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May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Tapas and First Courses Thread

Please use this thread to discuss Tapas and First Courses from the following chapters:

Food of Spain - Tapas, pages, 147 - 167
Food of Spain - Egg Dishes, pages 195 - 205
Food of Spain - Savory Pies and Tarts, pages 207 - 223
Moro - Tapas and Mezze, pages 21 - 52
Moro - Fish Starters, pages 11 - 106
Moro - Meat Starters, pages 107 - 134
Moro - Vegetable Starters, pages 135 - 158

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  1. Grilled Chicken Wings (Drumsticks) w/ Tahini, Moro pg39

    Principles be damned I bought Moro without road testing a library copy. Reading the introduction, my heart sank....two River Cafe alumni? Before serious buyers remorse could set in time to cook, even if it meant cheating a bit on the COTM starting gun. And oh my goodness, so far so wonderful. To whit this simple but tasty little chicken recipe.

    It should be made with wings, but I had and therefore used smallish drumsticks, otherwise following the recipe exactly. Marinate the chicken in a garlic, paprika (sweet smoked Spanish), cumin, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil. Grill over charcoal (or bake or broil if preferred), using an indirect grilling method over charcoal these took around 1/r hour, slightly longer than the recipes 15 minutes, but then again these were drumsticks not wings. Serve with a tahini sauce composed of garlic, tahini, lemon water; delicious and unlike Susan Hoffman's this tahini sauce is stable. There were no leftovers.

    24 Replies
    1. re: qianning

      Glad you liked this - it's on my list to try.

      I have to ask though, what's wrong with River Cafe alumni?

      1. re: greedygirl

        Clearly nothing! However, the River Cafe cookbooks were great disappointments to me, and I was worried this might be true for Moro too. So far not at all.

          1. re: greedygirl

            More power!

            Seriously though I think my real problem with them is that when I first got them I was living in China and couldn't really get the right ingredients. But even once back in the States I never have taken to those books, just too austere for me I think. Sadly my cooking needs more leeway than The River Cafe recipes seem to permit.

            1. re: qianning

              I think you might want to go ahead and take the leeway you need. I have loved almost everything I've made from the two River Cafe books I have, and I think you could easily add more of one thing or less of another or sub things you prefer. It's a fairly Italian way of cooking to do that, so it shouldn't hurt at all. Like more garlic? Add it; like less hot pepper, leave it out. Worth a try, if you own the books already.

              1. re: LulusMom

                good points. it has been a while since i looked at those books, and even longer since i tried to cook from them, but anyway, we are really enjoying the food from Moro.

                I think the other reason I was pre-maturely dismayed when I read that Clark & Clark were River Cafe alums was that for some reason Jaimie Oliver is another non-favorite around here. I really respect his approach to food, but his recipes/palette just don't work for me,

      2. re: qianning

        Grilled Chicken Wings w/ Tahini, Moro p39

        Made these today to bring to a pot luck tonight. Some of my wings got a bit charred but the flavor is still outstanding. The tahini (my first time making it from scratch) is delectable and i have to keep grabbing my own hand away from it in fear that there will be none left to bring tonight. A keeper.

        1. re: dkennedy

          You made your own tahini? I am in awe!

          1. re: qianning

            It was easy. I think the recipe is on page 253. Sesame paste, garlic, lemon juice, and some water. Just got back from the pot luck and everything was a big hit.

        2. re: qianning

          Grilled Chicken Wings (Thighs) w Tahini – Moro - p. 39

          I’ll chime in to say that this was a huge hit for us as well. I made this w boneless, skinless thighs which we marinated overnight. We grilled over charcoal and loved the flavour of the chicken with and without the sauce. The chicken was incredibly juicy and this is a marinade that truly infuses the meat with flavour vs just coating it. I can imagine how terrific this would be w wings as well and when I prepare that way, I’m going to add some chili flakes to the marinade as we like our wings spicy and I think the tahini would be a wonderful foil for the heat. Love this recipe!

          1. re: qianning

            Grilled Chicken Wings with Tahini, Moro, p. 39

            This is really just a review of the marinade. Made these last night with drumsticks, which, lacking a grill, I baked in a cast iron skillet in my oven at 425 until done. I only had half a lemon, but I think this was actually the right amount of lemon to use. Also, I only had time to marinate the chicken for about 45 minutes, but it turned out fine. I think an even longer marinade would be phenomenal, and I'm sure this chicken would be great on the grill. I totally spaced on the sauce so we had the chicken without any extra sauce, but I think I will make the tahini sauce for the leftovers. This was easy and good, definitely goes on the "do again" list. Served with a simplified version of the saffron rice from the same book, and sauteed spinach with raisins and pinenuts from FOS. See vegetable/rice thread for reports on those dishes.

            Plus I got the chance to use my new smoked paprika for the first time and just loved it. Will be looking for more opportunities to use this spice!

            1. re: qianning

              Here's the recipe, for those (like me) who don't have the book. I will definitely have to make these some day.


              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Thank you posting the link, Caitlin! I do not have Moro book and will make it soon - sounds delicious.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Yes, thanks Caitlin - I will be making these now as well. Sounds delish!

