Another summer classic: Ensalada Campera (country salad), just like the abuela (granny) used to make it.
Ingredients (for four people)
1 Kg (2.2 pounds) potatoes (medium size)
1 italian green pepper
1/2 small onion
2 hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoons of vinager
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tin of tuna
Start by washing the potatoes and boiling them for about 20 minutes, or until tender. At the same time place the egg in cold water in a separate saucepan and count 10 minutes from the moment it starts boiling. While you let both the potatoes and the egg cool down you can chop up the cucumber, green pepper, and tomatoes into cubes, and then chop the onion very thinly. If you wish to use tuna it can be added at this point, using a fork to break it into smaller pieces while taking it out of the tin. When the egg and potatoes are cold enough to handle, peel them, chop up the egg white into small cubes and slice the potatoes into 1/2 cm (quarter inch) wide slices. Place all the ingredients in a largish dish and sprinkle with salt. Place the dish in the fridge for at least an hour so the salad is cold. Just before serving prepare the dressing: crumble the egg yolk into a bowl, add the vinager and finally add the olive oil slowly while mixing it with a small whisk. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it.
As the temperatures rise in Madrid, Marina decides it’s time for that summer classic, Gazpacho!
Ingredients (4 people)
1 Kg of Ripe Tomatoes
1 Italian Green Pepper
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Garlic Clove
1 Slice of bread
1 Small glass of water (Wine size)
1 Teaspoon of salt
2 Dessert spoons of Vinegar
6 Dessert spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place all the tomatoes (except one), cut into quarters, in the blender, with a slice about 5 cm wide of green pepper, a slice about 5 cm wide of peeled cucumber, half of the onion and the garlic. Then blend for 5 minutes or until the mixture is completely smooth. Then add the water and salt and mix again. Taste to check that the salt is ok, then add the vinegar and mix again. Finally when the vinegar level is ok, add the olive oil and mix in at a slow setting until it mixes in completely.
Let it cool in the fridge for a few hours before serving. It can be served either as a drink in a glass or as a starter in a bowl with garnish or "pispirrisâ€. To prepare the pispirris cut the tomato, the remaining green pepper and cucumber, half an onion and a slice of bread into very small cubes then place each in a separate bowl. Take these bowls to the table in a tray and let each person choose what they want to add to their own Gazpacho.
1 litre of milk (full fat)
100 gr sugar
100 gr icing sugar
1 cinnamon stick (about 6 cm / 2.5 inches long)
Peel of 1 lemon
4 egg whites
A few drops of lemon juice
A very small pinch of salt
Pour the milk into a saucepan together with the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and normal sugar. Turn the hob on and let it simmer for 5 minutes while you stir it with a wodden spoon to disolve the sugar. Then pour it in a bowl and let it cool down.
When the milk is at room temperature remove the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick and place the bowl in the freezer until the mixture is very cold but not frozen.
Now place the egg whites in a bowl with a few drops of lemon juice and a very small pinch of salt (both of the last ingredients help the egg whites to rise), then mix them until they are snowy (punto de nieve). Then add the icing sugar little by little while continuing to mix.
Take out the mixture from the freezer and add the merangue little by little, gently folding it into the milk to get the appropriate consitency. Now keep it in the fridge, and put it in the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before serving to improve the consistency even further. If you keep it in the freezer until it freezes, then you will need to put it through the blender before serving.
Serve it in tall cocktail glasses with plenty of cinnamon powder sprinkled on top.
Note that if you have an ice cream machine you can also use this recipie to make Leche Merengada ice cream.
1/2 Kg of small potatoes
100 gr of sea salt (rock salt)
Mojo Picante (Red):
1 garlic clove
2 pimientas canarias or cayenne peppers (soaked if they are dry and seeds removed)
1/3 of a medium red pepper
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp water
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soaked bread (for consistency)
Mojo Cilantro (Green):
1 garlic clove
3 sprigs of coriander
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp Rock salt
2 tbsp water
6 tbsp olive oil
Potatoes: Wash the potatoes throughly and leave the skin on. Then put them in a saucepan with water that just covers the potatoes and the sea salt – lots of slat is needed to help the potato skins to get wrinkled in the final stage of cooking. Boil them until they are tender – 15 mins approx. (check a fork passes easily through them). Then get rid of the water, put the saucepan back on the hob at very low heat and shake it every now and again till they dry and the skin becomes wrinkled.
