Monday, July 29, 2013

The Simplicity of Spanish Cooking

Food starts with the freshest most flavorful ingredients at a neighborhood market.  I will miss buying my produce here:

Mercado on Calle Feria

I will miss the fact that I always go to the same produce stand and the fruit sellers are so friendly, and I will miss chatting with the old ladies while I wait my turn.  People are so easy-going and amiable here in Spain!

And I will miss the quality and prices of the produce.  I've eaten some of the freshest and most flavorful foods here in Spain.  There's a reason Spanish cooking is so simple--when you have such fresh ingredients--and AMAZING olive oil--you don't need anything more.  Fruits and vegetables are still seasonal here, which gives you a greater appreciation of each item, and means they are even more flavorful. It's all about the simplicity.

Just look at all the olive oil!  Good stuff!

My favorite dishes here are: tortillitas de bacalao (salt cod cakes), salmorejo, solomillo al whisky (pork in a garlic whisky sauce), tortilla, paella negra, boquerones (fried fresh anchovies), carrillada (pork cheek), coquinas (cockles), caracoles (snails)....nevermind, I love all the food here, no point in making a list!

Here's a recipe for salmorejo, which is like gazpacho, but way better.  It is a dish from Córdoba:

Put the following ingredients in a blender and blend until very creamy. The key to salmorejo is not under-blending and getting the right balance between bread and tomatoes.  It should be quite thick if you got the bread/tomato ratio right.

1 kilo of tomatoes chopped in big chunks
1 large bread bun (bollo) soaked in water (day old bread is best)
salt
1/4 cup or so of good quality olive oil
1 garlic clove
a dash or so of sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar

My kitchen counter at lunchtime today :)
Chill and serve topped with bits of iberian ham, hard boiled egg, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Delicious!



I guess I will have to make up for the lack of amazing olive oil by putting excessive amounts of green chile on everything I eat :)  And my first stop will be a breakfast burrito here:


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