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June Cookbook of the Month: TAPAS by Penelope Casas - ALL RECIPES

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  1. Veal Meatballs in Spicy Chorizo Sauce, Tapas in Sauce, p. 36

    I made these for dinner on Saturday night, and so made them a little bigger than called for, since we weren’t eating them as tapas. The sauce is pretty quick and easy to make, and you could make the meatballs while roasting the tomatoes and garlic. I’ve never liked blood sausage (morcilla) but had no problem with it in this sauce. I found that I kept adding quite a bit of water while cooking the meatballs in the sauce, but no dilution in flavor. Really delicious. Oh – I had ordered a pound each of ground veal, pork and lamb, in anticipation of other recipes, but when it came time to make the meatballs, I realized that the butcher had given me ground sirloin instead of the veal, so I used half ground beef, half ground pork. I imagine that the veal meatballs would have been even more tender, but I was amazed at how much flavor the meatballs themselves had, even without the sauce.

    We'd had sort of a big lunch, so we just had these with the cumin mushroom salad. I also worked on the beets in romesco sauce (putting together for tonight), marinated the olives (Sevilla recipe), and boiled eggs for the chicken livers in sherry sauce, but, for the life of me, I can't find those damn two eggs.

     
    1. Cumin-Flavored Mushroom Salad, Marinades, etc., p. 63.

      Had this with dinner Saturday night, and don't think it quite lives up to "one of the most delicious mushroom salads I've ever eaten", though, granted, I used all cremini mushrooms and no wild ones, which might make a difference. Nothing wrong with it, easy to make, but not mind blowing. I think I'll try the one on the same page next - with olive oil, pine nuts and balsamic vinegar.

       
      1. Tapas (first edition), "Tapas with Last Minute Preparation", Salmon Baked in Foil pg 176

        Since I'm working from the first edition, I'm not sure the page number will help anyone using a more current edition of the book.

        This recipe was quite easy, but, unfortunately, I overcooked the salmon using her recommended cooking time. The recipe calls for thick salmon fillets--perhaps mine were too thin? Next time, I'd cut the time back a several minutes.

        I made a few substitutions for ingredients I couldn't find. I didn't have fino sherry, so I used Manzanilla (which is a bit sweeter); I used the brandy I had on hand rather than buying Spanish brandy. I used chicken stock (the recipe called for veal stock or a combination of beef+chicken stock). And I used prosciutto instead of serrano because it wasn't in either of the grocery stores I went to today, which surprised me. I thought serrano ham would be a no brainer to find.) The flavors in the dish were interesting, but we probably could have used a bit more salt and a bit more Tabasco--both ingredients for which she did not provide a measure.

        I know this was supposed to be tapas, but we used it as our main course along with some very non-Spanish griddled polenta and some steamed veggies.

        I'd definitely try this one again, cutting back cooking time and adding a bit more salt and a bit more Tabasco.

        ~TDQ

         
         
        1. Clams with Pasta ala TDQ (Tapas, page 163, "Tapas with some last-minute preparation")

          I don't know whether to post this or not, but, here it goes. I've never cooked with clams that didn't come out of a can or jar, but, there's always a first time, right? They always seemed so intimidating. Yet, I figured I should just buck up and try it. So, yesterday, I bought two pounds of littleneck clams (they were on sale! my lucky day!) with the intention of cooking the clams with pasta dish for dinner tonight. I followed Casas' directions for prepping clams (in the glossary): she says to scrub them, then put them in salted water with some cornmeal for several hours or overnight. The idea is that the clams eat the cornmeal, which helps them plump up as well as expel any remaining sand. I wasn't sure how much salt, so I just put in a lot. I wasn't sure whether to refrigerate them or not (I did) or whether to cover them with plastic wrap or something (I didn't--I decided it might suffocate them).

          This morning I checked up on my precious bivalvian houseguests and they looked pretty much the same as last night, except that the water was murky. It was right about then my husband reminded me that he had a work function tonight and that I would be on my own for dinner. Oh no! Two pounds of clams to myself.

          So, I decided to post this thread asking if the clams would keep another day in their briney bath, until tomorrow night. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/525186 By the time the thread had run its course, I was absolutely convinced that my little mollusks had all drowned to death because I'd left them too long and that they'd have given their little bivalvian lives in vain because I wouldn't even get one decent meal out of them. And, if by some miracle they were alive when I returned from work, I'd better eat them right away.

          When I came home from work I pulled the bowl out of the fridge and looked for signs of life. One clam seemed a little open, but all the others were firmly closed. As suggested by a couple 'hounds in this morning's thread, I brushed the little guy with my finger, hoping he'd close up. Nothing. I pulled him out of the water. Nothing. I rapped on his shell with a knife. Nothing. I looked in the bowl and , really, there were no signs of life anywhere that I could tell. I was devastated and considered just throwing the whole batch away. This is what Chinese take-out is for, right?

          But, then I thought, what the heck? Why don't I try cooking them and see what happens. I didn't want to expend any energy actually following Casas recipe because I knew the clams were dead and it would be just a giant waste of time and good ingredients. So, I pulled a jar of "hearty artichoke tomato" pasta sauce out of my cupboard, dumped it into a skillet, added a cup or so of water, and turned on the heat. After about 5 minutes, I dumped the clams in and covered it up. After another 5 minutes, I had a peek and about half the clams were open! I grabbed Tapas and tried to figure out how to doctor my pasta sauce--I threw in a bay leaf, a couple of handfuls of frozen peas, some crushed red pepper and about 2 TBSP of Manzanillo sherry. (Casas didn't call for sherry, but I figured I deserved it after all of this.

          )

          Anyway, I served the clams --all of which opened up--with whole wheat spinach spaghetti. It wasn't bad, really, considering.

          The dish isn't true to Casas recipe, but, I did learn some valuable things about cooking with clams that maybe someone, some day might find helpful.

          Humbly yours,

          ~TDQ

           
          5 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Thanks for posting that, TDQ. It made me smile! I'm glad the clams were still alive and kicking.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I like the part where you said you looked into the bowl for signs of life. Were you expecting them to be jumping around and having a party?? They will generally just lay there.
              LOL

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                HA! Well, I wasn't exactly expecting a fiesta, but I wasn't expecting a closed-tight siesta either. I was hoping to find at least a couple of clams had opened, since people were saying one way I'd know they were alive was that they would close up when I touched them...but, if they aren't open, you can't test whether they will, well, clam up to the touch. Also, since the point of cornmeal was for the clams to eat it and expel more sand, I thought maybe I'd be able to see some sand in the bottom of the bowl and,perhaps, less cornmeal in the bowl. Frankly, I don't think any sand was expelled. I did have one bite that had a grain or two of sand in it, otherwise, no problem.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: Davwud

                  Davwud, your clams don't know how to party!

