Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spanish appetizers

Cheers to the rest of the Spanish appetizers! We started with the Ceviche and then continued eating. We needed to have a brief timeout before our entrees. Wow, what a meal! Spain certainly came close to some of my personal favourites - Mexico, Italy and Argentina.

Gazpacho tradicional – (Cordoba)
You can also see one of the wine samples we had (and possibly our favourite) in the background as well as the Crema de ajo which we'll post next. See the video of how to made traditional gazpacho here.

Manchego Castilla (La Mancha) con pan

Almond-stuffed olives (por todas partes)

The next photo shows both the manchego cheese (served with fresh bread) and the almost completely demolished olives. I never would have thought that olives and almonds would go together, but they absolutely do. Wonderful flavours! A little bit of olive oil added also goes a long way.

Excuse the random "Warning" signs in the photo...K&V are doing a kitchen reno...there are many appliances lying about and this one functioned conveniently as a table for appetizers. We'll update the blog when the renovation is done. It's going to be beautiful!

Bacon-wrapped Dates.
After a visit to Embrujo Flamenco in Toronto and thanks to Chef Elizabeth Fernandez, these will be a mainstay no matter what party Kris hosts!

Sorry, no photo...we ate them too fast (as we were making more food!).

18 medjool dates
9 strips lean bacon
18 wooden toothpicks
2 tbsp (30 ml) honey
Pit dates then form back into their original shape.
Pat bacon dry with paper towel and cut crosswise in half.
Wrap dates with bacon; secure through centres with toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Place dates in shallow roasting pan. Bake on middle rack on preheated 450F (230C) oven 10 minutes. Flip dates. Bake until crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; drain on paper towel. Cool 5 minutes.
Arrange on plate; drizzle with honey.
Makes 18 (for 6 tapas servings).
This article ran in Starweek on June 5.

Albondiguitas al azafran
Penelope Casa is a world-renowned expert on Spanish cuisine. This recipe is excerpted from her updated cookbook, Tapas (Knopf, 2007, $38).
1/2 lb (225 g) ground veal
1/2 lb (225 g) ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) minced parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 slice bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk or water and squeezed dry
11/2 tsp (7 mL) coarse salt Freshly ground pepper Flour for dusting
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) minced onion
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
1/2 cup (125 mL) veal or chicken broth
2 tbsp (25 mL) white wine Several strands saffron Minced parsley for garnish
In a bowl, mix together lightly the veal, pork, half of the garlic, 1 tbsp (25 mL) of the parsley, the egg, bread, salt and pepper. Form into very small balls, not larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm). Dust with flour.
Heat the oil in a shallow casserole large enough for all the meatballs. Brown the meatballs well on all sides. Add the onion and saute until it is wilted. Sprinkle in the paprika and cook for a minute. Stir in the broth and wine, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash together in a mortar or mini processor the remaining minced garlic, the remaining tablespoon (15 mL) of parsley, the saffron and a little salt. Stir this mixture into the meatballs, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
These meatballs can be made several hours or even a day in advance and reheated.

Tortillitas de gambas (Cadiz)
Directions follow here:

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