Does anyone have suggestions for appetizers to serve before paella?
Paella is such a star meal in it's own right, I would keep it very simple. Maybe some tapas. Roasted peppers, olives, shrimp if you aren't adding shrimp to the paella.
I'd also go easy on appetizers - paella is pretty major. Maybe just warm, toasted Marcona almonds - available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. - and a bowl of olives. You could also serve a wedge of Manchego cheese (crackers or very thinly sliced baguette) garnished with thin slices of membrillo (Spanish quince paste) - classic and delicious together.
Personally, i'd keep it Spanish, and go salty, impactful, intense and appetizing-to prepare for the heavier, starchy Paella ahead. A Cava Cocktail to start, 3/4 of a champagne glass filled with Cava, a splash of grapefruit juice-then float a tablespoon or so of Campari on top.
For food, saute until golden and soft a white onion cut in half circles. Top toasts with Boquerones-marinated white anchovies and some of the onions. You could also first rub the toast with the cut side of a tomato first. Some Spanish goat cheese on the toasts with a little onion. Shisito peppers, quickly blistered in a hot pan with some olive oil, good shot of salt as they come out of the pan. A small plate of Spanish Arbequina Olives. Some Marcona Almonds.
Dates wrapped in bacon and grilled
I would also keep it simple since the main is a big and complex dish. But once I needed some elaborate nibbles for grazing a couple hours before the mains, so I did: roast multicolor pepper strips marinated with garlic and capers in olive oil-some with anchovies, toasts on the side, cold lemon marinated shrimp, roast asparagus-some wrapped with proscuitto, tiny meatballs in saffron sauce, shots glasses of chilled soup-gazpacho would work. So would little squares of potato frittata
I also think nuts and olives are enough. When you sit you could start with a salad.