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    My clams usually get out musseled.

                    DT

              2. Stewed courgettes, peppers and tomatoes, Tapas in Sauce, p5
                Chickpeas and spinach, Tapas in Sauce, p6

                I made these dishes for dinner tonight and am still trying to work out what I thought. On the one hand, they're pretty simple dishes - stewed courgettes is stewed courgettes at the end of the day. I used a good Spanish olive oil and organic courgettes, peppers and spinach from my veg box and what struck me was the purity of the flavours. The taste of the vegetables really shone out. I have to admit, I did cheat a bit with the second dish and used canned chickpeas! I was also a bit doubtful about the grated chocolate at the end, but it did actually add a certain something. I think next time I might add chilli flakes.

                I think the reason I'm wavering is that I had this for dinner rather than as tapas and I felt there was something missing. But that might be remedied if it was served in the intended manner, with maybe a nice chorizo or meatball dish.

                I'm going to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and I'll be interested to see whether there's any difference in the flavours.

                3 Replies
                1. re: greedygirl

                  I've been wanting to make those chickpeas, and actually have some nice dried ones, but have been feeling lazy about it. And, I was worried that, since one boils the chickpeas with bay leaf etc., that if I used canned ones, it wouldn't turn out right. Did you do anything to the chickpeas first?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I just warmed them through with the spinach/onion mixture, and added a bit of the canning liquid. Seemed fine - but obviously I have no idea how it would compare with dried pulses. Soaking and boiling dried beans always seems like a bit of a waste of time to me. I usually find that the difference in flavour isn't worth the extra effort.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Rice Salad, Barcelona Style, Marinades, etc., p.74. This was very well-received by my friends last night. Lots of flavors going on in this one, and they combine deliciously. It's fun to make: I used my small Staub (I hardly get to use that sweet thing, so that was fun) to saute minced onion, added medium grain Arborio rice (I couldn't find short-grain), chicken broth, boiling water, salt, parsley, thyme and tarragon. Cover and cook at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes; uncover and let cool. Add the very tasty vinaigrette and minced scallion, cornichon, light meat tuna, minced green pepper, carrot, cucumber, romaine lettuce and pimiento. I let it sit for several hours at room temperature. (I had to make it the night before....thanks to advice on this board, I added the cuke and lettuce the day of, and let it come to room temp. Worked like a charm). The recipe calls for topping each portion with a layer of mayonnnaise, but that didn't appeal to me. I recommend this one......an interesting salad that sparked lots of compliments and questions about ingredients.

                2. A bit off-topic but I thought I'd give you a laugh...

                  A friend's sister recently went to Spain for the first time. On her return, my friend asked her whether she'd enjoyed the food. "Oh no", she said, "it was absolutely terrible". My friend, a bit surprised, enquired further. "Well", said her sister, "they don't eat proper meals, just little bits of things served in ashtrays! We had this awful dry cheese, sausage with great lumps of fat in it, and everything was greasy and swimming in oil. I was so hungry I had to make an excuse and go to Burger King!". She did like paella though, which she pronounced to be "just like Batchelor's Savoury Rice." (This may be a British thing and need translation - Batchelor's Savoury Rice comes in a packet with dehydrated vegetables in it.)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Many years back, I had a boss who was, shall we say, very careful with his money. He took packets of Savoury Rice with him on holiday to Spain.

                    1. re: Harters

                      Sounds like my mother, a true Yorkshirewoman, who used to take tins of mince with us on our caravan holidays in France!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Years ahead of her time, your mum. Think of some of St Delia's recent tinned mince offerings..........

                        1. re: Harters

                          Not to be outshone by Brits who think they have a corner on the bad taste market...Here we have "Rice-A-Roni, The San Francisco Treat"! Just add water, et voila!

                  2. Clams with Onion Confit, Tapas in Sauce, p. 11
                    Mussels in White Wine Sauce, Tapas in Sauce, p. 15

                    The Clams in Onion Confit was great! I didn't have tomato sauce, so I used a dab of tomato paste plus a little water (only 1 tbsp was needed). The slow-cooked onions with the tomato and clam juice was a great combo! I wished I had twice as many clams, which I think the sauce could have supported. I'll try this with mussels too sometime.

                    The Mussels in White Wine was good, but my onions weren't cooked enough. Her directions were a bit vague: "until the onion is wilted." Next time I'll sweat them until they're good and soft before proceeding. The bay leaf was a nice touch.

                    As she directs, I soaked the clams and mussels in cold salt water with cornmeal. I only had 3 hours, but I figured it was better than nothing. And indeed, I could see stuff in the bottom of the bowl that must have come out, and none of them were sandy.

                    I served these on a bed of Millet Cauliflower Polenta from last month's book, The Flexitarian Table. The juices were yummy mixed with the polenta. If I were serving these as real tapas, I'd have bread to soak up the juices, but this made for a nice dinner.

                    1. Shrimp in Garlic Sauce - Tapas in Sauce, p13
                      Tuna Balls in Wine Sauce - Tapas in Sauce, p24
                      Chorizo with Pimientos - Tapas with Some Last Minute Preparation, p188

                      We had pizza for lunch yesterday, so tapas seemed perfect for dinner as neither of us were that hungry. I made three dishes from the book, which we had with olives stuffed with almonds and some walnut ciabatta.

                      All three were good, but the stand-out for me were the tuna balls. They were a faff to make, because my mixture wouldn't hold together very well. I ended up adding more chicken stock, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in an attempt to make them into "meatballs" which held their shape. In her introduction, Casas says you'll be hard pressed to identify the main ingredient as tinned tuna, and she's absolutely right. These are meltingly tender and delicious. I didn't find there was much sauce though, even though I added more broth than specified.

                      The prawns were also good - very garlicky and simple. And the chorizo? What can I say, I love chorizo. I used pimiento from a jar and it was fine. Again, very easy to prepare.

                      The only complaint I have is that there was a LOT of clearing up. I guess that's the nature of the beast when you prepare several small dishes!