                2. re: qianning

                  Grilled Chicken Wings with Tahini (I used the link in my earlier post)

                  I have to concur with everyone that this is really nice. I didn't make the tahini sauce, just used the tahini marinade on four (bone-in, skin-on) thighs, which I roasted on an oiled rack. Due to the exigencies of life, mine actually marinated for 2 1/2 days. I can't grill, but I would love to taste this done on the grill, as I think the flavor would be even better.

                  1. re: qianning

                    OK, I have these (the grilled chicken wings with tahini) on my list for next week. Quick question: I'm going to do them as thighs, which I see a few of you did. Did you make more of the marinade? If you were going to make something like 6 thighs would you make more? And for BC, I see you made yours with skinless/boneless thighs. I usually go for those (family doesn't like dealing with bones) *unless* i am grilling. But if you say they're worth doing and don't dry out, I'll do that to keep everyone happier.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      From what I can remember, I did not use extra marinade. I think if I did I would have mentioned it in my post. I totally forgot about this chicken marinade! It was really good.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        Do you think you used a comparable amount of chicken (to what the recipe asks for)? And thanks!

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Yes, I think I figured my drumsticks were pound for pound about the same as the wings. Maybe two packs of them, but they were the organic free range ones, so definitely on the small side.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        Can't remember exactly, but I think i made 4-5 drumsticks using the original recipe marinade proportions. Just a guess, but you're probably fine with the original proportions for 6 bone-less thighs. I do remember that I cooked my drumsticks (bone -in) using indirect heat method with a final browning over coals at the end. Not sure if that would be the way to go withe bone-less chix or not.

                        1. re: qianning

                          thank you so much for the info. I'm pretty excited to try this one.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Hope it goes well, and do report back!

                          2. re: qianning

                            I agree that the amount should be fine for 6 boneless thighs, but I realize I forgot to mention in my post on this that I added a drizzle of water to the marinade to loosen it up, because mine was a very thick paste. The water (just a couple teaspoons, I'd guess) made it easier to coat the chicken.

                        2. re: qianning

                          My turn on the grilled (baked) chicken wings (thighs) w/ Tahini. We all loved this. Our grill needs lava, so we had to roast. Roasted at 500 for about 30 minutes. I took the skin off bone-in thighs and let them marinate for about 36 hours. Wonderful flavor. I did make the additional tahini sauce and we liked it a lot with the ww pitas I served. I ended up doing 1/2 again as much marinade since i had 8 thighs - it was plenty.

                        3. Beetroot w/ Yoghurt, Moro pg. 40

                          These days there's nothing much special about beets with yogurt, but this version gets the job done just fine. The nigella seeds are a nice counterpoint to the other flavors; beet (roasted rather than boiled in my case), lemon, olive oil, parsley and garlic. And oh yes, strained yogurt.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: qianning

                            Hot Chorizo with Butter Beans and Tomato Salad, p. 113 Moro Cookbook

                            Yum! Fantastic dish! Really, I can't say enough good things about this dish. Make it.

                            I wasn't sure how long to cook the frozen butter beans for, but I think I cooked them for far too long. I also should have salted the cooking water, but, that aside, the dish turned out great.

                            The recipe suggests it can be served warm or at room temperature. Given the choice, I'd opt for warm. This warm salad is comprised of butter beans, cherry tomatoes, red onions and a sherry vinaigrette. The salad is then topped with warm slices of cooking chorizo. I used two links of Don Juana brand Chorizo Bilbao and this chorizo is absolutely delicious on its own.

                            Again, make this dish!

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Harira, p. 74 Moro Cookbook

                              Another thoroughly enjoyable meal thanks to the Moro Cookbook. This is a tart lentil soup flavored with everything from saffron to cinnamon. I had my doubts at the beginning but by the time the soup was ready to be served the flavors really came together. This would make a wonderful meal on a cold, rainy day. We had it for dinner, accompanied by another round of the Hot Chorizo with Butter Beans and Tomato Salad, this time I made it with broad beans. We finished the meal with a plate of dates and a hard Spanish cheese.

                              1. re: dkennedy

                                Hot Chorizo with Butter Beans and Tomato Salad, Moro, p. 113

                                Loved, loved, loved this dish. Did I say loved? Cooked butter beans are combined with halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion (I used a couple of shallots), quite a lot of chopped parsley, and sherry viniagrette. Then you crisp diced chorizo in a bit of olive oil and use that to top the salad. I just got this amazing new sherry vinegar made from Pedro Jimenez, and it is probably my favorite vinegar ever. It has a delightfully complex flavor with some sweetness like an aged balsamic, but not as sweet, and it is not too sharp. I added extra vinegar to the salad, and the combo of the vinegar with the tomatoes and chorizo and everything else was just fantastic. There was also a great textural contrast between the crispy chorizo, soft beans, and juicy tomatoes. So, like dk, I highly recommend this dish.

                                A couple of notes on ingredients. I had trouble sourcing the butter beans in any format and ended up using some really expensive jarred ones that I bought at a Spanish specialty store. After I bought them, I noticed that my local natural foods store has started stocking an Italian brand of canned beans that includes butter beans in the line-up - these were reasonably priced though not BPA-free if you care about that. Favas or large limas or even cannellini could stand in for the butter beans, but in this case I would use fresh, frozen or dried rather than canned. For the chorizo, I used a fully-cured chorizo that does not need to be cooked. I was happy with this choice, because it only took a minute to crisp up the outside, and I think the cooking chorizo would have had to be cooked for much longer.

