The browned, crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the common Italian or Spanish dish known as paella. Made with Valencia rice, a short grained plump rice that is higher in starch content and one that absorbs the flavors well, this dish is traditionally cooked in a paella pan, which is a large diameter, shallow skillet pan. Paella, which consists of rice combined with ingredients such as fish, seafood, poultry, sausage, and vegetables, is a dish that is known for the creamy consistency of the top layers of rice that are accompanied by the soccarat, browned crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan. This browned layer is a result of cooking the rice on the bottom of the pan in the browned oils remaining from the meats and vegetables when they were cooked and browned separately. Once the pan contains all other ingredients with the rice, the paella pan is placed in the oven at a medium heat setting, uncovered for approximately 5 minutes, and rotated a half turn after several minutes to finish baking for an even browning of the soccarat layer.
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