                      1. Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce - champiñones al ajillo (Tapas in Sauce, p. 5)
                        Shrimp in garlic sauce - gambas al ajillo (Tapas in Sauce, p. 11)
                        Potato Salad w/Pickles and Capers - patatas tártara (Cold Tapas, p. 74) and mayonesa (p. 49)
                        Salmon-Stuffed Eggs - huevos rellenos de salmón (Cold Tapas, p. 77)
                        Fried Chicken Wings with Soy and Wine Dip - alitas de pollo a la salsa de soja (Tapas with Last-Minute Prep, p. 214)

                        Saturday was the Belmont and we had friends coming over to watch it, so I thought it was a good excuse to serve tapas. I served these, along with Spanish Marcona almonds, Manchego cheese, bread, and piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna (atun eschabechado from "Foods and Wines of Spain", p 24). Beverages were Hippocras from "Cucina" (link below), and red and white Spanish wines - Albariño, Rioja, and Tempranillo.

                        This selection went over well, with everybody having their favorites. Everything was fairly easy and I tried to pick dishes I could prep ahead, though I agree with GreedyGirl - I ended up making a mess of the kitchen with all the different dishes.

                        For the mushrooms, they're cooked with chopped garlic, and then I added lemon juice, dry sherry, homemade chicken stock, smoked paprika, chile pepper, salt and pepper and simmered a minute or two. I made these ahead, reheated, and sprinkled with parsley. For the potato salad, I think the lemony homemade mayo was key and it was quick and easy in a food processor. Process egg, Dijon, lemon juice and salt, and then drizzle in evoo. The other ingredients in the potato salad were parsley, minced dill pickle, capers, and fresh tarragon. This was one of my favorites. For the eggs, I boiled them the night before and stuffed and chilled them the next day. This was another popular tapa yesterday, with a stuffing made of salmon (I used canned since she suggests it), cooked egg yolks, minced onion and dill pickle, pickle juice, mayonesa, Worcestershire, and a dash of cayenne. I left out the tomato sauce. I garnished them with egg yolk before I served them, but forgot the sliced green olive.

                        The shrimp were quick and easy - heat evoo and add garlic and chili pepper. When the garlic starts to turn gold, add shrimp, cook for 2 minutes, and then add parsley, smoked paprika and salt. The wings were really good too - fried and tossed with a simple but flavorful sauce of reduced soy sauce, red wine, and homemade chicken stock and some butter. Casas mentions that this is a Ferran Adrià (of El Bulli) dish. I simplified the recipe, though, as I didn't marinate them ahead of time, and instead of prepping the drumsticks in the fancy way she describes, I just used whole wings I had cut into wingettes and drummettes.

                        For dinner, I had planned on making Canelones and a salad with El Aniño dressing (both from "Foods and Wine of Spain"), but this late lunch filled us up for the rest of the day. I may make it tonight for just the two of us.

                        Hippocras - Spiced Chilled Wine (La Cocina de Mama, p. 9)
                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52451...

                        Pics - mushrooms, shrimp, potato salad, and eggs

                         
                         
                         
                         
                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Rubee

                          Tuna-Stuffed Piquillo peppers, and chicken wings:

                          Atún Escabechado - Marinated Tuna (Foods and Wines of Spain, p 24)
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52451...

                           
                           
                          1. re: Rubee

                            Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce - champiñones al ajillo (Tapas in Sauce, p. 5)

                            These were the surprise hit of a tapas spread. Like Rubee I made them in advance and warmed them just before serving. I opted to quarter rather than slice my mushrooms, and would again. Also, I subbed Spanish brandy for the sherry, and would again.

                            A great little bang for the buck tapa, glad to have it in the repertoire.

                          2. Tuna on fried toast tapas w/ bread or pastry, p. 146

                            Let's say you're home on a weekday and have little in the house and you're hungry for lunch. There's always tuna. (I buy the Italian tuna in olive oil)

                            So I tried Casas' version of tuna salad w/ very little mayo, white wine vinegar, and minced onion. She calls for the cornichon to go on top as a garnish, but I chopped them up for more flavor throughout. She's right -- it's the bread fried in olive oil that makes this dish sing. Not sing a grand opera, but fairly yummy.

                            The extra mayo on top was in my view, a bad idea. (I used Spectrum canola mayo, and I'm afraid it's closer to that horrid miracle whip than Hellman's) I put some strips of piquillo pepper on top. Then I topped w/ coarse sea salt for a zing.
                            Not bad, and I think I might use her idea for a lower fat tuna salad sandwich (though of course the fried bread adds that oil back!)

                            1. Anise flavoured beet salad.

                              I love beetroot, but was a bit underwhelmed by this. It's very simple - you make a dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, S&P and crushed anise seeds (I subsituted fennel) and add to boiled, cubed beetroot. I halved the amount of dressing, which may have made a difference. Good but not great. I prefer beetroot when it's roasted as it concentrates the flavours so may try doing that next time.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: greedygirl

                                There's a roasted beet salad in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that uses a garlicky anise seed vinaigrette (pound a garlic clove with the anise seeds and salt, then make the vinaigrette with that, preferably with sherry vinegar). It's just divine! Sounds like the Casas recipe would pale in comparison. Or to put it in more positive terms, one could say that the Casas recipe is more delicate and refined, but what can I say? I love bold flavors.

                              2. Ok, I just have to start by thanking all you fabulous people for suggesting Penelope Casas books! So far, everything I have tried has been absolutely delicious and very straightforward to make. Casas puts together some mean recipes! We had a lovely meal with a fellow Chowhound and her partner, and decided to try a bunch of the recipes from Tapas. Here goes…

                                1. Home-style Meatballs (Albondigas Caseras): (Page 35, Tapas)

                                While I was making this recipe, I became very worried that it was going to be boring and terrible. I was worried I had overcooked the meatballs, and I was worried about the sauce being uninteresting. Wrong on both counts. This recipe is fantastic!!! The meatballs are flavourful and moist, and the onions/green pepper/tomato/stock blend into an umami-rich sauce that is complex and addictive. MAKE THESE FOR SURE!

                                For the meatballs, you blend ground beef, veal and pork with breadcrumbs, lots of garlic (4 cloves), nutmeg, salt and pepper, then form the balls. Dust the balls with flour, brown them in olive oil. Once the meatballs are browned, add chopped onion, more chopped garlic and sliced green onion, cooking until the onion is wilted. Then add a chopped peeled tomato, wine, chicken broth salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. The recipe called for white wine, but we had opened a bottle of red for the meal, so we just used red wine. It turned out just fine!

                                2. Chicken Livers in Sherry Sauce (Higadillos Al Jerez): (Page 43, Tapas)

                                If you are a fan of chicken livers, this is a very decadent way to eat these tasty little treats. Casas has a great touch with sauces. This sauce is redolent with butter, broth and sherry, and is a rich roux-based sauce.