                                1. re: Westminstress

                                  I'm happy to read positive reports of this dish as I'm considering it for a small dinner party on Friday! I want some Pedro Ximinez vinegar now though!

                            2. Cecina con remolacha (Cecina with Beetroot and Almond Sauce) Moro p. 121

                              I'm a little late starting into this month's COTM, but this recipe was a great introduction. The authors suggest using young beets, but I used the very last of the larger ones we have from our CSA box. The beets are boiled until tender and then dressed with a sherry vinegar dressing (garlic, sherry vinegar, and olive oil). They're then topped with slices of cecina. I used bresaola instead which is a recommended substitute. An almond and sherry vinegar sauce is served on the side (ground almonds, water, white bread, garlic, olive oil, and sherry vinegar).

                              The flavors all worked very nicely together for me and it was something just a little bit different after so many winter beet recipes. My bf isn't crazy about beets, but liked this a lot because the meat and sauce balance the sweetness of the beets. The almond sauce is also very good, so I'm glad we have a bit leftover to go with the chicken we're making tonight.

                              1. After shopping with LN at Spanish Table, I was all excited to make something! Finally, last night I got a chance;

                                Last night was first menu from the COTM, and I made peppers stuffed with saffron rice in tomato sauce - page 287 in Food of Spain. Of course, I couldn't just follow the recipe and leave well enough alone.

                                I wanted an artichoke, so did one stuffed green pepper, and after steaming and cleaning out the choke, stuffed the artichoke with the rice mix too. It had a sauce of tomato, some smoked paprika and chicken stock. About 1/2 way through cooking, I had a thought, and put a couple of sliced yukon's down into the bubbling 'sauce' as well, to round things out. And I put just a bit of chopped Chorizo into the filling as well, for just a tad bit of protien and contrast.

                                turned out great! Mostly veggy dinner then. Ate 1/2 an artichoke and stuffing, some of the potato (which tasted like patatas bravas, in the sauce!), and 1/2 of the stuffed pepper. Leftovers for some lunch this week.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gingershelley

                                  This looks and sounds delicious gs, thanks for this review, I've tabbed the recipe.

                                2. Carrot and Cumin Salad with Coriander - Moro, p. 41

                                  I generally prefer raw carrots to cooked, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this salad. The mix of toasted cumin with garlic and cilantro offset the sweetness of the carrots nicely. To make, carrots are peeled and boiled whole in salted water until tender. I boiled for about 10 minutes. After draining and cooling, they are sliced quite thinly. 2/3 tsp toasted cumin seeds are pounded in a mortar and pestle and mixed with 1 garlic clove and 1/2 tsp salt. Then juice of 3/4 lemon, 1/3 tsp sugar, and 1 tbsp olive oil are mixed in. The carrots are tossed with the dressing and chopped cilantro. We still have another bag of carrots from our CSA box, so this recipe may be making a reappearance as the month goes on.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                                    I like this even better with raw grated carrots. A good and easy recipe.I make it often.

                                    1. re: TxnInMtl

                                      made this dish this weekend with some "baby carrots" which didnt have a lot of flavor and it was very successful. Have to admit I added a bit of spanish sweet paprika, since similar recipes from wolfert et al have a bit more spicing complexity. anyway, we liked it even with these bland and inferior carrots.

                                      I intend to try with raw carrots as well.

                                    2. Prawns (shrimp) in spiced tomato sauce with caraway (Moro, p. 106)

                                      This is called a fish starter, but I made it our main course, and served it over orzo. Brown some sliced garlic in olive oil, add whole caraway seeds and 2 small dried red chilies crumbled (oops, I added 3 and Lulu found it too spicy), then a finely chopped green pepper. Cook until soft, then add a large can of drained, chopped plum tomatoes and cook down for about 20 minutes. Add the shrimp, season, serve with chopped parsley. As you can probably tell from just the ingredients, the big point of interest here was the caraway. I liked that part of it a lot, really made it different from other tomato/garlic shrimp dishes. That said, I wasn't so in love with it that I'd make it again, despite the ease. A pleasant meal though.

                                      1. FOS - Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Shrimp (p. 203)

                                        Asparagus is blanched, then briefly sauteed with garlic scapes (I used green garlic), throw in some shrimp, then four beaten eggs, move them around in the pan until just creamy, and serve. The recipe calls for 1/2 pound thin asparagus and 1/2 pound shrimp for four eggs. I had about a pound of asparagus, not all of which were thin, and only 1/4 pound of shrimp which I chopped into pieces to spread around more. I used 6 eggs, which seemed the right amount for the quantity of asparagus I had. As a first step, Roden instructs to boil the asparagus in salted water until soft, then the asparagus is cooked again (albeit briefly) in the eggs. I pulled my asparagus before they were done, but even so I thought they were overcooked by the time the eggs were done. I think mine took a bit longer because I had extra asparagus and eggs. I would make this again because it is very quick and easy and I liked the flavor combo. But I would be really careful not to overcook the asparagus, I might even skip the parboiling step, or if I did parboil I would do the shrimp first and add the asparagus with the eggs. I can also confirm that thin asparagus are definitely better in this application. Served with lovely hen of the woods mushrooms prepared according to the discussion on p. 166 (sauteed with olive oil and a bit of garlic), a local aged goat cheese, and some crusty bread for a simple but satisfying supper.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                          Oh I wish I'd have read your review earlier Westminstress (I have sooo much catching up to do w unread threads!), this would have made the perfect breakfast today.

