Lunchbreak: Seafood Paella

Midday News

Executive Chef Saul Roman

Executive Chef, ARTango Bar & Steakhouse

ARTango Bar & Steakhouse

4767 N. Lincoln Avenue

Chicago, Illinois



Seafood Paella On The Grill

The origins of paella are ancient, rooted in the area around Valencia, Spain near the Albufera Lagoon, where both fishing and rice growing dominated the region for centuries.

Paella was the food of farm workers who cooked dishes of rice over wood fires, embellished with whatever ingredients they could find.

The dish is named for the wide, shallow pan in which the paella is cooked. The word “paella” is from a Valencian dialect meaning “pan,” probably derived from the Latin word “patella” for pan.

The recipe of Paella travels all the way to Latin America and became one of the most popular dishes in Argentina. Ideally is to use paella pan for best flavors, but any iron pans would work. Although you can cook paella entirely indoors on top of the stove, when you consider paella’s wood-fired origins, it makes total sense to cook it outside on the grill.

The Paella Rice

Paella is essentially a rice dish, and the type of rice does make a difference. Spanish bomba rice, a medium-grained stubby rice that absorbs liquid well but maintains some firmness when it cooks, is preferred.

Since it is hard to find and pricey, you can substitute Italian Carnaroli, Calrose, or another short-grain rice for risotto.

The crispy bits! Once the stock comes to a simmer, don’t stir it. As the paella cooks, the rice stays on the bottom and forms a crusty golden bottom layer in the finished dish. This crust of rice is called socarrat and is coveted by true paella lovers. The vegetables rise to the top while cooking.

The stock

For this seafood paella, you can use chicken, fish or shellfish stock. You can buy it ready to go at the supermarket or make your own.


Saffron is a key ingredient, too. These orange-red threads are actually the dried stigmas of crocus flowers. Crumbled into a pot of hot stock, saffron adds an earthy, floral, and somewhat mysterious flavor to your paella. It imbues the rice with a gorgeous golden color, too.

The Sofrito

Paella starts with a sofrito—finely chopped onions, garlic, and tomatoes or red peppers sautéed gently in olive oil. It is akin to the Italian soffrito or French mirepoix. Sofrito lays the groundwork for all the flavors in the dish to mingle.

Serve 4-6 people


2 cups bomba rice

4 cups chicken or fish stock (or water) infused with saffron

6 oz (3/4 cup) chopped onion

3 oz (3T) chopped garlic

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp crushed pepper

6 oz (3/4 cup) chopped red bell pepper

6 oz (3/4 cup) shrimp 16-20 size

4 oz (1/2 cup) calamari

4 oz (1/2 cup) fish filet

4 oz (1/2 cup) bay scallops

6 pieces green lips mussels

2 oz (4T) smoked paprika

1 oz (2T) chopped garlic

2 oz (4T) fresh parsley

1 lemon

4 oz (1/2 cup) olive oil


1.Heat your grill

2. Heat paella pan

3. Add olive oil. When it is hot add sofrito: garlic, onion, red pepper. Mix all until sofrito become translucent.

4. Add the rice and stock. When you see bubbles, low the heat. Let cook the rice for 10 min.

5. Meanwhile combine seafood in a bowl with smoked paprika, garlic, salt, crushed pepper and olive.

6. Add seafood to your rice

7. Keep the pan on the grill until rice become fluffy and liquid evaporates.

8. Take pan from the grill and let it rest 15 min.

9. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh chopped parsley, add lemon


Latest News

More News