Pepper Roulette

October 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

One of the many joys of the Santa Fe Farmers Market is the abundance of shishito and padron peppers. These are small, bright green chile peppers. Mild but flavorful taste. However, be forewarned. Every now and then you may encounters a blazingly hot one. BSK did just that at the very good Bones Restaurant in Denver. It was so hot that it took BSK’s breath away and BSK almost fainted. Anyway, take a chance. These peppers are a treat. Shishito peppers are an East Asian variety. Padrons originated in the Galcia province of Spain. HG can’t discern any taste difference (Padrons fend to be smaller). HG/BSK were introduced to fried, garlicky padrons–Pimientos de Padron—at a Galician restaurant in Madrid near Madrid’s museum of modern art (it’s the museum that houses Picasso’s “Guernica”.) HG/BSK relished the peppers as well as tender octopus (polpo de gallego), shrimp in garlic sauce (camarones de ajillo), Spanish saffron rice and a big pitcher of sangria. There are two schools of padron frying. Both call for the peppers to be fried in a very hot cast iron pan. One school calls for the peppers to be cooked in olive oil. The others pours olive oil over the peppers after they have fried. BSK cooks the peppers in oil and adds plenty of minced garlic. Sublime.


Garlic Soup

February 17th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Whenever HG/BSK arrive in Spain, their first order of business (after arduous flights) is to swallow some heartening, comforting Sopa de Ajo (Spanish garlic soup). Later, HG/BSK will delight in tender octopus prepared in the Galician style, garlicky fried peppers and for HG (BSK is allergic), shrimp in green sauce. HG/BSK have never been in the province of Valencia where paella is a specialty. Madrid and Barcelona versions have disappointed. In a recent post, HG mentioned that garlic soup (nice antidote to chilly weather) was going to be on the HG/BSK dinner menu. HG prepared the dish from a New York Times recipe. BSK was suspicious. HG ignored HG’s lovely life companion. Big mistake. The soup was a watery mess. Despite the fact that BSK is right about everything, HG (even after 52 years of marriage) finds BSK adorable.


Squid and Octopus

June 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has written before about the reluctance of most Americans to make squid and octopus part of their everyday diet. Sure, raw octopus is hard to find and cooking it well takes some skill. But, squid? Always available at Whole Foods and many supermarket fish counters. Cheap. Healthy. Simple to prepare. Versatile. Here’s how HG/BSK do it. Squid tubes are cut into rings and the tentacles into manageable clusters. Rinsed and then dried thoroughly. Very thoroughly, so that when fried, the squid will get crispy. Toss them into a pan of hot, smoking vegetable oil. Cook for one minute to 90 seconds. After draining on paper towels, BSK ads them to a pan of gently warmed Sicilian olive oil, thin slices of garlic, Greek hot and sweet pickled peppers. Showers the dish with parsley and some lemon juice. HG likes the sautéed squid (minus the peppers) mixed with linguine and a parsley/anchovy/olive oil mix plus some capers. David Tanis, the very good food writer, likes to top warmed canned cannelloni beans (Goya is the best brand) with squid, surrounded by slices of raw, sweet onion and ripe tomato and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. As far as octopus goes, HG gets some cooked octopus at Whole Foods and treats it like sashimi. Otherwise HG revels in grilled octopus at Greek restaurants (The eateries in Chicago’s Greektown section are expert in cooking octopus). But, the best octopus dishes are found in Europe. HG/BSK remember with fondness eating octopus with the late, great Italian food authority Marcella Hazan and her husband, Victor, at a stately restaurant in Mestre, the industrial town that is Venice’s neighbor. These were baby octopus just pulled from the Venetian lagoon, poached gently and served with only olive oil, lemon juice and coarsely ground black pepper. Sublime. In Madrid, HG/BSK found a funky, noisy, non-tourist bistro that served beautifully tender Polpo Gallego (octopus prepared in the Galician style). After lunching on this dish plus a platter of delectable little fried peppers); Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp) and a pitcher of sangria, HG/BSK were fortified to view Velasquez, Rubens, Titian, Bosch, Rembrandt, Goya and El Greco at the nearby Prado art museum. Nice to combine delicious food for the body with exhilarating food for the soul.



May 20th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Revueltos is a scrambled egg dish that is a staple in Spanish homes, restaurants and tapas bars. Easy to prepare. A delight to eat. Pure comfort. Here’s the way HG/BSK made it for a late supper last night. Cut a few slices of rustic bread into cubes and browned them in sizzling olive oil flavored with a crushed clove of garlic. When done, removed the bread cubes and let cool on some paper towels. Then, more oil was added to the pan in which an ample amount of thinly sliced potatoes were fried. Meanwhile, in another pan (a smaller one) chopped onions and garlic were sauteed until soft and slightly caramelized at which point a handful of fresh herbs was added. Six eggs were beaten with salt, pepper and pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika). Combined the herbaceous onion/garlic mix with the fried potatoes. Poured the eggs over everything and cooked until just done but still soft. Topped it all with the bread cubes, reserved chopped herbs and a swirl of olive oil. A bottle of red Malbec and a green salad completed the meal. Spaniards like to omit the potatoes and make the dish with wild asparagus (domestic American asparagus works splendidly). Experiment. Make the dish with a variety of vegetables and sausages. (HG likes to add slivers of fried Chorizo or smoked Andouille). HG had this dish with lamb brains in a Barcelona bar. Mighty good but not for the squeamish or offal haters.


La Vie En Rose

April 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Daffodils. Tulips. Forsythia. Hyacinths. Greening grass. Budding trees. Green willow fronds. Spring is upon us here in New Mexico and it’s Row-Zay time. Yes, it’s time to sit outdoors beneath brilliant blue skies and drink lots of friendly rose wine. Hey, that’s what they do in Spain and HG enjoys paying homage (if it involves drinking and eating) to New Mexico’s Hispanic heritage. Ancona almonds. Kalamata olives. Piquillo peppers. Anchovies. Thin slices of a ciabatta loaf. These are nice accompaniments. French Tavel is HG’s favorite rose but it has become too pricey for everyday drinking. HG makes out just fine with six bucks-a-bottle La Ferme Julien (French) and Albero (Spanish). California’s despicable White Zinfandel has given rose a bad rep. Ignore it. Buy HG recommended roses and have lots of fun in the sun.

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