                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                            I made this dish for two tonight as part of a light dinner. 3 eggs, 10 shrimp, cut in half 6 thick asparagus spears cut into 1 in pieces and parboiled. To make the recipe, fry garlic scapes (I used a chopped scallion and some garlic chives) until starting to caramelize, add the parboiled asparagus and fry for a couple minutes, add the shrimp and cook briefly only til barely pink, add the eggs and chopped parsley and cook quickly. I thought this had a very fresh. elegant flavor, really quite delicious and I would recommend if you have the makings on hand. served with the Grilled endive and serrano ham dish from Moro (separate report) and some crusty bread.

                                          2. Shrimp Tortillitas, Moro, pg 81

                                            Scrumptious and easy, can't beat that. Made a half recipe using the seltzer option and plain old super-market shrimp, all worked fine.

                                            We had these as finger food with drinks while making the monkfish paella from this book. They certainly took the edge off. Here they are just out of the pan....most of them never saw a serving plate.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: qianning

                                              I chickened out of trying these the other day. Made the easy shrimp dish from FOS instead. Will try this one next week. Thanks Qianning.

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                I was leery too; seemed too simple to work, but it certainly came together. good luck &hope you enjoy them too.

                                              2. re: qianning

                                                Oh yum qianning, these look scrumptious!

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Seriously, they look amazing. Happy to hear that they came together fairly easily too.

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    Loved these when I lived in Spain. Now I may have to buy the book and make them because they look perfect!

                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                      I've made these several times since May of last year, but finally had a chance to make them with really really good Maine shrimp.....i don't know how Maine shrimp compare to the "camarones" of Spain, but wow, the sweet soft delicate but flavorful Maine shrimp were absolutely perfect in this preparation.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        are the maine shrimp in the market now??? we see them very rarely in NY

                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                          They were last week in Portland....and have been in the markets in Boston & NH for a couple of weeks now. But I know that they've had a very short and restricted season this year, so no idea how far away they are shipping. Was just telling someone how they used to be in the "can't give 'em away" category, but now, well now is different.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                            The Maine shrimp season opened 22 January. But, because of the declining shrimp population the season will be the shortest ever. It's probably going to be less than six weeks this year. Weather conditions play a part in the catch too, as well as even locating the shrimp. The last Maine shrimp I had was when we joined the CSF here in Massachusetts 2 years ago.

                                                      2. Setas al Jerez (Mushrooms with Sherry) from Moro p. 144


                                                        Minced onion is sautéed until golden (I only used 1 T of oil for a half recipe), then garlic is added for a minute and then wild mushrooms (recipe does not say to slice them, but I used quartered cremini that I had in my fridge). After 5 minutes, one adds dry sherry, nutmeg and cooks for a minute. Lastly, one finishes the dish with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

                                                        The sweetness of the onions and the addition of sherry lend a rich flavor that really complements the mushrooms. Although I do prefer champiñones al ajillo, this is still very satisfying and delicious.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                          I have this one marked to try ... sounds like it was basically a hit? By the way, you're doing an amazing job of trying stuff this month.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            Yes, this was a hit for us. I suspect using wild mushrooms would make this even better than the cremini version we had.

                                                            Thanks. This has been a fun month for us (revisiting old favorites and discovering some new ones).

                                                        2. Braised Chicory with Picos Cheese, Moro pg. 136

                                                          This deceptively simple recipe gave me some trouble, although it all came right in the end. If I made it again (and I might, since Mr. QN thought it was totally swoon worthy), there would be some adjustments. But first, here's how it is written with notes on the troubles I had.

                                                          Blanch quartered endive in salted and lemon juice acidified water until tender, drain. Easy enough, but in the future I'd split the endives in half not quarters, they are so much easier to handle cut that way. I'm also not convinced the blanching step is necessary, I'd probably rather cook them slowly in the butter than try rush things by blanching.

                                                          Anyway, next, brown butter in a large frying pan, add the endive and cook until caramelized. No instructions on what heat settings to use. The blanched endive gave off a ton of water, and weren't getting even close to brown at a medium-ish heat, so in desperation I upped the temp, and they did final start to brown, but it did seem kind of risky to cook them at such a high heat.

                                                          Meanwhile make the sauce, which is cream, Picos cheese (a Blue cheese from Valdeon, new to me and very nice) and a dash of nutmeg warmed just to the bubbling point. My sauce turned out to be quite a bit thinner than I had thought it would be and the recipe yielded way more sauce than 4 endive needed, I've still got over half of it set aside. In the future I'd greatly reduce the amount of cream but keep the amount of cheese pretty close to the original.

                                                          Plate the endive, pour over sauce, add chopped parsley, serve.

                                                          The results were tasty, heck, anything this rich ought to be tasty! Here they are sauced but pre-parsley.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                            Oh, quianning, that has my name on it! LOVE braised endive and blue cheese sauces. I SO wish I had the Moro cookbook, and not just FOS:(. So many of it's recipes really sound great. Sometime soon enough, fo' sho!

                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                              Well, if you want to wing it, here's the rough draft;

                                                              4 endive, quartered and blanched for 2 min in salted water w/ half a lemon. Drain.

                                                              In a large heavy skillet, lightly brown 2+TBS butter, add the endive and cook til browned/caramelized. when done season w/ S&P, and some lemon juice.

