After I graduated from college, I moved to Spain for a few months. I had always felt a connection to and a fascination with the country so this was a big deal for me. But, while I may have been in the land of croquetas, bravas, manchego, and Ferran Adrià, do you know where I ate the majority of my meals when I wasn’t in my apartment making ill-fated attempts at gazpacho? Sbarro.
Now, I’m not saying I was an idiot back then…but, I was kind of an idiot back then. What I wouldn’t give right now to have no job, a pocket full of weak pre-euro pesetas, the metabolism of my early twenties, and endless days to indulge in Spain’s gastronomic awesomeness.
While I’m on the topic of regrets, an old roommate of mine bought me a copy of The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen a few years ago, and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. For someone who thinks that Ancestry.com is lying about her Irish heritage, that’s just unacceptable. I mean, what would my great grandmother, Señora O’Brien de la Killarney, think?
So, I remedied these wrongs and engaged in some serious tapas action this weekend.
Oh, one last thing: whenever you are mentioning tapas, especially around the elderly, may I suggest that you enunciate. Don’t find yourself on Christmas Day telling everyone that you’re going to take your brother to a new tapas place only to have them think you said topless. That’s just weird. Pull a Paltrow and say it with a lisp if you have to.
On the Menu
Chorizo (for Logan)
Olives, Roasted Peppers, and Manchego Cheese
Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
Pan Con Tomate
Chorizo:Simple preparation – Spanish chorizo tossed in a pan for a few minutes and then drained on a paper towel
Olives, Roasted Peppers, and Manchego Cheese:Combine your favorite olives with roasted peppers and sliced Manchego cheese. For a cute party presentation, serve on skewers
Patatas Alioli and Spinach: Recipes from “The New Spanish Table”
Pan Con Tomate: My recipe below
One baguette, preferably one that is dense and chewy as opposed to a crusty loaf
One large tomato
One garlic clove, halved
Fragrant olive oil
Heat a grill pan over medium heat
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and place the two halves on the grill pan
Once the bread is just warmed, remove from the grill pan, brush with olive oil, and rub with the garlic slices
Put the bread back on the grill pan to toast both sides
Meanwhile, grate the tomato on a box cutter
Once the bread is toasted on both sides, remove from the grill plan, spoon on the tomato puree, brush with a bit more olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt
Cut into pieces and serve
The pan con tomate is great by itself, but I also love to make a manchego cheese sandwich with the pan as the bread. It’s also delicious with a little smear of alioli.