To be honest… i never liked the idea of small bites of food. Of course, i like to try everything, but the idea of mixing too many things in my stomach makes me sick… Good fun to go out with friends having nice dishes – its so obvious, that u gonna have a spoonful of each plate just for the taste – U should be very tough to vote for a snail or whelk main course by yourself.
Tapas – modern fast food. Not really healthy – but firmly better than Mr. King Burger or Sir Donalds… i would say, really simple, nothing else is going on just wonderful ingredients – the hardest part to deliver…
In Spain this tradtitional Petit Pot Portion of food can be served in so many ways from family type of taverna with simple stuff – sandwiches, croquettes, dumplings – to a proper posh restaurant with amazing creations of tapas using only the best local fresh ingredients.
Did i mention ingredients? Well let me introduce the most wonderful thing from Spain… Ham.
Serrano : Mr. Pata Blanca – all the ham in Spain from `domesticated pigs with white meat`.:) They use to dry the meat in the air, in small mountain-channels (thats what serrano means). Much cheaper than the `Big Brother Iberico` – but still good quality.
Iberico : Mr Pata Negra – this `half wild` pig with black trotters eats basically nothing else, just grain and acorn, but there are a few different types depending on it
- Cebo – mostly eats grain, corn
- Recebo – fatten up mostly with acorn, but 30% of its nutrition can be grain or something else
- Bellota – mostly eats just acorn, and a minimum of 3 kilos per day
I have to mention here, that there is another type of ham, the Joselito, which belongs to the `bellota` group, just even better. The little Jose eats 7 kilos of acorn and one animal has got 3 hectare field (not like other bellota pigs, they have only 1 hectare).
We have to think about how they fatten these animals up, because one oak tree needs 50 years to produce that kind of acorn, what Jose would like to eat, and because it eats a lot, one old tree could feed one fatty piggy for 5 days only.
After these u can see, why this is the best ham in the world…
The main proccess is – first they put the ham in salt (usually one kilo meat needs one day in salt), after it goes to the dryer room where they playing to open or close the window depending on the weather, and after half a year the ham goes to the cellar for 24-36 months. And that’s it – buon apetito!!! :)
U can cook with this ham if u really want to – gives a nice creamy richness to sauces, goes really well with mushroom and lots of nuts, herbs, – but i wouldn’t waste it. Just grab a nice slice of homebaked bread, ham on it, cheese or fried egg on the top – easiest tapas ever. Even Marty can do it (but she would destroy all the loveliness of the petit runny quail`s egg-yolk)!!!! :)
By the way, we can stick with the meat product from Spain a little bit more, cause if its tapas, it has to be Chorizo as well… Which is nothing else, just a spanish version of our nice hungarian sausage. And i mean sausage, not the silly english version of some kind of colorless mince meat, no seasoning stuffed and or rolled somehow…
Nice vibrant red color, smokey spicey flavour from the paprika and long shape like a never ending story. Just like a dream. U can make sausage of everything – traditionally the meat is pork minced together with some fat to make it creamy not dry, season with love (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, herbs….) But u can use other type of meat, like pheasant or venison, or create something shocking, like a snail and lobster, lime-carp, mushroom and rooster testicle sausage – with no limit! ( cojonudo -tapa: slice of bread, piece of chorizo and fried quail`s egg on the top)
My favourite stuff from Spain is still the Morcilla – which is the passionate version of Black Pudding. The main ingredients are blood (usually pig`s, but the lamb`s can give an extra kick), bread, onions, fat, nuts, herbs and intestines. U can use morcilla for so many things just like the chorizo – can take out from the skin,can be sauce, filling for ravioli, stuffing for a quail, or do what i did – stuff a gorgeous baby sqiud with it! Amazing! (cojonuda – tapa: slice of bread, piece of morcilla and a fried quail`s egg on the top)
If u are crazy enough, u can make your own dessert morcilla using lots of chocolate, dried and candied fruits, cinnamon and vanilla served with brandy-orange custard… just go mental.
After the meat, we can not ignore the fish and shellfish section considering the fact, that Spain has got a quite big coast :) U can get all kind of aliens from the sea any time of the year, so freshly – thats why the japanese style so popular, cause u can eat all the fish raw because of the freshness. There are several traditional tapas from the sea, like bacalao (salted cod), boquerones (anchovies with vinegar), chopitos (tiny fried baby squid), polbo a feira (cooked octopus) and so on…
Last but not least – i dont really want to waste any word to talk about the richness of the fruits and vegetable. Everyone can image with a climate like this in Spain. So yes, how to make a tapas? With these fresh colorful ingredients – just get a small plate and let yourself playing in the kitchen. :)
Lets see what we did!
baby squid with ink `fish jus`
stuffed baby squid with spicy lentils and morcilla
seared tuna steak with soya sauce and cherry tomatos