                                                              meanwhile, sauce is about 1/3 lb Picos Cheese (i.e. Blue cheese from Valdeon area) with 1/2 C heavy cream, and a good pinch of fresh ground nutmeg, all brought almost to the bubble. Cheese should only be half melted. (really, though, we needed much less sauce than this yielded).

                                                              Plate endive, add cheese sauce, garnish w/ fresh chopped parsley.

                                                              For the most part I have to say "moro" has been a delight, when you do get a copy you'll probably enjoy it.

                                                          2. Queso Manchego con Membrillo, Moro, page 33.
                                                            OK, so it's a little silly to call this a recipe, but I did follow the instructions! Apparently, the tradition requires the cheese to be cut into eighth-of-a-wheel wedges, and then sliced at about 5mm, and the rind is left on. Each slice is then topped with a strip of membrillo (quince paste). It's a reliably tasty combination, which I've done before, but now I know I've got the measurements right! I served this last night before dinner with some olives and marcona almonds.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              Your presentation is stunning and festive - love the dish you are serving the cheese in!

                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                A very late thank you herby! I never saw your response. I've come back to this thread to see if anyone had made the spinach/garbanzo/saffron dish.

                                                            2. Grilled Chicory with Sherry vinegar and ham, Moro 118

                                                              Great combo, deep flavors with the charred, bitter endive, dressed with a dressing made of reduced sherry vinegar (I used tarragon and some spanish sweet vinegar, not being able to find my sherry), blended with a crushed garlic fresh thyme, salt and olive oil and served with thin-sliced ham. this was great with crusty bread, we wiped or plates with every drop.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                Grilled Chicory w/ Sherry Vinegar and Jamon, Moro pg. 118

                                                                We thought this was fabulous. As jen says deep intense flavors. I did use sherry vinegar, but as my endive while not scrawny wasn't roly-poly either, I made a half batch. It was enough to dress the endive, but if there had been more I'm sure we would have found something to sop it up.

                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                  Another fan here - fabulous flavours, with the salty sweetness of the ham contrasting marvellously with the bitter endive/chicory. Yum!

                                                                2. Tortilla (aka tortilla Española or tortilla de patatas) p. 24 Moro


                                                                  This seemingly plain potato and egg dish is very rich, succulent and crave-worthy. I first learned to make tortillas from The Food and Wines of Spain (Penelope Casas). I made a half recipe which uses 3 eggs, 1 large onion and 350 g (approx 12 oz) waxy potatoes. The thinly sliced onions and a pinch of salt are cooked in olive oil until caramelized. Thinly sliced potatoes are cooked in sunflower oil (would use olive oil next time) until tender, but not brown (the wok was perfect for this). Add the onions and potatoes to the beaten eggs and check for seasoning (I let the mixture rest for 15 min per Casas). Cook one side shaking the pan to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom, flip onto a plate and slide back into the pan to finish cooking the other side (I like mine juicy- not fully set). We like these at room temperature.

                                                                  We really enjoyed this version. Although it is time consuming to make the potatoes and eggs separately, the results are worth it. The sweetness of the onions really comes through and potato to egg ratio was good. This recipe is similar to José Andrés’s (also very good), but he uses russet potatoes, fewer onions and potatoes, and he cooks the potatoes in olive oil.

                                                                  Tortilla de patatas ( potato omelet) p. 196 Food of Spain

                                                                  Roden has you cut the potatoes (waxy) into ½” dice and cooks the potatoes and onions together in olive oil. The egg to potato ratio (3 eggs and ¼ lb potatoes) has fewer potatoes than Moro’s version. The result is good, but we found that we wanted more potatoes to create that perfect amalgamation of potatoes and eggs. We also prefer sliced potatoes to diced in the tortilla.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                    Reading that Moro recipe made me hungry -- it does sound like the better of the two.

                                                                  2. Grilled Sardines, Moro pg. 97

                                                                    We had this a few days ago, but I haven't had much time to post this week. Anyway, I made these using the variation listed at the bottom of the page. Essentially grilled sardines (lightly salted before cooking) are topped with a mixture of parsley, garlic lemon zest and toasted pine nuts (toast almonds in our case). We really enjoyed these. In fact we are quite liking the Moro approach to grilling first then topping fish with spice/herb concoctions. I definitely will be trying the orange zest/parsley/garlic/olive combination sometime soon.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                      Grilled Sardines, Moro, p.97

                                                                      This isn't really a recipe review as much as it is a tale about a recipe, an inexperienced nitwit, and her virgin grilling experience.

                                                                      I was romanced by a stack of gleaming silvery sardines at the grocer today. Fresh! Whole! This is a rarity in my parts; never have I seen fresh sardines before. Of course, I snatched them up (while going over the fresh fish-buying checklist in my head that I had recently learned from Fish Without a Doubt) and skipped home with my find, dreaming of all the ways I could use these beauties.
                                                                      I found this recipe through an eatyourbooks search, and it seemed perfect. Qianning's photo of the beautifully adorned fish sealed the deal. It was too hot to cook indoors, and I had recently purchased a large bag of charcoal with the intent of finally learning how to use it. I was sold. Today was a day of firsts: first time with charcoal, first time with a whole fish.
                                                                      I failed to purchase a chimney starter, nor did I have any starter fluid. Little did I know that for the inexperienced, lighting a grill takes quite a bit of practice and skill. Eventually I managed to conjure up a semblance of a fire, and went to tend to my fish while the embers were forged.

