grilled paella

grilled paella

The socarrat, a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan, is a traditional part of paella and easy to achieve when cooking on the grill. The key is a combination of covered and uncovered cooking, which allows the rice to cook through while also letting some moisture escape. It’s also best to use a traditional paella pan if possible, and we love the cast iron pan from Le Creuset.

  • 2 1 1/2-pound lobsters
  • 8 cups low-sodium lobster, shrimp, or vegetable stock
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail on
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts, washed and green ends trimmed
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Spanish chorizo, diced (about 1 cup diced)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3 cups Arborio, bomba, or Valencia rice  
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Steam lobsters. Place steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with about 2 inches of water and bring to a gentle boil. Add lobsters, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until lobsters are parboiled, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove claws and tails and cut in half lengthwise (discard bodies or save for another use). 
  3. In a large saucepan, combine stock and saffron and bring to a gentle boil. Keep over medium-high heat until ready to use (if you have a side burner on your grill, use it to keep your pot of stock close at hand).
  4. Brush shrimp, scallions, cut sides of lobster and cut sides of lemons with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Grill shrimp, scallions, and lemon halves for 1-2 minutes a side. Add lobster claws and tails, cut-side down, and cook until charred and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove everything and set aside. Once cooled, chop scallions, reserving for garnish.
  5. Place a paella pan on grill over medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chorizo and cook for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and smoked paprika and cook for another minute. Add sherry, deglazing pan and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan until liquid is absorbed. 
  6. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups stock and allow liquid to come to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Add enough additional stock to keep rice mostly covered, and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes (check bottom of rice to see if crust is starting to form). Add more stock, rotate pan, cover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, adding stock as needed until rice is just al dente and cooked through. Remove cover and finish cooking for another 5 minutes, allowing bottom of rice to brown.
  7. Nestle in lobster claws and tails and shrimp. Cover, and cook for another few minutes to warm everything through. Remove from heat and garnish with grilled scallions and parsley. Squeeze juice from 1 lemon over top and serve. Place remaining lemon halves in a bowl for serving.

Serves 4-6.

cook’s note: You can serve this with some grilled garlic bread on the side. To make, combine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter with 2 minced cloves garlic and season with salt and pepper. Slather butter evenly on cut sides of 1 French baguette and grill, cut sides down, until nicely charred.