While I love paella, I shy away from attempting the classic complicated method when entertaining. Here’s an impressive streamlined approach I developed to make this dish a day ahead. So, when guests arrive, there’s only a heating-and-stirring step left to do. There are few one-dish entrées more appealing than this.
Cooked lobster or mussels
Lobster or mussels make an attractive deluxe addition to this paella. You may want to purchase lobster that’s already cooked; two small lobsters is sufficient. Keep them refrigerated until serving time. Then break into pieces, separating claws and head from body. (You may want to clean out head and use it as decoration, as we have done.) Warm lobster pieces, either in a microwave or in a foil-covered pan in oven. To cook your own, add whole lobster to a large pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes for small lobster. Cook 2 pounds (1 kg) cleaned mussels in 1 inch (2.5 cm) of boiling water in a large covered saucepan, from 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any mussels that are not open after that time.