                                The chicken livers are lightly browned in butter then removed from the pan and set aside. The recipe then calls for chopped scallions, but as I hate green onions, I replaced the scallions with regular chopped onion. Brown the scallions/onions in the remaining butter in the pan until soft. Add flour to make a roux. I cooked the roux for about a minute, to get it a bit browner. The add in sherry and chicken broth gradually, stirring constantly to make a smooth brown sauce. For the Sherry, I used a combo of Lustau’s Rare Amontiladdo and Manzinilla (both very dry sherries). Add salt, pepper, truffle (I did not add truffle, as I didn’t have any, I can only imagine that truffle would take this recipe into the stratosphere) and chopped mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes – I cooked it for a little longer, on low heat so that the sauce wouldn’t burn). Add reserved chicken livers and cook until livers are done. It took longer than a few minutes to cook the livers thoroughly (I’m having to be cautious about cooking my meat well these days). Sprinkle with chopped olives, boiled egg yolk and chopped parsley. I couldn’t bring myself to waste the egg white, so I just chopped up the whole egg and put it on top.

                                3. Mushrooms stuffed with Pork and Pine Nuts (Champinones Rellenos): (Page 164, Tapas)
                                I’ve already had two people ask me for this recipe. This is the best stuffed mushroom recipe I have ever tried by far. The combination of pork and pine nuts is divine.

                                Destem mushrooms, and reserve stems, chop them finely. Sprinkle lemon juice on mushroom caps. Heat butter and sauté finely chopped onions and crushed garlic until onion is soft. Add ground pork, salt and pepper, and brown meat. Add some chopped mushrooms stems, cook another 3 minutes. Then add in bread crumbs, brandy, parsley, chopped pine nuts, salt and pepper. Stuff mushroom caps, dot with butter and cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit. If you are using big mushrooms, cook for 20 minutes. I’m telling you , these were inhaled. I found the stuffing was just barely enough to fill my mushrooms, but I think it is because my mushrooms were really big.

                                4. Marinated Fried Sardines (Sardinas Fritas en Adobo): (Page 207, Tapas)

                                I wasn’t planning to make these, but I happened to see fresh sardines at the fish shop today! How could I resist? This recipe is quite interesting in that you marinate the sardines in a vinegar/spice marinade prior to deep frying them. The piquant vinegar taste adds an extra dimension to the fried sardines. It was a lot of effort to process the sardines, and I kind of screwed up, having never cooked with sardines before. But this recipe is worth the effort if you are a fan of sardines, and the flavour is quite unique.

                                Using small sardines (5-6 inches), clean head, tail, fins, scales and guts. The scales are easily removed by rinsing them under running water and rubbing lightly with your fingers until the shiny iridescent scales wash off (tip from the fish monger). Then butterfly the sardines, leaving them attached at the back. Remove the back bone. Now here is where I struggled. In my attempts to remove the backbone and all the little fins and as much bones as I could, I ended up cutting through the back, and essentially filleting the sardines. I tried to remove the small bones, but I know for a fact I left a bunch of them in the fish,. Fortunately, once they are cooked, you don’t notice them at all. Once the fish are cleaned, you marinate them in a marinade of water, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, dried oregano, minced garlic and salt and pepper for 2 hours. I did not have dried oregano, so I used a combination of dried marjoram and fresh oregano. Then you drain the sardines, blot them dry on a paper towel, dust with flour, dip in beaten egg and water mixture, and deep fry at 365 degrees until golden. These are so goood!!!

                                Photos follow the order of the report. Sorry, the pictures were a bit rushed, we were all very hungry. I won't be posting this weekend, but hope to try some more recipes next week.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                12 Replies
                                1. re: moh

                                  Wow! moh, I'm flabbergasted. What an amazing undertaking. These recipes sound great and I hope to try cooking more from the books, but it's sooooooooo hot here I can't bring myself to cook anything much.

                                  Last night we had lox and tomatoes and onions and cream cheese on Acme Sweet Batard since we had no bagels. My husband thought it was weird. I told him to pretend he was in Denmark or some other place they eat lox without the bagels. In any case, there was no cooking involved!

                                  1. re: moh

                                    Blimey, you did well. I dread to think what your kitchen looked like afterwards! It all sounds great and I'm definitely going to try the mushrooms based on that report.

                                    I think you're very brave cleaning the sardines yourself. I always get my fishmonger to do it - cue lots of dirty looks but hey, I'm paying, and I'm thick-skinned!

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      I agree about the sardines. I've gutted them once and that was enough. It's not hard but it's gross. I know, I know, we need to reconnect with the process of preparing food....I don't think I'll be getting out my rifle and heading into the woods, though.

                                      I agree with gg.... It's the fishmonger's job.

                                    2. re: moh

                                      Looks delicious! Thank you so much for your terrific report. Very inspiring!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: moh

                                        What a great, inspiring report!

                                        The sardine ordeal reminds me of a Roz Chast cartoon to the effect of recipes with 40 steps for people w/ too much time on their hands!

                                        1. re: moh

                                          That all looks amazing. I made the chicken livers last week as well, with the scallions but without boiled egg, b/c I was lazy, or parsley b/c I couldn't find it and we both thought it was a really terrific recipe.

                                           
                                          1. re: moh

                                            Thanks all for your encouraging remarks!

                                            greedygirl, yes, the kitchen was a mess, especially since we also made a few other tapas from another recipe book (bread with tomato, tortilla espagnole and peppers with balsamic and parmegiano). Thanks for the tip of asking the fishmonger, I never even considered it! That would make the sardines much easier to do!

                                            MMRuth, your livers look lovely. I notice that your sauce is a lighter colour. I am wondering, maybe I overbrowned my onions?

                                            Oakjoan, I hope the heat breaks soon, perhaps gazpacho might be in order...

                                            1. re: moh

                                              Willing to take the risk of full disclosure, I must say that moh's kitchen was pretty neat and tidy concerning the impressive spread she put in front of us. We were fed very well, and everything was good; but among all the mushrooms were da bomb. My "I am not a big pork fan" partner devoured an unmentionable amount of them and immediately ordered me to make some. I must say I am also embarrassed about how much I ate... It wasn't ladylike, not at all...

                                              The sardine cleaning situation is tricky. I stopped by the same fishmonger on the way to get meself more sardines, and the person behind the counter wouldn't agree to clean them up for us; I guess it was too much work since the fish were small. And the dude was from our hometown, and we were there just after a football victory; there goes solidarity! Perhaps a tip was necessary? We intended to grill them, so I didn't worry much because degutting is easy (but yeah, messy). But for the recipe that moh made, the process is a lot tricky. You have to debone and butterfly them without fully filleting; I am thinking a really sharp flexible knife will do the trick, or a big bribe to the fishmonger.