                                                                      I haven't had to clean a fish since I was a kid, fishing for pickerel with my dad. Really. Most of the fish I get is frozen or already filleted. So thanks to the authors of Moro for clearing the mystery for me and walking me through it so nicely. Fish cleaning 101 for dummies. It wasn't pretty, I'll tell you. My walls needed a thorough cleaning when I finished, but I somehow pulled through with most of the bodies only somewhat mangled.
                                                                      While the fish were sitting in their salt scrub in the refrigerator, I experimented with the charcoal by grilling some bread slices and small vegetables. Several very dark and unsalvageable batches later, it was with great trepidation that I gingerly placed my fishes over the glowing coals. They started to sizzle and smoke immediately, burning in spots. I quickly flipped them over to prevent too much damage, but of course, they were sticking to the grate with gusto. Impromptu butterflied sardines it was. The refusal to flip didn't end there. When my fish were cooked enough to remove to a plate, the heads were attached to mere spines and tails, the naked bones sticking up every which way. Whatever skin and flesh I could salvage was scraped off the grate and dumped unceremoniously onto the waiting plate.
                                                                      I had already made the parsley/lemon mixture to sprinkle atop the fish, so that was halfheartedly spooned over the wreck formerly known as dinner.

                                                                      I was so angry after this fiasco, that I just poured myself a bowl of cereal in defeat. My husband, however, gave the fish a try. After chewing thoughtfully for a while, he told me that it was fantastic, and that I would have to make it again one day. And you know what? It was.

                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                        Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love happy endings!

                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          Yikes! You poor thing, still & all, the silver lining at the end peaks through nicely.

                                                                      2. Note to self... Read the Tapas chapter of the Spanish cookbooks. Now.

                                                                        1. Chard Stalks w/ Tahini, Moro pg 43

                                                                          Could swear someone commented on this "recipe" last month, but I can't find it. Anyhoo, it is just blanched chard stalks with Moro's lovely little tahini sauce. A delightful little nibble.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            Qianning, (Or anyone else who sees this) I found the following recipe that refers to the Moro chard stem recipe. When you have time would you please tell me if it's the same as the one in your book. I have not bought Moro...yet.

                                                                            In my most recent CSA basket I got a bunch of the freshest beets I've ever seen. They must have been pulled that morning. The leaves will be used for another recipe, but I wonder if beet stems could be used instead of chard stems ......

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              Gio--I'm on the road so no book in front of me, but it looks like the same recipe. it would be great w/ beet greens stems!

                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                Thanks very much qianning. I intend to serve those stems on Saturday along side salmon burgers from "Fish Without A Doubt", the beets tonight with sauteed salmon from the same book, and the leaves on Sunday. Three for the price of one. Great deal...

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  sounds great. hope you enjoy the tahini sauce, we think it is a dandy.

                                                                          2. Spiced Labneh Moro, p.52

                                                                            After a while, tzatziki becomes tiresome, but I still adore the creamy tang that a yogurt-based dip provides. Happily, I found this fantastic spread to make in its place for those times when I just feel like something different.

                                                                            I started this recipe using some Laban that I had leftover from the recipe on the previous page, which makes for some of the richest and most luxurious yogurt I may have ever had. It was already super thick just as yogurt, so straining it overnight nearly gave it a cream-cheese consistency, a desirable attribute to labneh, or so I've read.
                                                                            A few hours before serving, whole fenugreek seeds are soaked in several changes of boiling water to remove the bitterness and soften the grain. One change of water will not suffice, as my palate can attest to from the one time I was rushing and thought the step unnecessary.
                                                                            The labneh is mixed with the fenugreek, garlic paste, green chilies, and nigella (finally an occasion to use the highly neglected seed on my spice shelves!), and spread out on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of more nigella.

                                                                            The chiles that I used in this were jalapenos, and we all know how little punch they pack these days, so the spice factor for me was pretty low. I enjoyed the crisp crunch the jalapenos provided, so I may mix one of those in with a cayenne or serrano.

                                                                            Loved this dip. The garlic doesn't overpower the other flavours, and the fenugreek adds its own mysterious musty taste that begs for some flatbread for smearing. Have made it several times to much acclaim from my guests. I only wish that I didn't have to plan overnight to make this dish, but it is completely worth it.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                              Just curious, when you make the yogurt from Moro how thick is it before straining?

                                                                              I made a batch yesterday, and the results are very smooth, delicious, but definitely not thick, more like the texture of a whipped yogurt. Can't imagine why. I did use goat's milk, and cow cream, which I suppose could make a difference, although it never has with other "standard" yogurt recipes. Any advice?

                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                Sorry I missed this! I haven't had the chance to make yogurt at all this year and can't really recall just how thick it was. Do you make yogurt often? I find there are so many variables that come into play to determine the outcome of the finished product, so maybe I just had it sitting at a higher temp than you or other some-such minor detail. My method is very un-scientific and relies mostly on my sun room temp of the day and so the yogurt turns out differently almost every time!
                                                                                Glad to hear it works well in your recipes, if nothing else....

