your paella pan to look a number of different ways after it’s been seasoned. Every carbon steel pan responds to seasoning differently, which makes every one unique! For more information, watch Lucas Sin, chef of Junzi Kitchen, explain why our carbon steel is one of his favorite pans.
Now that your pan has been seasoned, it’s ready for use! As it ages, it will only get more stick resistant, easy to clean, and reliable.