Chiringuito Seafood Paella

Chiringuitos are humble seaside establishments that are to the Spanish coast what clam shacks are to New England; thus the name of this recipe. According to Anya von Bremzen’s cookbook “The New Spanish Table” there is usually a pretty terraza with a view of the sea and a menu that revolves around salt-baked fish, fried baby squid, clams, and invariably a simple mixed seafood paella like this Chiringuito Seafood Paella recipe.

Well, it was Christmas eve in our Bucks County home, so there was no terraza with a seaside view, let alone salt-baked fish or baby squid. But, The Mr. has made many a paella on both his outdoor paella grill and on the stovetop, which happened to be our only choice on that particular night. Yes, the Winter holidays have come and gone, but no need to wait for a major holiday to treat yourself with this elegant meal.

You know my mantra, use homemade stock if at all possible. If you can manage to make a stock from shrimp shells (save them in a plastic bag in the freezer when you peel shrimp), it is even better. But bottled clam juice diluted with some water, can work too. 

The original recipe called for monkfish and baby squid, neither of which we included (I can’t stand squid). However, eight large sea scallops made the ingredients list, and I love them! The rest of the seafood consisted of shrimp, little neck clams (half of which did not open much to Russ’s chagrin), and a sprinkling of crabmeat leftover from our starter course of Crab Louie, recipe below.

TIP: If you’re making the recipe for a dinner party, you can prepare it up to the point just before you transfer the paella to the oven; just remove it from the heat and leave it on top of the stove up to a half hour, until you’re ready to proceed. That leaves you with 15 minutes baking time after you press the seafood into the rice and 10 minutes for it to rest.

Chiringuito Seafood Paella

  • Servings: 4, as a main course
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 5 cups homemade shellfish broth, OR make from diluting 3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice with 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • 8 large dry-packed sea scallops
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half and grated on the medium holes of a box grater, skins discarded
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sweet (not smoked) paprika
  • 1 3/4 cups short-grain rice such as Arborio or Bomba
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 12-18 small clams, such as Manila or littlenecks, scrubbed
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the shellfish broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crumble the saffron between your fingers and drop it into the broth. Keep it at a slow simmer until you’re ready to use it.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 15- or 16-inch paella pan set over a burner and heat on medium heat until it starts to smoke. Add the scallops and cook until barely seared, 1 to 2 minutes, seasoning it lightly with salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Add the shrimp to the pan, stirring, until just seared, about 2 minutes, seasoning it with salt. Transfer shrimp to the bowl with the scallops and cover with foil.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the center of the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, less than 15 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the center of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring the tomatoes several times, until they are thickened and reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Season lightly again with salt. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds.
  4. Add the rice to the paella pan and stir it gently to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 3 1/2 cups of the simmering stock (5 cups if using Bomba rice), keeping the remaining stock simmering in case it is needed later. Stir in the parsley and a sprinkling of salt, and shake the pan gently to distribute the rice evenly. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly. 
  5. Press the clams into the top of the rice and cook until the cooking liquid is almost level with the rice but the rice is still rather soupy, another 2 to 3 minutes, again moving and rotating the pan periodically to keep the liquid boiling evenly. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on some more stock. (NOTE: At this point you can turn off the heat and set it aside for up to half an hour, if you like.)
  6. Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the clams open and the rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the paella a few times and sprinkle more stock over the rice if it seems too al dente. Remove the paella from the oven and discard any clams that have not opened. Distribute the shrimp and scallops over the paella, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and let stand for another 5 minutes (the rice gets better as it stands).
  7. To serve, arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the paella pan and decorate the top with the shrimp. Serve the paella straight from the pan, along with allioli if desired, for stirring into the rice.

Adapted from a recipe in “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen

Crab Louis Salad

Crab Louie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup-based chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion
  • 2 Tbsp. minced green olives
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. bottled horseradish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs. jumbo lump crabmeat
  • Bibb lettuce leaves, washed, dried and divided
  • Capers
  • Tomato wedges
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Lemon


  1. Whisk scallions, mayonnaise, chili sauce, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. (You will most likely have leftover dressing.)
  2. Line four salad plates with Bibb lettuce leaves and top with crab meat, avocado, and tomatoes. Drizzle dressing over, then top with capers and parsley.
  3. Garnish with capers and wedges of tomato, hard-boiled egg, and lemon. Serve with additional dressing alongside.

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