How to Host a Spanish Tapas and Paella Party

Choose the Paella Party Menu

Spanish tapas and paella
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Because seafood paella has a mixture of meat, shellfish, vegetables, and rice, it is full of robust flavors and is quite filling. When paella is the main course, it is best to keep the rest of the meal simple, both in flavors and preparation. Try preparing a classic Spanish mixed green salad on the side and ice cream or flan for dessert. Menus ideas include:

Print All Recipes and Shop

Woman writing in journal surrounded by vegetables
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A few days before the party, print the recipes you will use and check the cupboards for ingredients, and equipment. Write your shopping list. If you are entertaining a larger group than the recipe yields, remember to adjust amounts of ingredients.

Remember that items like Spanish saffron may not be available at your local grocery store, so plan ahead. You may need to purchase at a Spanish food store, gourmet market, or online.

Tip: Seafood dishes are best when the ingredients are at their freshest. If fresh seafood is available in your area, purchase it a day before or the day of the party. If fresh seafood is not available, keep all seafood frozen until the day of the party.

If you purchase the bread ahead of time, freeze it to maintain freshness.

Prepare the Dessert the Day Before Party

Caramel flan
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Because turron ice cream with chocolate is a frozen dessert, and flan must be refrigerated for a few hours before serving, prepare these desserts the day before your party. Allow about 15 to 20 minutes for preparing this dessert, then 3 hours to chill. Dessert ideas include:

If you have cleaning to do, do it the day before.

Prepare the Tortilla in the Morning

Spanish tortilla
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The morning of the party, prepare the tortilla and refrigerate until 1 hour before serving. Allow about 35 to 40 minutes for preparing the tortilla.

Prepare the Ensalada Mixta

People sitting around table eating a meal
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Prepare the salad the day of your party, but do not dress it until serving. After preparing the salad, be sure to keep it chilled until ready to serve. Allow 10 to 15 minutes to prepare​ the salad.

Prepare Ingredients for the Paella de Marisco

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The entire process of making paella takes about 2 hours. Because it requires chopping vegetables and meat, as well as cleaning shellfish, allow 45 minutes for preparation before your guests arrive

Decant Wine, Cut Tortilla & Fire up the Grill

Red wine in glasses with corkscrew on table
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Before your guests arrive, open the wine to allow it to breathe. Set the table. Cut the tortilla into 2-inch squares and set atop slices of the baguette. Now you are ready for guests.

If you use a charcoal barbecue, rather than gas, allow 20 to 25 minutes for the coals to be at the right temperature for cooking.

If using a ​gas paella burner, clean the burner assembly. Light just before using.

Cook the Paella De Marisco & Enjoy

Seafood paella, close-up
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Once the grill is ready, assemble all ingredients on a table near the grill and start cooking the paella. Everyone usually likes to watch the process, so you'll get to mingle with your guests and they'll marvel at your cooking skills. Buen Provecho!