Mojo Picon: Peel the garlic clove and puree it with a hand mixer together with the cayenne peppers, the red pepper, salt, vinegar, cumin seeds (grind them in the pestle and mortar beforehand to release the aromas), and sweet paprika. Then add the water and mix and check the salt and garlic point in case you need to add some more. Finally add the olive oil and mix it with the machine at a lower speed. If you want to give it more consistency/thickness add a spoon of soaked bread and mix again.
Mojo Cilantro: Peel the garlic clove and puree it with a hand mixer together with the coriander sprigs, the salt, vinegar and water. Finally add the olive oil and mix it at a lower speed.
Note that the mojos can be served with meat and fish and therefore can be prepared in larger quantities and kept in jars in the fridge for a couple of weeks or so if the oil covers the rest of the mix.
This is a simple, healthy specialty from Cordoba, prepared and served cold, and ideal when the weather starts to warm up.
1 Kg of tomatoes
1 garlic clove
A 10 cm chunk of white baguette (it’s ok if its hard/a few days old)
2 tbs Vinegar
1/8 litre of Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 Boiled egg (optional)
100 gr of chopped up serrano ham (optional)
This recipe really needs the use of a powerful blending machine – if you don’t have one you can use a hand mixer as long as you use a "pasapuresâ€ (mouli) in the final stage.
Start by immersing the bread in a bowl full of water, then wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters. When the bread has softened, get it out of the bowl and get rid of the excess liquid by squeezing it with your hands, then place it along with the tomatoes in the mixer jar.
Add a peeled garlic clove cut into quarters, a pinch of salt and then start your machine for 4 to 6 minutes.
Check the texture, it should be quite thick, but if you think it’s too dense for your taste then you can add from 1/2 to 1 glass of cold water. To do so start the mixer and add the water little by little stopping every now and again to check if the texture is right.
Taste for salt and add more if needed, start the machine for a few seconds so it mixes properly and repeat the procedure until the salt is just right.
Then proceed to add the vinegar, again start the machine for few seconds to allow proper mixing. Stop the machine and taste again, if you think it needs a little bit more, add more vinegar.
Finally, add the oil gradually, starting the machine at a low speed setting. Again, stop to taste.
I know it might be annoying to start-stop so many times but I find that is the only way to get the taste that one likes, which as a matter of fact also depends on the acidity of the tomatoes, so the taste might vary each time. It is also important to follow the order, for example water should always be added before the oil.
To present the Salmorejo, serve in small bowls or small earthenware dishes. You can eat it alone, or for a more filling dish you can add a spoonful of boiled egg chopped very finely and/or a spoonful of serrano ham, also cut into very small pieces – these are sprinkled onto each bowl just before serving. – Marina
350 gr. of prawns
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/2 small chilli sliced in little rings
10 table spoons olive oil
Gambas al ajillo – Garlic Prawns
For fresh prawns, peel carefully so they don’t break. With frozen prawns, defrost thoroughly before cooking.
Put the oil in a small earthenware dish (e.g. 6″ diameter) or a small frying pan (TIP – the oil should cover the prawns, so it is better to use a small frying pan – then you don’t need to use so much oil).
Once the oil is smoking, add the garlic slices and wait until they start to brown, then add the chilli rings and the prawns. As the oil is very hot, they cook pretty quickly so turn them round and remove the frying pan from the heat. This process should not take more than 1 minute, especially if you are using an earthenware dish, which keeps the heat for a long time (meaning that they continue to cook for a while after you remove the dish from the heat). Cover them with a plate till you reach the table and serve immediately.
This is a very basic soup called "Pure de Verdurasâ€. It is very easy to cook and it is the most comforting food for when its cold or you are feeling tired.
Ingredients (4 people)
3 leeks (or 4 small)
1 big potato or two small ones
Extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 1/2 tomato or a stick of celery or a few green beans
For the picatostes (croutons): Bread and olive oil
Place all the vegetables and salt in a saucepan and just cover them with water. Let them boil for about 30 minutes or until the vegetabes are soft. Turn the hobb off and add the olive oil, be generous as this will give lots of flavour to the soup. Finally puree it with a hand mixer. If you wish you can add croutons.