                                              I'll ask my dad, who used to make me "very special boneless anchovies from that very special sea" when I was a kid. He no longer bothers to make them since I am grown up and not cute enough to justify that much work; but when I was 30 inches tall, he would debone the fish without de-heading or de-tailing and then stick the body together to give the impression that dem sardines never ever had any bones. Impressive work, and bet there is a trick.

                                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                Re: the sardines - I use the method described by Hazan in for the pasta with sardines dish and it is quite descriptive and works well, if you have her book. The fishmonger did do the basic cleaning - gutting and scaling, but there was still a lot to do to get to the skin on, boned sardine.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  MMRuth, which book are you referring to? There isn't by any chance a web link? Now that I know I can easily get fresh sardines, I'm going to have to continue my experiments!

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    Essentials ... http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Clas...

                                                    If you don't have it, I highly recommend it. I'll take a look at the instructions for you tomorrow.

                                            2. re: moh

                                              Update and yummy addition:

                                              I made yet another batch of the Mushrooms stuffed with pork and pine nuts. I can't tell you how popular this recipe has been! soo yummy...

                                              Well I had some of the stuffing left after making my batch of mushrooms. I also had a crazy amount of hot Cherry peppers left over from my first ever batch of pickled cherry peppers, and not many recipes for them. So, I took the cherry peppers, washed them, cut off the top , reserving the tops for later. Then I cut out the seeds and membranes from the peppers. They were then put in boiling water for 1 minute, drained, and put in an ice water bath to stop cooking. I then stuffed them with the leftover pork and pine nut stuffing, replaced the reserved tops, stuck them into a buttered baking pan, and baked them at 400 degrees Farenheit for 10-15 minutes. I like them even a bit better than the mushrooms (and I love the mushrooms!) because they were quite spicy and bright, and the pork filling was perfect with the peppers. The pork filling nicely complements the spicy pepper.

                                              I am convinced the pork filling would be a great filling for many vegetables, like zucchini, baby eggplant, sweet peppers, tomatoes etc.

                                            3. I'm hesitant to even write this report as I have somehow misplaced my library's copy of the book so I am uncertain as to the page number or exact name of the recipe.
                                              It was the serrano ham and cheese filled mushroom caps and I believe it was in the section of the book that required last minute preparation.
                                              My execution of the recipe was not exact, I subbed in portabellos because we were having it as our main, and I also made it on the grill, basting with garlic infused OO rather than sauteeing. I have to say these were divine. It's a very simple recipe, but sometimes those turn out the best. It was almost rich and just a perfect dinner alongside a simple salad. I will definitely make these again, though my husband requested either swiss or queso blanco next time.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                Arika, I'm glad you posted as I've had my eye on that recipe--what a good idea to make it on the grill!--"Ham-filled Mushroom Caps" appears on pg 141 of my version of Tapas, and in the section you guessed "Tapas with some last-minute preparation"

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                  ohh, nice to use the portabellas! and to grill them, that sounds delicious.

                                                2. Shrimp in garlic sauce - Tapas in Sauce, pg.11
                                                  I actually had not planned on making this last night since I had misplaced my book, but fortunately it resurfaced yesterday. I found it on the bookshelf of all places. Go figure...=)
                                                  The previous reports made this recipe sound so simple, and I am fortunate enough to have to only drive about a mle away from my home to buy fresh shrimp off the boat on which they were caught, so I decided to give it a go.
                                                  Other than the cleaning of the shrimp, which I had never done and never wish to do again, the preparation was very easy and quick. I followed the recipe verbatim. The only modification that was made was by my husband who threw in some red pepper flakes when I put him on stove duty for a moment. He really loved this recipe and said that HE would actually make it again, but I found it to be just ok. It certainly wasn't bad, but it also was not anything overly special IMO.
                                                  Today I am using the leftovers, I made a lot, in chilled shrimp letuce wraps so hopefully I canmake them into something I really do enjoy.

                                                  1. Chorizo with Piquillo Peppers (Chorizo Cafe San Martin) p. 219.

                                                    These are one of my favorites so far, and as a bonus, they can be made ahead of time and then heated in the oven for 15 minutes

                                                    Chorizo is sliced and sauteed, then wine is added (the recipe says red, but I used white since it was already open) along with sliced piquillo peppers, parsley, and garlic. This is all enclosed in a tinfoil packet in a baking dish, and then heated a 350 for 15 minutes. Next time I make this, I'll do it the night before and refrigerate it in the tinfoil packet. This was my husband's favorite so far from this book - so much flavor.

                                                    Sliced Eggs with Garlic and Parsley (Huevos Duros en Alino), p. 77

                                                    This was another simple, do-ahead tapas with lots of flavor. Instead of slicing hard-boiled eggs, I served them halved and spooned the sauce over the dish. The sauce was easy in a food processor - mince garlic, parsley, s & p, and smoked paprika, and then drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil. This can also be made the night ahead. I served as is, but she suggests garnishing with grated carrot and olives.

                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                    1. Casas' recipe for the emapanadilla pastry is no-fault flawless. served theSpinach ones once and they disappeared in 5 minutes.

                                                      We've made the mushroom caps that Moh did many times and they do indeed rock.

                                                      1. Okay, so it's June 29 and I finally had the tapas dinner I've been thinking of all month. Better late than never, although I don't know if anyone is reading this thread still.

                                                        I made 6 dishes from Tapas:

                                                        p. 4 Chickpeas & Spinach
                                                        p. 5 Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce
                                                        p. 5 Spicy Pimientos
                                                        p. 12 Clams in Sherry Sauce
                                                        p. 16 Scallops Poached in White Wine
                                                        p. 66 Cumin Flavored Carrot Salad

                                                        In addition we had manchego cheese and quince paste, anchovy stuffed olives, bread to sop up sauces with, white sangria from Casas' Food & Wines of Spain, and a delicious cherry torte that my friends brought. Oof, I'm stuffed!

                                                        The overall consensus was that there were no losers in the batch. The carrot salad was a particular hit, the clams were my husband's favorite, and I particularly liked the mushrooms.

