top of page

Art and Cooking #2

Paella as a “Collage in a Pan”



Cooking is an art form. The presentation of a delicious and beautiful dish is design at its best. Certain dishes are like abstract art, color on a plate as well as the palate, beautiful and not always clear in form. Other dishes are precise in their appearance. Some come with a story or a history. Others are made up as we go along. Texture and color play an important part, almost as important as taste and smell.

One of my favorite dishes is PAELLA. It draws me away to fantasies of Spain. The colors, odors and taste are of arid landscapes, cool seas and passionate flamenco. Though the dish is considered a national Spanish dish, it has been claimed to originate from Valencia. There are many recipes for paella. Paella is named after the flat wide pan that is used to make the dish, originally over an open fire. The ingredients vary. The known basic recipe is a collage of chicken, sea food, sausage, rice, broth, saffron and vegetables that attribute to its color and texture.

I find the word “collage” as appropriate when describing Paella. Pablo Picasso and George Braque are often credited for the birth of collage, which means, “to paste” in French. Pasting together paper and newspaper clippings. Braque and Picasso were amongst the first use this technique in their synthetic cubistic period.

"Spanish Fantasy" - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas, 120/80 cm @Barbara Adler Art 2022

Picasso a born proud Spaniard, no doubt was aware of paella. I wouldn’t go as far and say that he was influenced by a dish, but I would risk by saying that he was influenced by everything in his life. The concept of a ‘mix” of things on a given platform would be something that had crossed his mind.

"Sancho Panza" - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas 120/80cm @Barbara Adler Art 2022

Here is my recipe for Paella:


500 gm fresh peeled shrimp

500 gm cubed uncooked chicken breasts

3 chorizo sausages cubed

2 Tb olive oil

1 onion diced

1 celery stalk diced

1 red pepper diced

1 carrot peeled and diced

1 cup of fresh garden peas

1 cup of chicken stock


Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

1.5 cups of round Spanish rice

Diced tomatoes

Chopped parsley

Lemon wedges

I cook this in a wok, sadly as I haven’t a proper paella pan. The wok works quite well, surprisingly.

1. Heat the olive oil in the pan

2. Add the onion, sweet red pepper, celery and carrot. Sauté till the onion is translucent.

3. Add the chorizo and cook for another 2 minutes on a medium flame

4. Add the chicken and stir well till the chicken begins to change color

5. Add the rice, saffron, salt and pepper stirring all the ingredients well.

6. Add the broth and lemon and stir

7. Add the peas and stir

8. Add the shrimp - do not stir

9. Cover till rice is done.

10. Let sit, covered for 10 minutes

11. Serve topped with tomatoes, parsley and lemon wedges

Serve the pan at the table. It is beautiful. Best served in a deep dish.

Bon appetite!

Everybody needs food and art. There is food and Art for everyone’s state of mind, desires and tastes. Flatter me! Contact me if you would like to personalize a special occasion. Nothing like a meaningful, personal painting or drawing as a gift.

All the works on this blog are Printable and for sale. They are Barbara Adler originals. I love talking about my art and cooking, so feel free to DM to converse and purchase, making my art yours.


bottom of page