Grilled Vegetable Paella
Iain Bagwell
Yields10 ServingsCook Time3 hrs
AuthorScott Ketterman
 If you’ve ever been to a street festival in Portland, chances are you’ve seen enormous pans of paella bubbling over open-air burners, drawing a crowd. Scott Ketterman of Portland’s Crown Paella, who’s created these delicious spectacles for up to 700 people, says that’s the whole point of paella. “It’s a communal dish that brings people together. In Valencia, where it’s from, it’s the traditional Sunday family meal.” For parties, he says, paella is a host’s dream. “You do most of the work beforehand, and then you just stand at the fire adding things to the pan, sipping wine and creating this amazingly impressive dish. People love to watch it cook.” As a side dish, it’s terrific with whole grilled fish or pork tenderloins with salsa verde.

Equipment: 17-to-18-in. paella pan sturdy enough for grilling (like the polished-steel one at hotpaella.com; from $36)

Wine pairing: Any crisp white wine or rosé, to balance the natural sweetness of the vegetables—such as an albariño from Oregon’s Abacela Vineyards and Winery (abacela.com; from $21).

How to Make It

1

Three hours before dinner, gather two cohorts in the kitchen. One of you makes sofrito: In a 4-qt. saucepan, cook peppers and onions in oil over medium heat until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato purée, season with salt and pepper, and simmer over low heat, un- covered, into a thick sauce, 5 minutes. Heat a grill to medium (350° to 450°), with a heaping chimney of coals if using charcoal.

2

Meanwhile, the other two prep vegetables for paella. For artichokes: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Snap off outer leaves down to tender yellowish ones, and trim fibrous outer layer of stem. Cut off spiny top of each artichoke, then halve them lengthwise and scoop out any fuzzy chokes. Simmer artichokes until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes, and cool in a bowl of ice water.

3

For asparagus: Bring another pot of well-salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes, then cool in another bowl of ice water. If using English peas, blanch until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes, and add to ice water. Lift asparagus onto a plate and drain peas in a colander.

4

About 1 1/2 hours before dinner, form a caravan to the grill with prepped ingredients, paella pan, oven mitts, and a long-handled wooden spoon. Take turns cooking between sips of wine.

5

Heat pan, then drizzle in olive oil and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Stir in sofrito, smoked paprika, and saffron.

6

Add broth (11 cups if using bomba, 7 cups if using any other rice), 11/2 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a lively simmer. Taste and add more salt and pepper if need- ed (especially if using more broth); broth must be on the salty side to properly season the rice. Sprinkle rice evenly over broth and simmer (covered if on gas), until grains start to become visible, 5 to 10 minutes.

7

Arrange artichokes, asparagus, and peppers over rice. Cook paella (still covered if on gas) until rice has ab- sorbed all of liquid and smells slightly toasted; then cook for a couple of minutes more to form a soccarat, or bottom crust (insert a spoon into the rice—if it feels a little bumpy, it has a crust).

8

Remove paella from heat. Add blanched or thawed frozen peas, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

9

Escort paella from grill to center of the table. Lay down lemon wedges and olive oil, for drizzling.

*Or soak 2 oz. dried morels in warm water until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze gently to release grit, then trim stems and slice in half. Use liquid (carefully pour off grit in bowl) as part of cooking broth.

Ingredients

Sofrito
 1 cup each diced (1⁄2-in.) green bell pepper and yellow onion
 1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
 1 cup good-quality tomato purée or crushed tomatoes
 Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Paella
 16 baby or 8 medium-size artichokes
 1 lb asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
 1 ½ cups shelled fresh English peas or frozen peas
 About 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 1 lb morel mushrooms*, halved
 About 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
 1 ½ cups Sofrito (above)
 1 tbsp smoked paprika
 2 tsp (1.5 g) saffron threads
 7 cups clear vegetable broth
 About 3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
 3 cups bomba, valenciano, arborio, or carnaroli rice
 ¾ cup jarred roasted piquillo or red peppers, sliced into 1⁄2-in.-wide strips
Serve With
 Lemon wedges
 Top-quality olive oil
 Crisp white wine or rosé

Directions

1

Three hours before dinner, gather two cohorts in the kitchen. One of you makes sofrito: In a 4-qt. saucepan, cook peppers and onions in oil over medium heat until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato purée, season with salt and pepper, and simmer over low heat, un- covered, into a thick sauce, 5 minutes. Heat a grill to medium (350° to 450°), with a heaping chimney of coals if using charcoal.

2

Meanwhile, the other two prep vegetables for paella. For artichokes: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Snap off outer leaves down to tender yellowish ones, and trim fibrous outer layer of stem. Cut off spiny top of each artichoke, then halve them lengthwise and scoop out any fuzzy chokes. Simmer artichokes until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes, and cool in a bowl of ice water.

3

For asparagus: Bring another pot of well-salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes, then cool in another bowl of ice water. If using English peas, blanch until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes, and add to ice water. Lift asparagus onto a plate and drain peas in a colander.

4

About 1 1/2 hours before dinner, form a caravan to the grill with prepped ingredients, paella pan, oven mitts, and a long-handled wooden spoon. Take turns cooking between sips of wine.

5

Heat pan, then drizzle in olive oil and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Stir in sofrito, smoked paprika, and saffron.

6

Add broth (11 cups if using bomba, 7 cups if using any other rice), 11/2 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a lively simmer. Taste and add more salt and pepper if need- ed (especially if using more broth); broth must be on the salty side to properly season the rice. Sprinkle rice evenly over broth and simmer (covered if on gas), until grains start to become visible, 5 to 10 minutes.

7

Arrange artichokes, asparagus, and peppers over rice. Cook paella (still covered if on gas) until rice has ab- sorbed all of liquid and smells slightly toasted; then cook for a couple of minutes more to form a soccarat, or bottom crust (insert a spoon into the rice—if it feels a little bumpy, it has a crust).

8

Remove paella from heat. Add blanched or thawed frozen peas, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

9

Escort paella from grill to center of the table. Lay down lemon wedges and olive oil, for drizzling.

*Or soak 2 oz. dried morels in warm water until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze gently to release grit, then trim stems and slice in half. Use liquid (carefully pour off grit in bowl) as part of cooking broth.

Grilled Vegetable Paella