                                                        p. 4 Chickpeas & Spinach -- I used a summer 'spinach', Magentaspreen lambsquarters, for this dish, and I'm sure I used more than the 1/4 lb she called for. I used canned chickpeas from Trader Joe's rather than boiling my own. I thought this was a pleasant dish, though a bit bland. The saffron and chocolate totally disappeared, and I bumped up the garlic and tomato to try to give it more flavor. I'm not sure cooking the beans from scratch would have made that much of a difference, because I quite liked the chickpeas as they were. In any case, I thought it was okay and my friends liked it quite a bit more than I did. But I'd certainly leave the saffron and chocolate out next time, though true spinach would probably be a little sweeter and mllder tasting, I have to admit, and might let those flavors through. I'm kind of sorry I didn't make the Chickpeas in Onion Sauce on p. 3, but, well, I have all these lambsquarters volunteering all over the garden.

                                                        p. 5 Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce -- I loved this dish! I used a heaping 1/2 tsp of Aleppo pepper (shades of Flexitarian Table) for the red chile, and probably only 1 tbsp of olive oil. I cooked the mushrooms until they looked done enough to me, which was certainly longer than the 2 minutes she calls for, more like 5-8 minutes. Yummy, yummy, my favorite dish.

                                                        p. 5 Spicy Pimientos -- It's too early for my own peppers, so I used jarred roasted peppers from Trader Joe's. While they're tasty straight out of the jar, dolling them up with olive oil, smashed garlic (I did my best guess at 'lightly crushing' the garlic cloves) , and a bit of cayenne made for a deliciously soppable sauce.

                                                        p. 12 Clams in Sherry Sauce -- my husband's favorite of the bunch, and pretty darn good. We made a special trip yesterday to Andronico's to get Serrano ham for this (my goodness, more expensive than the most expensive prosciutto it was!), and it sure was tasty. I doubled the recipe, using 2 dozen littleneck clams, cleansed per her instructions in salt water with cornmeal. I liked the clams with onion confit on p. 11 even better, but I can't complain about this one.

                                                        p. 16 Scallops Poached in White Wine -- Confusingly, this recipe never calls for straining the aromatics out of the poaching liquid, yet I'm pretty sure she means us to do so. I also only simmered the scallops for about 3 minutes, not the 6 minutes she calls for. The final addition of butter and parsley makes this a French tasting sauce, very tasty, though a bit modest compared to some of the more robust flavors of the other dishes. But I liked it.

                                                        p. 66 Cumin Flavored Carrot Salad -- A real hit! The somewhat unorthodox preparation calls for simmering the whole carrots (I cut them in half, actually) in a mixture of chicken broth and water, then slicing them into coins and marinating with vinegar, cumin, and other spices. The smoky paprika was particularly pronounced and yummy. A real keeper!

                                                        What fun! I did all of the preparation in the morning, including cooking the vegetable dishes to completion. So all I needed to do at dinner time was warm things up a bit, and cook the clams and scallops. It went like clockwork. Sorry, no pictures. I should engage my husband to photograph them if people really care. Personally, when the food is done, I want to EAT it, not photograph it.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                          Great report, thank you. Who knew the carrot dish would be so delIcious!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                        2. Better late than never....

                                                          Chicken Liver Paté with Sherry Glaze “Casa Irene” (Tapas p. 103)

                                                          You sauté sweet onions and garlic in butter very slowly until they start to caramelize, then add cleaned chicken livers, fresh thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper. When cooked, flambé in brandy. Cool then purée in food processor with tons of softened butter and heavy cream. Refrigerate in small crocks. When cool, top with a layer of gelatin melted into very sweet sherry (I used marsala because that’s what we had). This was very good but I would do two things differently. First, I would cut down on the butter and cream, only because it came out as liver-flavored butter, when I really wanted buttery chicken livers. Second, I would spend a lot more time smoothing down the surface of the paté so the gelatin layer would cover it smoothly, and come to think of it (third change), I would make a bit more of the gelatin layer – it really worked well but there wasn’t enough of it. So good but could be great.

                                                          Mushroom Salad with Pine Nuts and Caramelized Balsamic Vinegar (Tapas p. 63)

                                                          ¡A real winner! Pan toast pine nuts. Remove. Sauté sliced mushrooms in olive oil (she calls for oyster, we used shitake and crimini), seasoning with salt and pepper. Reduce a bit of balsamic vinegar by half. Serve mushrooms and pine nuts on baby salad greens and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Perfect without changes.

                                                          Lamb Meatballs in Brandy Sauce (Albondigas “Sant Clement”) (Tapas p. 38)

                                                          Someone early on (maybe MMRuth?) said that this was very good and I had been looking forward to making it. You mix ground lamb, breadcrumbs that have been soaked in red wine, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and an egg, then form into very small meatballs. Brown in olive oil, add chopped onion, add brandy and flambé it, then add what seemed to me like a tiny amount of broth (she said beef or lamb, I used chicken because I had it) and tomato sauce, cover and cook very low for 45 minutes. To my surprise, it was plenty of liquid. These were ¡muy delicioso! The only thing I would do differently is to degrease before adding the brandy but in fairness she said lean ground lamb and ours was not – still probably the meatballs were juicier with the fatty lamb and it’s not hard to degrease.

                                                          White Bean Salad (Ensalada de Judias Blancas) (Tapas p. 70)

                                                          Mix white beans, tomato, chopped hard-cooked egg, chopped black olives, and chopped parsley with a garlicky vinaigrette and let sit to marinate for a few hours. This doesn’t sound like much but it was excellent, and the hard cooked egg added a dimension I wouldn’t have expected.

                                                          We also made marinated pork loin from ¡Delicioso! -- posted over there.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: GretchenS

                                                            Good for you - and so many other posters - I've been in such a non-cooking mode due to travels etc. I made the veal meatballs, not the lamb ones, though I like the lamb ones in Delicioso.

                                                            By the way - I did make the onion marmalade in Tapas, and I bet it would be wonderful with the chicken liver pate.

                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                And it's easy, b/c you "cheat" and use red current jelly as the base. It keeps for about a month according to the recipe - we had some with duck on Saturday and the flavors were much more developed, particularly the orange.

                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                              Chicken Liver Pate with Sherry Glaze "Casa Irene" (Paté de higaditos al Pedro Ximénez), p. 103

                                                              I made this to bring to a Chowhound's friend for NYE. It was my first time making chicken liver pate and I wanted something rich and creamy. Thanks to EatYourBooks.com, I found this one. As Gretchen S says, it certainly was - 12 TB butter and 1/2 cup of cream to 8 oz of chicken livers (with onion, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, s&p). I was really happy with my first attempt and it was a hit, even with one guest who doesn't usually eat chicken livers. I took GretchenS's advice and made extra glaze. I also thought I had smoothed the top down, but then when I put the glaze on, you could see where it was uneven. I served it as part of a charcuterie platter with crostini, caper berries, caramelized fig-balsamic onions, and pork rillette.

