DESCRIPTION The paella is a kind of skillet, polished steel, wide, with two or more small handles, distributed in its perimeter, of shallow depth and great surface.
Its flat and shallow design favors a rapid and uniform evaporation of the broth, a necessary characteristic for the correct preparation of the paella.
Its depth is usually no greater than about five or six centimeters and its diameter varies from 18 to 100 centimeters, depending on the number of diners.
HISTORY The name of the paella comes from the container in which it is prepared.
Its Latin origin identifies it, the frying pan in Latin is patella, there are authors who identify the name of the dish with the absence of the 't' and this way is: pattella.
The word paella in Valencian means frying pan (with the same origin as the unused Castilian padilla) and arrived in Valencia, from the French in the late sixteenth century. The word paella was synonymous in Spanish of "Valencian rice" or "rice to the Valencian" (like dish Valencian) from 1900.
In the province of Valencia the vessel -paella- was the one that lent its name to the dish cooked with the utensil, because of the rhetorical reluctance derived from rice in paella (or even "arroz a la paella"), not in the province of Alicante.
This transference from the name of the vessel in which the dish is cooked to the dish itself is analogous to that which occurs with the dish known as a stew, named after because it is prepared in the vessel of the same name.
In the rest of Spain it is already common to refer to the kitchen utensil as "paellera" (which is purely the lady who makes paellas) as deformation of the dish paella, although it is a mistake, just as it would be to call pucherera to the recipient with which cooks the puchero.
Restaurants with gourmets are known as rice dishes precisely to distinguish the words paella and paellera. The Royal Spanish Academy has long accepted both words, but remembering in its etymology that means frying pan. There are denominations of this frying pan in old Castilian like padiella or paellon in Toledo (1434) when indicating the frying pan. Some authors like Fray Luis de Leon mention payla in some of his works.
In the kitchen there are cases of dishes that have been named like the recipients on which they cook, examples are the pot (used formerly as stew), Moroccan tajine, Thai wok, etc.