Adventures in Spanish CookingPosted: September 17, 2008
We had Adam and his fam over for dinner on Monday night, for a Spanish food fest. Adam’s brother-in-law was interested in learning some cooking technique, so I chose a menu that would cover a lot of different areas. He has the knack for sure, easily flipping a Spanish tortilla even! I had him do most of the actual cooking, with me just directing and drinking the gin and tonics (12 Bridges, PDX REPRESENT YO!).
- yellow tomatoes (from the garden!) with a little salt and roasted paprika sprinkled on top
- cubed manchego and fresh mozzarella (yeah, i know, but i like the hard/soft contrast) marinated in olive oil, fresh thyme, basil and chives (all from the garden!), cracked pepper and chili flakes
- rainbow carrots lightly pickled in red wine vinegar, garlic (from the garden!), cumin, oregano and olive oil
- marcona almonds
I usually prepare this by par-boiling the potatoes, but this time we did it up proper by first frying them in olive oil and garlic and then adding to the egg mixture and moving to the pan… again with much olive oil, to get a real nice crisp to the edge. We added minced serrano ham and fine-diced jalapenos (from the garden!), so it came out with a nice aroma and a bit of kick. We made three pans of it, so I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast ever since 😉
True Cod and Clams in Salsa Verde
Earlier in the afternoon I made a stock with onions, garlic, carrot, some rockfish I had in the freezer, some plum tomatoes (I bet you can guess where from…), mussels, flat-leaf parsley and white pepper. This became the base for a sauce somewhat like zarzuela, but with white wine instead of brandy, so giving the dish more of a high note. The cod was first rubbed-down with salt and white pepper, then lightly floured and fried, and then cooked the rest of the way in the sauce. Then came peas, flat-leaf parsley, and when the fish is about done, we threw in the clams and some mussels. We served this up with a large pile of torn up baguette for soaking up the broth.
I found a dry sherry that was very light, with coloring almost like a chardonnay, called La Gitana. It was crisp and not overly sweet, so paired well with the hot weather. We also had some entirely very dark chocolate that was purportedly from Spain, but I’m betting the beans were not!
We spent a good two hours cooking, and had a great time: no injuries, nor recipe mishaps, and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. In retrospect, I’d probably throw some lemon halves in the stock, and let the fish marinate a little longer, but otherwise everything came out pretty well. It was *really* fun to have an excuse to cook a big meal, and hang out with fun people, and all on a MONDAY no less!
I got some of the recipes and ideas from The New Spanish Table, found on Powell’s sale table for $7. It’s a decent cookbook – very accessible recipes, a lot of great tips and background info.