                                                              Recipe link:
                                                              http://books.google.com/books?id=NH7X...

                                                               
                                                            2. Fresh Beets in Romesco Sauce, p. 69

                                                              I boiled the beets per the instructions, but I think I still prefer roasting them a la Goin. The Romesco Sauce was quite good - more saucy than the only other one I've made, with is the Goin one that's more like a spread, for her pork burgers. But, the flavours were there, maybe a little smokier. I used noras and Spanish dried hot chile pepper (can't remember if I have guindilla or guajillo).

                                                               
                                                              1. Green Olives, Sevilla Style, p. 49
                                                                Onion Marmelade, p. 51

                                                                Olives - quick and easy, loved the flavor combination, particularly the addition of the anchovies. Taste better and better over time. I'd been able to find a nice jar or tin - can't remember now - of green Spanish olives.

                                                                Marmalade - I had made this intending to make the Duck and Serrano Ham pate, but that hasn't happened yet. I love this and will definitely make it again to have on hand. You use red current jelly as a base - the flavors added included onion, orange, raisins, prunes, shallots, sherry, lemon, white peppercorns, pinenuts and mustard. I served it once with purchased pate, then last Saturday with duck - the orange flavor had really come out by then, and with roast chicken this week. Highly recommend.

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1. I just re-read through all the reports, and it's so interesting how everyone has made so many different recipes from this book that all sound delicious. I just added a few more to my list to still make.

                                                                  Anyways, this 4th of July weekend we had family stay over and for a late lunch on Saturday I made:

                                                                  Tiny Meatballs in Saffron Sauce (albondiguitas al azafran), p. 37
                                                                  Marinated Pork Loin (lomo de orza), p. 109
                                                                  Spicy Meat Turnovers (empanadillas de carne), p. 121
                                                                  Pasta with Shrimp and Garlic (fideos con gambas), p. 189

                                                                  Along with Marinated Asparagus from F&W of Spain, p. 119 http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52451...

                                                                  I had previously made and frozen both the meatballs, and the filling for the empanadas with no problems. They were actually the two favorites of the tapas. The kids (twin 8-year-olds, and a 5-year old) were still asking for more meatballs after they were gone. I made them ahead up until the final step and froze them. I thawed them overnight, reheated, and added the parsley/garlic/saffron mixture just before serving. I cut down a little bit on the saffron (from Penzey's) as my husband isn't a fan, and they were the first to go.

                                                                  I had made the pork loin previously as it's also in Nigella's "Forever Summer" cookbook. This time, I used leftover Galician marinated pork tenderloin (La Cocina de Mama, p.231 - link below) and liked it much better because there was more flavor. Cooked pork is marinated in evoo, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, and crushed garlic. I sliced the pork instead of serving in strips as she suggests.

                                                                  The empanadas were great, though the name is a misnomer since there was nothing spicy about them. I'm so glad I still have leftover filling, as I'm going to make some more empanads tonight so I have them ready to go in the freezer. Lots of flavor with ground veal, pork, and beef, raisins, olive oil, onions, garlic, parsley, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, white wine, tomato sauce, and hard-boiled egg. I used store-bought puff pastry that I cut into circles(couldn't find my biscuit cutters - the top of a martini shaker filled in nicely!).

                                                                  The first time I had fideos was NY's Casa Mono's delicious version with chorizo and clams, which I think is baked so the pasta really absorbs the flavor. This wasn't as intensely flavored; though, it was a good and garlicky pasta tapa. Sliced garlic is sauteed in evoo, shrimp is added, and then lemon juice, broth (I used homemade chicken stock), crushed red pepper, salt, and parsley. This is tossed with cooked spaghetti broken into 3-inch fideo length (I used fideo pasta from Latienda.com). This was a very good tapas too, and just took a few minutes.

                                                                  Raxó de Porco en Zorza de Digna Prieto (Digna's Galician-style marinated pork tenderloin).
                                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52451...

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                    Shrimp and empanadas:

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                      Rubee--I'm planning to make some of her empanadillas next week (probably the spinach ones) for guests, it looks like using puff pastry rather than Casas' recipe worked out fine for you, yes?

                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                        I made those (doing the trad pastry method) and all I can say is make plenty. they disappeared within 3 minutes. puff should be fine and not involve a 24-hour headstart (whoops, I already posted this 3+ years ago)

                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                          Yes, I've made them twice since with the puff pastry and they always come out great.

                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                            Super. I made puff pastry for Thanksgiving, and still have a good amount in the freezer, so that's looking like to route to take. Thanks so much for the assurances!

                                                                      2. Scallops with Serrano Ham and Saffron, p. 16

                                                                        A half recipe of this made a delicious dinner for 2, with grilled veggies and black rice. It's a more subtle dish than some of the others, but the ham and saffron worked well with the scallops in a very satisfying way. Plus it was quick and easy for a warm summer night dinner.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                          Oops, forgot to say that I only used about half the oil called for. I do think most of her recipes have too much oil, but probably that's just me, because I'm used to cooking with less. Anyhow, using a nonstick pan, it was no problem making half this recipe with just 2 tsp of olive oil. No salt needed either, what with the ham. I probably used a little extra wine (didn't measure, just splashed).

                                                                        2. Oxtail Stew, Cádiz Style (rabo de toro estilo gaditano), p. 40

                                                                          I had oxtails in the freezer and this made a simple meal last night with some garlic bread. Oxtails are simmered for about 3-4 hours with a head of peeled garlic, onion, bay leaf, clove, white wine, olive oil, water, and chicken broth. (I did this the night before). Last night I finished the dish by removing the fat on the surface, reheating, and straining. The meat and broth is put back into the pot, the garlic and onion pureed and added, and all simmered for another 20 minutes. I didn't really think of this dish as a tapa, but the whole head of braised garlic and other seasonings really gave the broth a nice flavor.

                                                                          (Couldn't find my camera so no pic)

                                                                          1. Potato, Chorizo, and Vegetable Omelet (Tortilla Torcal), p. 226

                                                                            I've made the classic Spanish tortilla before, but not with all these tasty ingredients, so this was especially good. In addition to eggs and cubed potatoes (I used leftover hash browns I had made earlier in the day), it included a small sweet onion (I used red), chorizo, diced Serrano ham, cooked peas, and minced piquillo peppers. I left out the lima beans.

                                                                            Once the ingredients are prepped and sauteed, they are added to the beaten eggs and left to set for about 15 minutes. She says to heat the olive olive in a pan "until it reaches the smoking point", add the egg mixture, and then when it begins to brown underneath, flip the omelet with the use of a plate to cook the other side. However, because the pan was nice and hot, by the time it was browned underneath, the top was still soupy and I couldn't invert it without making a mess. I ended up finishing it under the broiler like a frittata.