                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                Laban, Yoghurt, pg. 50

                                                                                Well, I was a bit disappointed that my Laban didn't turn out as thick as I was expecting, see above on that, but oh my gosh is this stuff great for cooking. We had it in a korma last night that was hands down the best ever, and in the leek & yogurt soup from this book for lunch today. So very good, and totally stable for cooking.

                                                                              3. Baba Ghanoush, Moro, p. 44, Yum

                                                                                I just finished off the first batch of this. Of course, baba ghanoush is not particularly difficult to make. I've made it a few times over the years and enjoyed but not been thrilled with the outcome. I do eat it at restaurants frequently.

                                                                                As with most baba ghanoush recipes, this is simple. The difference here: I loved it. Just loved it. I think the difference maker must have been grilling the eggplants, directly on charcoal. In the past I've grilled on a gas grill or roasted. Not surprisingly, the flavor from the charcoal comes through in this version.

                                                                                I followed the recipe. Grill about a kilo of eggplants directly on charcoal. I mashed the eggplant flesh with my hands. Then just combine with the lemon, garlic, tahini, olive oil, and salt.

                                                                                The bulk of my eggplants each summer season have typically gone to samfaina (Catalan ratatouille), but this baba ghanoush recipe is going to provide some serious competition for that. I'll be making another batch when the heat breaks Sunday.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                  Baba Ghanoush

                                                                                  Absolutely agree about debbiel's post above. This was a fantastic rendition of the famous smoky dip. The amount of tahini in it is really just enough to give a whisper of nutty creaminess while still letting the real star shine.I've made this a few times now; at first I attributed its success to the fact that I grilled the aubergines. Attempts at different recipes ended up being broiled (it always seems to be winter when I make this), so I thought that the grilling really made the difference. Today, however, I broiled the eggplant in my oven and it still was incredibly successful. My go-to recipe.

                                                                                  This book is a real treat! Loving everything so far.

                                                                                2. I have a question about the sourdough bread in Moro. For the starter the authors call for one bunch of red grapes. Would concord grapes suffice, or would their intense flavour and lack of sugars ruin the mixture? I'm planning my first foray into breads with starters so I'm rather clueless about these matters. Many thanks!

                                                                                  1. Mojama (Salted Anchovies) w/ Spinach, Oregano, and Lemon, pg. 103

                                                                                    I've wanted to make this for a while, but have just not tracked down mojama. But in the notes salted anchovies are mentioned as a suitable substitute, so I decided to go ahead and make this using salted anchovy. So glad I did, we both thought this was an eye openingly wonderful way to cook and spice spinach.

                                                                                    I made the recipe as written, except that in place of the mojama I used salted anchovies (rinsed and filleted), and since i was a but worried that the anchovies would be too strong, I chopped them almost to a paste and added them to the oil/garlic/marjoram mix. The results were just spectacular. Best spinach side dish ever.

                                                                                    1. Aubergine and Red Pepper Salad with caramelised butter and yoghurt, pg. 151

                                                                                      This was another winner for us. I made it a while back, and could have sworn someone else had already posted about it, but can't find it, so thought it worth pointing out. Overall it is a pretty standard grilled eggplant and grilled pepper salad flavored with garlic, olive oil and lemon, and served with yogurt. But what really sets it apart is the addition of a dash (I was making 1/3 of a recipe) of caramelized butter. It didn't take much browned butter, maybe 1 tsp., to really transform this into something very special. The nutty richness of the butter adds just the right accent to bring out the best in all the other flavors.

                                                                                      1. Garbanzos con Espinacas (Chickpeas and Spinach), page 138.

                                                                                        Mr. Nightshade actually made this while I was making a tart. I know that he used canned garbanzos, and eliminated the whole soaking and simmering step. The spinach was cooked in oil, no water. Some bread is fried (he left the crusts on, which came out fine), then garlic, cumin, oregano, and chile (aleppo in this case), are added to the frying bread, then the entire mix is ground with a bit of good red wine vinegar. Once ground, the bread mixture goes back into the pan with saffron-infused water, and the chickpeas. When the chickpeas have absorbed all the delightful flavors, the spinach goes into the pan until hot.
                                                                                        This was a very flavorful side dish. All the flavors really came through. The quality vinegar is important, as it has a big impact on the dish. Love the saffron with the chickpeas.

                                                                                        1. Coca with Roasted Peppers and Eggplants (Coca de Recapte), Food of Spain p-209

                                                                                          I have been eyeing this recipe up ever since the book first came out and finally got around to making it. I'm sure glad I did, as this was just delicious!

                                                                                          The base is a yeast-dough that is rolled into two good-sized but thin oblongs. I found that Roden's flour/water proportions were a bit strange, as she has you add more flour than necessary to the dough and then make it more pliable by adding extra water while kneading. I find this to be a rather messy and unpleasant task and would much rather work in more flour to a wet dough than water to a dry one. I made notes in my book to use less flour to start.
                                                                                          The 'sauce' for this coca is like a sofrito, lots of onions with a bit of tomato and oil. Her instructions are a bit vague as to how long to cook the onions and I would have preferred some cues to see how long they should be in the pan. "Cook until soft" can mean many things. As it was, I diced my onions very finely, and cooked for at least 20 minutes, getting them to slightly caramelize and start breaking down for more of a sauce-like consistency.
                                                                                          The sauce is spread out onto the coca, and the lot is topped with diced strips of roasted red pepper and eggplant. I had grilled the veggies instead, and they had a lovely smoky flavour to bring to the dish. This is all cooked until edges are crisp and brown.

