Sand + Sea Paella Cookout
Most summers my family and I travel to the Spanish island of Ibiza for a two-week holiday. Summers on the Mediterranean coast are synonymous with paella. Late afternoons are spiked with Cava sangria, feasting on a seafood paella so fresh, you can taste the sea in every bite… For the first August in quite some time we’ll skip our trip to Ibiza, so I decided I would bring a touch of Spain to Amagansett. Oddly enough, I have never made paella—I have never really cooked on the beach before, save for basic burgers and hot dogs—but never a proper meal.
Together with new my friend, Amagansett neighbor, and fellow foodie Jodi Moreno of What’s Cooking Good Looking, we set out to make the absolute swooniest Paella Beach Grill. We decided on a vegetable paella to support the plethora of local veggies that Amagansett farms grow in high season. We used summer squash as our base, along with white and purple peppers, leeks, mushrooms, tomatoes, thyme and the obligatory smoky spice of chorizo to lend our paella some traditional cred. We also got our hands on some massive local shell-on prawns for the seafood lovers in our bunch.
As for the décor I kept things light, bright and simple, letting the surroundings guide the palette and allowing the natural beauty of the vast, sweeping views to take center stage. A white tablecloth with sea-inspired blue stripes was haphazardly draped across the sand for our linens. Recycled pieces of old weathered wood provided a table-like surface to place food, wine, and utensils. I nabbed some pale blue tie-dye pillows from home for added cushion and comfort. A collection of shells scooped up directly from the shore acted as a trivet so we could place the smoking pan of seared prawns directly on our tablecloth. We chose to grill on the bay beach, which somehow gets long forgotten here in Amagansett—usually desolate with vast stretches of sand and still waters to take in at dusk. You can see why I opted for neutrals: the breathtaking vista of the sun reflected off the bay, casting an incredible pink hue over the sky. Oh, and can we discuss the single red boat mooring at bay? To say the setting was ideal would be the understatement of the summer!
Some nibbles of olives, Marcona almonds, shishito peppers and rustic bread were set out as our paella cooked, getting crispy at the bottom as it traditionally should. And as our meal simmered to swoony perfection, Jodi and I poured lavender-infused rosé sangria, served with local fruit from Balsam Farms. More specifics on the sangria, along with the recipe, here on The Chalkboard Mag.
Oh, one last thing: as BEAUTIFUL and breezy as these images appear, we were sticky and sweaty as we began to bring things down to the beach. A meal on the beach takes a lot of effort, so prep as much as you can at home to truly enjoy the experience as the day cools down and don’t begin the actual grill until 5 or 6pm.
There really is something magical about eating a meal as the sun sets—the spectacular lighting, the beauty and stillness of the horizon, the soft breeze as we savored each crazy delish bite… Feasting with friends on the beach with this loose nod to Spain is the epitome of summertime swooning—who needs Ibiza anyway! Snoop my simply swoony seashell candle DIY here on The Chalkboard Mag!