                                                                            It was delicious, so much flavor and texture. It's supposed to be cooled and served at room temp, but we couldn't wait and ate it warm. I also liked it cold the next day, while E enjoyed his leftovers in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito. I would make this again, especially to serve as tapas cut into squares.

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            1. Sausages with Sweet-Sour Figs (salchichas con higos agridulces), p. 41

                                                                              I had picked up 2 lbs of nice-looking figs at Costco, so this was one of the appetizers I made this weekend. She says to use small figs, but these were quite large so I didn't use the full pound as the liquid wasn't enough to cover them. The sweet and sour sauce is made by simmering red wine vinegar, sugar, and a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and a slice of lemon. The figs are simmered for about 20 minutes and supposed to cool in the sauce overnight. I made them earlier in the day and cooled them in the refrigrator for about 4 hours.

                                                                              She says to use sweet Italian-style sausage, but I had some butifarra, a delicious Spanish white sausage I love (in recipes in Foods and Wine of Spain, she mentions Italian sweet sausage as a subsitute for butifarra). The sausage is sliced and browned in wine, removed, and then the pan deglazed with more wine, water, and tomato sauce. The figs are then drained (the syrup is delicious - I have to find another use for it) and added to the pan with the sausage and heated through.

                                                                              It was best served the way she suggests as tapas - with the figs cut into quarters and and speared with a piece of sausage. Some of our guests didn't like figs, though, so I just halved the figs and served them with the sausage in an earthenware bowl so guests could help themselves and just eat the sausages if they wanted.

                                                                              This was a GREAT recipe, a big hit on Saturday with adults and kids alike, and something I'll definitely make again when figs are in season. It's also one of Casas' favorite recipe as she "highly recommends" it in Food and Wines of Spain too (p. 112). I also served roasted figs stuffed with Camembert, wrapped in prosciutto, and drizzled with orange-blossom honey and cracked black pepper, but once people tried the S&S figs, the roasted figs didn't get eaten.

                                                                              Butifarra sausage at LaTienda
                                                                              http://www.tienda.com/food/products/c...

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                Thanks for the mouth-watering report! My fig trees will be producing by the end of the month, so this one is going on the menu for sure. I wonder if I can find butifara around here (SF Bay area).

                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                  I used to make this all the time for cocktail parties, but lost her Tapas cookbook years ago. I am so glad I found this web site. Can"t wait to make it again.I loved the agridulce so much that I canned fresh figs in it. These were a great hit as a garnish for any dish. Process the figs and agridulce in a canning water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Refridgerate after opening.

                                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                                    if i can't find fresh figs, has anyone ever made this with Casas' recommended substitute of jarred figs? Was it OK?

                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                      Sausages with Sweet and Sour Figs

                                                                                      Made these last night as part of a tapas selection, and oh were they good. I used a good quality Italian sweet sausage, and it worked just fine. For the figs, California grown Turkish fresh figs, also worked fine. Just a stunning combination of flavors.

                                                                                    2. Cauliflower Salad, pg. 62

                                                                                      An easy make a head tapa that works well as a counterpoint for more meat centric tapas. Cauliflower is steam/boiled (she suggest 10-12 minutes, 5-6 is more like it) in water and lemon juice, then marinated in an oil, vinegar, garlic, caper, paprika dressing. Serve topped with chopped egg. Very nice.

                                                                                      1. Almejas el Faro (Clams in Sherry Sauce) – half recipe- p. 12

                                                                                        http://tinyurl.com/7aebct3

                                                                                        Finely chopped onions are covered and cooked slowly until tender but not colored (I used .5 T of oil instead of 1) then an ounce of chopped jamón serrano (I ended up using leftover jamón ibérico) is stirred in. Next add oloroso sherry and clams. Cover and cook until clams open (pulling clams out as they open and returning them all to the sauce when done).

                                                                                        The sweet, almost melted, onions, the earthy, nutty ham, and the dark sherry made a great sauce for the clams. Bread was a must to mop up all of the juices. If you enjoy linguine with clam/pancetta sauce, this dish would appeal to you. If I had one adjustment it might be halve the amount of onion and ham, as much of it was left in the bowl (or I could double the clams…I think I like that idea better).

                                                                                        1. Garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas with spinach) p. 4

                                                                                          One makes garbanzos in advance (cook soaked, dried garbanzos with garlic, slice of onion, chopped tomato, bay leaf and salt). I made a pot of garbanzos and did my best to keep the ratios the same, although I think I went a little heavy with the garlic. The cooked garbanzos are infused with flavor and have a better texture than what I typically get from canned beans.

                                                                                          Finely chopped onions are sauteed until wilted, then chopped tomato (skinned and seeded) is added and cooked until softened. Next cooked, chopped spinach, olive oil and a saffron, garlic, and salt paste is added. This is mixed in with the garbanzos and then some of the reserved cooking liquid is added and finished with a small amount of semi-sweet grated chocolate.

                                                                                          I have always enjoyed the combination of garbanzos and spinach and this was no exception. I was very apprehensive about adding chocolate to the finished dish- even such a small amount- but I think it did add a depth of flavor to an otherwise very simple dish with barely any seasoning. I made a half recipe and ate it with toasted, crusty bread. Like gg mentions upthread, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes would be a nice addition, but all in all I enjoyed this simple, rustic dish.

                                                                                          1. Almejas con Cebolla Confitada (Clams with Onion Confit) p. 11

                                                                                            Clams are cooked with a sauce made of slow cooked onions with a hint of tomato sauce. The sauce is rich and luscious with just two ingredients. I might add a pinch of red pepper flakes next time for a little twist.

                                                                                            1. Swiss Chard Omelet (Tortilla De Grelos) - p. 224

                                                                                              I had a bunch of chard in my CSA box that needed using up, so I made this simple omelet as part of my dinner. You just take some chard, trimmed of stalks, and simmer for about 15 minutes in a pot of salted water. I didn't time mine, but I'd say I probably just went for about 10 minutes. The chard is drained and chopped. You then sauté a bit of onion and garlic in a small skillet, then add the chard, and season with salt. You then add this to 4 beaten eggs (also seasoned with salt) in a bowl, and the skillet is wiped clean. More oil is added to the skillet, and you fry the egg/chard mixture until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip and cook until the omelet is set all the way through. The omelet is cut into four wedges to serve.

                                                                                              This was extremely simple, but very tasty, and a great way to pack in a good quantity of greens.