Monday, January 24, 2011

Spanish Tapas

Hello everyone...sorry for the LONG delay. I have been so busy with the new chapter in the life. Good news I will posting a lot more with the new class; World Cuisine.

Our first week in world cuisine we made tapas from Spain. The menu consisted of: Aceitunas Verdes Rellenas de Pimiento y Anchoa: Green Olives Filled with Piquillo Peppers and Anchovy; Queso Idiazábal: Cheese with Fresh Herbs; Pan Con Tomate: Tomato Toast; Calamares Encebollados: Squid with Caramelized Onions; Garum: Black Olive, Anchovy, and Caper Spread; Croquetas de Jamón: Serrano Ham Fritters; Bacalad Al Ajo Arriero: Bacalao Hash; Tortilla de Patatas: Potato Omelet; Gambas Al Ajillo: Sizzling Garlic Shrimp.

We found that the menu could worked even better if given time to rest; for instance the cheese needed time to marinate over night with the fresh herbs. I made the Queso Idiazábal; which is cubed Idiazábal cheese marinated in extra virgin olive oil with fresh herbs (rough chopped rosemary, thyme),  crushed garlic and peppercorns. Still a very good dish but even better if marinated longer...we paired the cheese with the croquetas de Jamon and the stuffed green olives.

The stuffed green olives were stuffed with anchovy filets and piquillo peppers; then marinated in olive oil, garlic, orange zest and sherry vinegar. The croquetas were made with a bechamel combined with jamon serrano; a very traditional ham of Spain. The mixture is hardened in the fridge/freezer and then hand rolled into a traditional breading procedure. The croquetas are fried in an olive oil filled pan and served hot.

We also made an omelet of scalloped potatoes, thinly sliced onions, whipped egg, and salt. You start by thinly slicing skinned potatoes and then lightly frying/browning them in hot olive oil. Remove the potatoes and dry on paper towel while lightly frying the thinly sliced onion in the same olive oil. Combine the potatoes, onions, eggs and salt...then pour the mixture into a small amount of the remaining oil. Just like a frittata lightly fry the mixture and slide onto a plate and then flip onto the pan to finish the other side. Serve the tortilla as a whole to the table; we choose to cube the tortilla and use as a tapas.

I was not a big fan of the squid and onions; the procedure asks us to cook the squid twice for about 20 seconds and I believe it made it chewy. The tomato toast was surprisingly good but boring. We didn't have ripe tomatoes to broil in order to get the amount of juice needed for the toast; the garum spread was good and made the toast but again not appealing to the eye.
My favorite by far was the Bacalao Hash; we choose to de-salt the cod by slowly cooking in milk until it flaked with apart with a fork. The bacalao is mixed with the shaved potatoes, sauteed onions, peppers, sweet paprika, tomato sauce, wine and piquillo peppers. When the hash rests it begins to develop its flavor intensely and served with warm sliced baugettes.
Overall we had a good first class and the food was pretty good; I wish we could have done the other half of the Spanish menu but we were only able to get the first course done....tapas.

Garlic Shrimp

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