Jan Buhrman's Beach Paella

Jan Buhrman Catering is known for this paella, served at many summer beach parties. As our potluck centerpiece, it is the ultimate island dish, using fresh local ingredients from land and sea.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 slices bacon or 3-inch piece salt pork, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 3 whole heads garlic
2 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
2 cups chopped yellow and red pepper
2 cups Arborio rice
2 to 3 saffron threads, crushed
6 cups clam juice or chicken or lobster stock (or a combination)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato, with juice (about 1 large tomato)
1 dozen clams, scrubbed
1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 pound large (16/20) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound cleaned squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings
3 ears fresh corn, cut into thirds or quarters
1/2 pound green beans or haricots verts, trimmed
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 cup lima beans
Juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 whole lemons, cut into wedges


In a paella pan or large 15-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels and set aside.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan with the garlic. Brown chicken on all sides, about 7 minutes per side, and move garlic around, letting the skin brown but not burn. Lower heat to medium and cook chicken about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Return heat to medium-high, then saute the onion and pepper about 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion begins to turn translucent. Stir in the rice to coat well.

In a small bowl, combine the saffron, clam juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper, then add to rice. Add the tomato and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the reserved chicken and rendered bacon to the pan; let cook 15 minutes. Nestle the clams into the bottom of the pan, then place the mussels in the pan by standing them straight up with their hinges on the bottom.

When the clams begin to open, lay the shrimp, squid, corn, green beans, zucchini, and lima beans over the top. Cover the pan with foil, sealing the edges so no steam escapes, and cook 10 minutes. Remove the foil and discard any shellfish that have not opened. Raise heat to high and cook about 7 minutes to create the crispy-crunchy rice that toasts on the bottom of the pan. Do not let it burn. Remove from heat and let the pan rest 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Divide among 10 to 12 plates and serve with lemon wedges.

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