                                                                                          The coca can be served hot or at room temperature, and I really enjoyed it no matter the thermal reading. It was just laden down with tasty, moist veggies that contrasted with the thin, crunchy crust. Everyone who tried this loved it, and I will definitely be making it again.

                                                                                          1. Little Pies with a Tomato, Pepper, and Tuna Filling (Empanadillas), Food of Spain p-218

                                                                                            These attractive and delicious little guys were part of a tapas spread the other night, and though a bit tedious, they were well worth it.

                                                                                            A very forgiving dough made with oodles of olive oil and a bit of white wine (or water) ensures that the dough can be stretched around the filling without tearing. The filling is a simple yet flavour-packed blend of cooked onion and tomato mixed with chopped black (green) olives, bits of roasted red pepper, and shredded tinned tuna with a bit of chopped parsley. The dough is rolled out as thinly as possible and cut to 4" rounds, but I used a 3" cutter and a restrained amount of filling per empanadilla to obtain about 50 of them (Roden's original proportions yields 20). I found that after cutting, the dough rounds would shrink dramatically, so I had to use my dumpling dowel to stretch it back; easy but time-consuming. After filling and crimping, the bundles are brushed with egg yolk (I only needed one yolk) and baked until golden. I made the pies and then froze before they went in the oven, baking straight from the freezer for an extra 10 mins. Worked like a charm.
                                                                                            Some of the filling I put aside without tuna to appease a vegetarian, and those were just as delicious as the fish-filled ones. I imagine that chorizo would also work well as the protein.

                                                                                            Making ahead like this was a wonderful way to cut back on last-minute prep during a harried dinner party. These were splendid little pies--bursting with tangy flavours. We liked these very much and I look forward to the leftovers.

                                                                                            1. Marinated Piquilllo Peppers(pimientos del piquillo alinadas), Moro, p.27

                                                                                              Even though I changed the main ingredient of this recipe by using three grilled and peeled coloured peppers in place of the piquillos, this was still delicious over bread.
                                                                                              A simple yet potent vinaigrette consisting of garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil, parsely,and s&p is sprinkled atop the peppers and left for a while to allow the flavours to mingle. Serve.
                                                                                              Easy, elegant, with gorgeous colours; a great addition to the tapas table.
                                                                                              The leftovers made for a particularly wonderful version of shakshuka the next day.

                                                                                              1. Marinated Olives (aaceitunas alinadas) Moro, p 26

                                                                                                This is a version of marinated olives that I wasn't particularly fond of, despite the lovely-sounding ingredient list.
                                                                                                Mixed olives are rinsed of their brine and bathed in a mixture of coriander seeds, garlic, fennel seeds, peppercorns, fresh chili, parsley, olive oil, and the juice and zest of an orange for an hour or more. I let mine sit overnight.
                                                                                                The orange zest clung a little too ferociously to the olives, as did the whole seeds, and so with every briny round that was popped into the mouth, the unpleasant crunch of the coriander or peppercorn and the sightly bitter zest was an unwelcome companion. I spent far too much time trying to rid the olives of the undesirables instead of eating them. I'll keep looking for a better version...

                                                                                                1. Roast Almonds with Paprika (Almendras con Pimenton), Moro p-23

                                                                                                  What a simple yet fabulous recipe! Blanched almonds are roasted, coated lightly with oil, pimenton, and sea salt ground 'as fine as icing sugar' and baked a tad longer. This took a bit longer than it should have, as I was silly enough to blanch and peel the almonds myself....ugh, what a thankless a job that is. I used a mix of regular sea salt and some smoked salt that I found in the cupboard, and that mixed with the pimenton created something magical.
                                                                                                  My only complaint is that the seasoning didn't adhere too well to the almonds after being jostled around. Perhaps more oil or a longer second stint in the oven would do the trick. Despite that, these were the first of the tapas to disappear. Wish I had made a full batch instead of a half (though thinking about peeling those nuts again is a bit of a deterrent!).

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                    I just happen to have some blanched/peeled almonds in the cupboard that really should be used.......thanks for pointing this one out.

                                                                                                  2. Rinones al Jerez (Kidneys w/ Sherry), Moror pg. 134

                                                                                                    Has anyone out there ever had Kidneys Jerez style? I ask because this was one of those dishes where knowing what i was supposed to be aiming for might have helped.

                                                                                                    Specifically, should the meat be kinda poached in sauce, or more pan seared a then sauced? Mine were definitely more the former. The results were OK, and we finished them all, but they won't replace grilled lamb kidneys in my heart.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                      Not exactly Jerez-style but every kidney dish I've ever eaten at restaurants or home cooked was simply pan seared with simple seasonings, white wine included usually. The sauce was drizzled over at the end.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        I would definitely have prefer that approach. Not at all sure how much of my result was user error versus that's what the recipe intended.

                                                                                                    2. Leek and Yoghurt Soup, pg. 70

                                                                                                      Scrumptious. I now want to try every yogurt soup recipe I can find, but it will be tough to top this one. My only change was to recuce the butter by half, figuring that as I was using homemade stock and homemade yogurt it would be plenty rich enough, and it was.

                                                                                                      Very, very nice with dry toasted bread. And although it seems like guilding the lily, and adding richness, a tiny bit of the caramelized butter really does work wonders.