Spanish Dishes | WYPR

Spanish Dishes

Mar 17, 2014

March 18, 2014 - Radio Kitchen -  Spanish Dishes

A little later this year I'm going to be going to Spain and Portugal, and in anticipation I've been looking up some recipes in my big book of Spanish cooking.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of the Waterfront Kitchen knows, there's a lot to like about Spanish cooking.

Although places like San Sebastian and the rest of Basque country are now centers of advanced culinary art, most Spanish cooking is deeply traditional. Today in Spain you will find some of the most intriguing dishes available in a small plate tapas version.  Consider this variation on the classic communal dish, paella.
                    Pasta Paella

Olive oil for sautéing
1/2 lb of shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1/2 lb of bay scallops, well rinsed,
1 lb firm white fish, like halibut or grouper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb mussels, scoured and cleaned
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tbs paprika
12 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 quart fish stock, flavored with a few strands of saffron
12 oz dry white wine
1 lb fettuccine

1.  In a large, fairly deep cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat and gently sauté the shrimp and scallops.  When done, remove and set aside.  Sauté the fish pieces for a few minutes.

2.  Add the garlic, paprika, and tomatoes to the skillet.  Cook for five minutes, then add the stock and wine to the skillet.  Add the mussels, and cook for another five minutes.

3.  Increase the heat on the skillet, and gradually bring to a boil.  When it is boiling, add salt and the fettuccine, reduce heat and cook until tender.

4.  As the pasta cooks over low heat, add back the shrimp and scallops. Adjust the seasoning, adding more paprika or salt if you prefer.

The northwestern region of Bierzo is home to the popular red wine Mencia, and a very popular sausage called "botillo."  You can get Mencia easily enough in Maryland, but true botillo is hard to come by.  For this sausage pie recipe you can substitute chorizo, a somewhat similar Spanish sausage that is easy to find here.

                Bierzo Sausage Pie

1 1/2 oz shortening or lard, well chilled
enough flaky pie dough for one full pie, also chilled
olive oil for frying
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced about 3/8" thick
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium sized sweet peppers, de-seeded, coarsely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, de-seeded, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs chorizo sausage
egg wash

1.  Roll out the dough to a roughly 8 inch circle.  Apply flakes of the shortening and work it into the dough by folding it over.  Repeat twice, working all the shortening into the dough.  (Work with cool hand to keep the shortening from melting.)

2.  Fry the potatoes in the oil in a covered skillet over low-medium heat.

3.  In another skillet, gently sauté the potatoes, onions, pepper, and tomatoes. As they finish, add the garlic and sauté lightly.  Season with the salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.  Stir and continue to cook until a thick sauce develops.

4.  Meanwhile, skin and cut up the chorizo into 1 inch chunks.  Add this to the tomato mixture.  Stir well.

5.  Divide the dough into two balls.  Roll out the first for a pie bottom.  Press it into the bottom of a greased 10 inch pie pan with deep sides.  Arrange the potato slices in a flat layer on the bottom.  Spoon all of the tomato-sausage mixture over them.

6.  Roll out the second layer of the pie dough, and cover the pie, crimping the edges. Brush the entire top of the pie with the egg wash, and prick the pie crust.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until the crust is golden and flaky.

Here's a lovely recipe that features two other classic Spanish ingredients:  almonds and sherry.

            Chicken with Almonds and Sherry

1 large roasting chicken, cut into 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 4 pieces of breast
All-purpose flour
Canola oil for frying
1 large garlic clove
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 oz dry Oloroso sherry
1 bay leaf
8 oz chicken broth
6 sprigs of parsley
12 almonds
2 yolks of hard-boiled eggs
salt and pepper

1.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and dredge with flour.  Fry the chicken in medium hot oil until they are lightly golden.  Remove, drain and set aside.

2.  Fry the garlic clove briefly in the oil until it is tender.  This takes only a few seconds.  Remove and set aside.

3.  In the remaining oil, cook the onions and then add the chicken pieces.   Cook for a couple minutes, then pour in the sherry and the chicken broth.  Add the bay leaf and parsley.  Bring the skillet to a boil, reduce heat, and cover.

4.  In a large pestle, crush the softened garlic clove along with the almonds and the egg yolks.  Pour in a little of the chicken broth, and then pour the entire mixture over the cooking chicken.  Cover the skillet again, and cook over low heat for another 15 minutes.

5.  To serve, remove the chicken, pour the cooking broth into a serving plate, and arrange the chicken on it.  Garnish with crumbled egg whites.

Vegetables don't seem to make their way to the table in Northern Spain all that frequently.  So cherish them when they do show up next to the pork, beef and seafood.  Here's a great recipe that is perfect for the Spring.

                Rioja Vegetable Medley

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
12 oz fresh green peas
1 large carrot, diced
2 small spring potatoes, cut into small pieces
6 artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
8 spears of white asparagus, trimmed
4 ounces of cooked ham, coarsely chopped
All-purpose flour
Olive oil
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into strips for garnish
Salt and pepper

1.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and gently cook the cut green beans, peas, carrot and potatoes separately, until tender.  Set them aside.

2.  Flour the artichoke hearts and the white asparagus and fry in olive oil over low heat.  When cooked through, drain them on paper towels and set aside.

3.  In a large sauce pan, fry the ham in a little olive oil, then add the peppers. When the peppers have softened, remove them and keep warm for garnish. Then add all of the remaining vegetables and cook in the sauce pan for a few more minutes.

4.  Add the stock and then place the skillet in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.

5.  To serve, arrange the asparagus spears on a plate, and in-fill with the remaining vegetable.  Pour a bit of the remaining broth over the vegetables, and garnish with the red pepper strips.