Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Falice navidad!

Liz P. treated us to one of my favourite riojas and some tapas.  What a great combination of tastes and colours!  Thanks for the wonderful evening and for sharing the recipes...

Herederos Del MARQUES DE RISCAL Rioja Reserva 2005:  In the 1800's, this became the first winery in the region to use the Bordeaux method.  Reserva is made from Temporanillo grapes coming from vines at least 15 years old, and then spends two years in American oak.  The result is a wine with intense ruby colour, fruity aroma and taste with a hint of oak and tobacco.

Anchovy, olive and chile sticks
- salty, spicy and umami flavour bursts to wake up the palate

Gilda means lollipop, and the classic Gilda is a simple assembly of a guindilla (Spanish chile pepper), an anchovy and an olive.

Ingredients for 12 servings, local substitutions easily made
- 3 1/2 oz marinated anchovies in olive oil & vinegar - Mild White Anchovy Fillets, 3.17 oz
- 10 oz guindilla chillies, cut into 3/4-inch pieces Tangy Basque Peppers in Wine Vinegar - 4.5 oz
- 8 oz pitted green olives
PreparationCurl up each anchovy and thread it onto a cocktail stick, along with two or three guindilla chillies and an olive. Stack the gilda onto a plate and serve immediately.

Brochetas de Gambas y Bacon

The Spanish love bacon, which they cure and air-dry in the same way as their famous jambon. This combination of prawns and bacon is very popular, and can be found at most Tapas bars.

Ingredients for 12 servings
    * 5 oz thinly sliced bacon (jambon or proscuitto could be substituted)
    * 24 medium to large uncooked, headless prawns, peeled
    * Freshly ground black pepper
    * 1 tablespoon olive oil
    * 2 lemons, quartered


Cut the bacon into pieces which will wrap generously round the prawns. Place the wrapped prawns down flat on a board and skewer them through the fattest part and the tail. Season generously and drizzle with the oil.

On a high heat, griddle, grill or barbecue the prawn and bacon brochettesfor 2-3 minutes on each side, so the bacon crisps up. Alternatively, roast in a hot oven (425ºF) on an oiled baking tray for 8-10 minutes. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Ensaladilla rusa (Spanish Potato Salad)

This traditional tapa is served throughout every region of Spain, with little variation. A poorly made version will taste like a mouthful of mayonnaise. On the other hand, a well-made ensaladilla rusa is a perfectly balanced mixture of potatoes, hard-cooked eggs, and vegetables, using the mayonnaise solely to accent these other flavors. This colorful salad is served at nearly every tapas bar.

Ingredients to serve 4
    * 3 medium (16 oz) potatoes
    * 1 large (3 oz) carrot, diced
    * 5 tablespoons shelled green peas
    * 2/3 cup (4 oz) green beans
    * 1/2 medium onion, chopped
    * 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    * 4 cocktail gherkins, sliced
    * 2 tablespoons baby capers
    * 12 anchovy-stuffed olives
    * 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced thin
    * 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz) mayonnaise
    * 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    * 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    * Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    * Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


In a saucepan, cook the potatoes and carrot in lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until almost tender. Fold in the peas and beans, and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Drain the vegetables and transfer them into a serving platter. Add the onion, pepper, gherkins, baby capers, anchovy-stuffed olives, and egg slices.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the mayonaise, lemon juice and mustard. Add this mixture to the serving platter, mixing well to ensure all the ingredients are coated. Sprinkle with pepper and toss. Garnish with chopped parsley and refrigerate. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour immediately before serving to enhance the salad's flavor. As any dish made with mayonnaise, ensaladilla should be refrigerated and will not keep for more than 1 to 2 days.

NOTE: So simple, and utterly fantastic. Slightly al dente potatoes and carrots, a 1-2 minute addition of frozen peas and fresh beans in the roiling water. A drain and a cold water bath. Laid out and ready to add the dressing when ready.

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