My post for this week is focused on tapas – small bites from Spain. They are commonly served in bars and for me much surpass the normal packet of crisps or a bag of nuts found in the UK.
Padron peppers are a specialty from Padron in Galicia. They are full of surprises. Although most have a sweet mellow taste every so often you are hit with a fiery hot pepper erupting on your taste buds. I was ecstatic when I received the seeds as a birthday present last year. The plants have been growing in my front window producing a bumper crop.
- Heat the frying pan with some olive oil
- Wash the Padron Peppers and shake off the excess water
- Add to the pan with some sea salt and toss occasionally
- Once the peppers are cooked through and the skins have blistered they are ready to be served
Chorizo in Sherry
The star of this dish is Sherry or Jerez made from white grapes around the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia. Combine this with cooked chorizo – the meaty flavours of the pork and smoked paprika mixed with the sherry produces a fantastic meaty dish.
- Take the chorizo and remove the skin by gently scoring down the length of the sausage. Slice the chorizo into one inch chunks
- Heat the frying pan with some olive oil (or use the same pan as the Padron peppers once cooked)
- Add the chorizo into the pan and cook until the ends become crispy
- Add 1/2 cup of sherry (if using a gas cooker this may ignite)
- Once the sherry has been cooked off, remove with a slotted spoon and serve
Manchego and Salami Bites
Using Manchego from La Mancha with Salchichón Ibérico from Salamanca or Extremadura, these little bites provide a quick tapas dish. Both ingredients have strong flavours, but combined neither over shadows each other and instead compliment the intensive flavours of both. This idea would also work well with other varieties of Spanish cheese and salami.
- Gently brush the Manchego with a very small amount of olive oil
- Slice the Manchego into uniform rectangles
- Remove any skin from the salami and slice into a similar shape
- Using a cocktail stick spear both together and serve
I have been very lucky to enjoy a selection of fantastic tapas and pintxos dishes from across Spain. I remember my first few visits to Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid and being completely overjoyed by the tapas selection. I soon came to realise that tapas can often be more complex and delicious that main meals. Although mine are all very simple I hope to try my hand at some of the more intricate versions over the coming months. Any suggestions?