The first day of Spring just happened and as some of the United States is still battling that "white stuff", others around the country are whipping out the grill and firing it up. At Spiceologist, we grill year round, because we're like the postal service of grilling. Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night will keep us from grilling up deliciousness. Take this Grilled Paella for instance. The entire dish is made on the BBQ. No firing up the stove for this one. And let me tell you, it's a delicious and easy way to make paella! My only chef note is to prep and measure out all of your ingredients before you start. You'll be glad you did.
Heat the BBQ (if using charcoal, allow to preheat for at least 30 minutes). Brush chicken thighs with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Place skin side down on the grill and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Set aside. In a medium bowl, add the shrimp and smoked paprika and toss to coat. Place shrimp on the grill and cook just until no longer pink, about 1 minute per side. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, with a heat resistant handle, add the 4 cups water and saffron, place over the flame of the grill until it begins to simmer. Add the mussels and cover. Cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Removed them from the water and place in a bowl, cover and set aside. Reserve the cooking water. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large paella pan over direct heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-8 minutes. Add the rice and asparagus and cook, cook stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed tomato, the saffron water, hot paprika and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Discontinue stirring from this point forward. Allow the rice to cook for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan on the flame if you have hot spots on your grill. Taste the rice, once al dente, arrange the chicken thighs, shrimp, and mussels in the rice. Allow to cook 5-10 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. *Chefs Note: Spanish Chorizo is different than Mexican Chorizo. Spanish chorizo is a semi-hard consistency similar to Portuguese linguica which makes it a suitable substitution if you are unable to find Spanish Chorizo. Mexican Chorizo, often sold in plastic casing, is a wet, almost fluid style of chorizo and would not be appropriate for this dish.