Picatostes (croutons) preparation: Cut a slice of bread for each person and then cut it into small cubes. Place 2cm of oil in a frying pan and when the oil starts to smoke add the bread cubes for a couple of minutes or until they are brown. Take them out of the frying pan before they burn and place them in a plate with a piece of kitchen roll to get rid of the excess grease. Finally serve the soup in bowls and add the picatostes to each bowl.
Lubina al Horno (Sea Bass)
This is a delicious white fish. The recipie is very easy and quick to prepare, the secret really lies in the quality of the fish.
Start by preheating the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) for 30 minutes. Then peel and slice both the potatoes and the onions, place them in an oven-proof dish, drizzle some olive oil on top and place the dish in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the potato is cooked.
I ask the fishmonger to open the fish in half, cutting from the bottom of the belly up to the spine, but he also cleans the insides and gets rid of the scales. I prefer to keep the main backbone as it adds taste while the fish is cooking and it can easily be removed afterwards.
While the potato and onion are cooking, place the fish, opened out like a book, on a big plate, then peel and slice the garlic cloves and put them on top of the fish, as well as 3 or 4 lemon slices and a few parsley leaves that have previously been washed and chopped up. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and drizzle on a little more olive oil. When the potatos are ready, transfer the fish to the oven dish by placing it on the top of the potatoes and onions, open side up.
Cook the fish in the oven for only 10 minutes. I know that it might sound like a short time, but if you leave it longer it will get dry, and if the oven was propely preheated it won’t need more time (unless you use a bigger fish).
Tips: Place the fish in the oven when you are more or less ready to eat it, otherwise if you leave it in the oven for a while with the oven off, the fish will get very dry. You can use the same recipie with other fish like hake, gilthead bream or even salmon.
Marina and Ben go for Sunday morning tapas in Madrid, before Marina prepares ‘Pimientos Asados’, roast red peppers, in the kitchen at home.
Pimientos Asados – ingredients for four people:
Three large red peppers
2 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Wash the peppers, rub them in oil and place in an oven dish. Roast them at 200º Centigrade for 40 minutes, until the peppers collapse:
When they have cooled down enough to touch, peel the skin off then tear the peppers into strips, and place these in a bowl. Next, crush the garlic on top, add a pinch or two of salt and pour on a generous quantity of olive oil (the more the better if you want to keep them in the fridge for a few days). Turn the strips carefully until the garlic and oil are well mixed amongst them, and serve alone or on slices of bread.
Welcome to the first podcast from Cuisine from Spain. In this edition we talk about olive oil, we taste different types (Arbequino, Hojiblanca and Picual) and also prepare Pantumaca, which is a very simple and delicious recipe.
Pantumaca’s ingredients are:
Rustic bread (white flour and rye)
2 garlic cloves
2 or 3 very ripe tomatos
Extra virgin olive oil
Cut a garlic clove in half and rub the open side against the toasted bread, then do the same with one of the tomatoes, until some of the pulp and juices have soaked in. Then drizzle on the olive oil. This can also be eaten with other ingredients on top such as Manchego cheese, Iberico ham or smoked Salmon.
Olive oil and traveling:
On the roads of Southern Spain, mainly Andalucia, Castilla la Mancha and Extremadura, you get endless rolling hills full of olive trees. If you like the idea, I would recommend either visiting Jaen province (which is said to have as many olive trees as the whole of Italy) or Cordoba. Another great way to enjoy the olive tree fields is taking the fast train (AVE – http://www.renfe.es/ave) from Madrid down to Cordoba or Seville during the day time, it has breathtaking views!
We’re back! It was about time for another in the original Notes from Spain series – thwarted in our attempts to get to Asturias for the weekend, we bring you another delicious cooking cast – this time it’s ‘Pisto’, the wonderful vegetable stew served with eggs and bread.
Plus we discuss whether or not the Spanish deserve their fame for being lazy, and whether or not this is truly a liberal country these days.
Something I’d like to add: a couple of times in the podcast I mention that Spain was different when I arrived 7 years ago. Don’t worry, everyone said the same to me when I arrived – Spain is always being accused by ex-pats as having been better when they first arrived. But worry not, it’s still just as magical as it was when I first got here, come and have a look some time!
The recipe: Chop up 1 corgette/zucchini, 2 green peppers, 1 red pepper, and 2 onions, and fry in olive oil until tender (about 15 mins). Add 1 large tin of tomatoes, salt, a bay leaf and a sprinkle of oregano. Cook for 15 more mins. Fry an egg and place on top to serve. Tastes even beeter after a day in the fridge!