Paella Party

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and it’s happening this Saturday. A paella party at my house for about 30 people. Here’s what’s on the menu…

Marcona Almonds
Assorted cheeses
Serrano Ham
Roasted peppers with sherry vinaigrette

Garlic shrimp
Tortilla Espanola

Paella Valenciana

Sangria plus other assorted drinks

Here’s my question…

I was planning to serve a salad on the side when the paella is served. Something perhaps like one of these:

Guacamole Salad - I love this but feeling like it’s not right with the paella.

Boston Lettuce Avocado Salad

Tomato, Onion, Cucumber Salad

Any thoughts on the salad? Yes? No? Any suggestions for a different one?

And any thoughts on dessert? Yes, I know there is flan. But anything else? Might have to just skip the Spanish theme for desserts and serve some assorted cookies and bars or pies.


I’d go with the third salad. I also think that sounds like too much food if this is a hot-weather, outdoor party. I’d skip the shrimp, tortilla, and empanadas. Sorbet, parfaits, or ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

I like the second salad. I like the option of some leafy greens on the side when I have a fairly substantial meal.

Menu looks awesome. Given that there are about 30 people, I would stick to all of your elements in order to give enough options.

I like Greygarious’ idea of frozen desserts. I saw an idea for a Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate pie. Basically an ice cream pie.

I actually would like sorbet- like Blood Orange, after a meal like this.

I can’t imagine how big Paella for 30 is!

Thanks for the feedback. This group likes to eat and I don’t think they will fill up on the olives, almonds, etc. Perhaps I will skip the empanadas but keep the shrimp and the tortilla espanola.

We have been hosting a July 4th-ish party for many years and one thing that’s always been a staple is homemade ice cream sandwiches (well, Chipwiches…ice cream between 2 chocolate chip cookies). Those are already in the freezer. Sorbets sound like a good idea too.

By the way, I am not making the paella…have a guy coming to make it!

What is in the paella?

Chicken, chorizo, clams, mussels, calamari, and shrimp.

If there is shrimp in the paella I would be inclined to skip the garlic shrimp. As to dessert, ice cream sandwiches sound great! But, fwiw, I just made the “Perfect Flan” from Epicurious and it was delicious and well received. Might be a PITA for 30 in individual ramekins but could be done in a quiche casserole or similar. If doing a salad I would be inclined toward the third option. Have fun!

Thank you for the flan recipe. Regarding the garlic shrimp, my husband really likes it, so it will stay :slight_smile:

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Another plus for the third salad is that if there are leftovers, they will keep. With the others, the leftovers’ texture/color will suffer.

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Good point…thanks.

Nice… What a wonderful menu…I saw the most beautiful and tremendous paella pan in the croton goodwill last weekend while browsing for the stray vintage corelle dinner plate. Enjoy your party and please post a photo or two… I loved the last photos you posted. I’d go with salad number 3 as well…you could always toss in a couple of avocado chunks and a spritz of lime

Thanks…I will definitely post some pictures!

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Instead of the empanadas i would do the blistered shishitso peppers like these

With the paella i would also do the third salad option, but use a light hand with the olive oil and swap in a good sherry vinegar. If you have local tomatoes that look better than romas use those. Prep ingredients morning of and store seperated, assemble just just before eating.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I was planning to buy sherry vinegar for the roasted peppers so I will use it for the salad too. I would consider the padron peppers, but do you think they can be made earlier in the day? Recipe says serve immediately but I don’t like to be standing at the stove with guests at my house.

The padron peppers really do have to be made right before serving - it’s less than ten minutes at the stove, and a very easy quick recipe.

maybe too late, but mediterranean folks very rarely have cheese as an appetizer. that is totally an american thing. it deadens the palate and is too easy to overeat. ymmv, of course.

also vote for salad #3 but would prefer something like roasted green beans or charred escarole.

The party was a success! I ended up making the tomato, cucumber, onion salad and added hearts of palm. My sangria was a hit (forgot to take a picture at the beginning), as was pretty much everything else. I bought 2 kinds of olives…stuffed with garlic and stuffed with almonds. I particularly loved the ones stuffed with almonds. And the star of the show, of course, was the paella. People, especially the men, loved watching the guy cook it, and it really was delicious. The weather report was iffy for last night but thankfully it held up and didn’t start raining until around 10, which was right around dessert time, so everyone came inside for dessert, which was fine.

Thanks again for the feedback!


Wow Valerie, that looks great! That is a HUGE amount of Paella. What is the stuff in the picture with the cheeses?

Thanks! It’s membrillo (quince paste).

Delicious!! That must be really fun. I never cook an outdoor paella yet, just several indoor on stove or oven.

I’m a big fan of rice dishes, do you mind sharing your recipe?

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr