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Apr 30, 2012 09:21 PM

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.