AAt this time of year, with the longest day of the year coming up earlier this week, thoughts of long afternoons eating tapas are rarely far from my culinary thoughts. Making tapas often requires a fair amount of time in the kitchen: salt cod, croquettes, and alioli all take a long time to prepare. But in my opinion, that’s all part of the occasion: taking care of the kitchen, going for a nap, and possibly moving the sunset up an hour or so to enjoy while it’s getting ready… Health!
Salted cod with grated tomato and dill oil (photo above)
salt cod, or cod, is one of those things that sounds a lot harder to do than it really is. Try it once, mostly to show how easy it can be, and soon you’ll be doing it again to show off to your friends. Serve with crusty bread and a large leafy salad.
Homework 25 minutes
Cure 1 hr+
Cook 15 minutes
It serves 4
500 g skinless cod loincut into 4 equal parts
¾ teaspoon powdered sugar
flake sea salt
160ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled – 2 lightly pounded with the flat of a large knife, the other crushed
1 lemon – zest finely cut into 5 strips, then squeezed, to obtain 1½ tablespoons
4 plum tomatoes (400g net)
1 shallotpeeled and cut into thin slices (30 g net)
10g fresh dill leaves
½ teaspoon caraway seedsroasted and lightly ground in a mortar
½ teaspoon aleppo chili
First, cure the cod. Grind the sugar and two teaspoons of flaky salt in a mortar and pestle until almost fine. Dry the pieces of cod and place them on a tray. Evenly cover the fish with the salt mixture and let it cure at room temperature for one to two hours; don’t leave it for much longer or it will be too salty.
Once cod has cured, heat oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4.
Rinse the fish well under cold running water, then pat dry and place in a small ovenproof pan that fits snugly. Pour 100ml of oil, add the crushed garlic and the strips of lemon zest and cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes, until well cooked, then remove from the oven, remove and discard the paper and let rest for five minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the tomatoes in a bowl with the coarse side of a grater, discarding the skin. Add half a teaspoon of flaky salt, then pour into a small sieve set over a bowl and drain for five minutes. Discard the tomato water (or save it for another use), then put the pulp in a bowl and add two tablespoons of oil, the crushed garlic and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Place the shallots in a small bowl with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt, toss to combine, then set aside to gently pickle.
To make the dill oil, put the remaining two tablespoons of oil and the dill in the small bowl of a food processor and blend until the mixture is green and almost smooth (alternatively, do this with a pestle and mortar).
Place the tomato in a covered dish, then, using a spatula, gently remove the cod pieces from the oil (save the confit oil for frying other shellfish) and place on top of the tomato. Pour in the dill oil, sprinkle the shallots, caraway and chilli on top and serve.
Goat cheese croquettes with jam alioli
Croquettes are made and loved throughout Europe, and in Spain, ham, cheese or potato croquettes are especially popular. This recipe combines salty goat cheese with sweet and sour jam and is a great snack to share.
Homework 20 minutes
Rest 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
300g King Edward potatoes (i.e. about 2), peeled and cut into 3 cm dice
Fine sea salt and black pepper
300 g soft goat cheeserindless, coarsely chopped (230 g)
20g manchegoskinless, finely grated
½ tablespoon rosemary leavesfinely chopped
10g (3⅓ tablespoons) chivesfinely chopped
2-3 lemons – finely grated zest, to get 1½, juice, to get 2 tablespoons, and the rest cut into wedges
75g plain flour
150g panko breadcrumbs
100ml vegetable oilto fry
for the aioli
2 bulbs of garlic
2 tablespoons of Seville marmalade (or another bitter orange)
2 egg yolks
75ml olive oil
75ml vegetable oil
Heat oven to 240C (fan 220C)/475F/gas 9. Trim the top fifth of both garlic bulbs, to expose the cloves, then sprinkle with an eighth teaspoon of salt and wrap individually in foil squares. Roast for 20 minutes, until soft, remove, let cool and put in the fridge with all the other ingredients of the aioli, if they are cold, the texture of the aioli will be better.
Meanwhile, put the potatoes and a tablespoon of salt in a medium saucepan, add a liter of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain in a colander, let steam dry for five minutes, then return to the dry pan and puree smooth. Return to medium heat and add the cheeses, rosemary, chives, an eighth teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes, until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and add the lemon zest.
Place a large piece of reusable kitchen paper on a work surface and tip the potato mixture in the center. Roll up to enclose the filling, twist the ends to seal, roll into a sausage about 2½ cm thick and refrigerate for an hour.
Meanwhile, make the aioli. Squeeze the garlic pulp out of its papery skin, place it in a small food processor with the jam, lemon juice, egg yolks, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive and vegetable oils until you have an emulsified mayonnaise, then transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate.
Now the croquettes. Put the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs in three separate large bowls. Unwrap the potato mixture and cut into 3cm long pieces, each weighing approx 15g. Work with four croquettes at a time, dredge them in flour, dip them in the egg, shake off the excess, and then coat them in breadcrumbs. Set aside on a tray while you repeat with the remaining kibble mixture, then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Put the 100 ml of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half the croquettes and fry for 90 seconds to two minutes on each side, until golden brown and piping hot. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and repeat with the rest of the croquettes.
While the croquettes are still hot, place them on a platter and serve with the aioli and lemon wedges on the side.
Fideuà of burnt aubergine and red pepper with chopped
In many parts of Spain, a minced It is often used to season a dish while it is cooking. I use it here as a condiment, to bring a little extra freshness to the finished dish. To save time, use store-bought roasted eggplant and bell peppers instead.
Homework 25 minutes
Cook 1 hour
It serves 6-8
2 tablespoons olive oilplus 1 extra teaspoon
3 large red bell peppers (335g)
2 eggplants (600g)
Fine sea salt and black pepper
250g wheat noodle pasta nests (or angel hair pasta), broken into pieces of about 3 cm
2 onionspeeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic clovespeeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon paprika
1 large plum tomatocoarsely grated and skinned (180 g)
500 ml of vegetable broth
1 lemoncut into 6 segments
for the bite
1 slice of stale breadno crusts (35g)
60ml olive oil
35g blanched almonds
1 rattle chilistem and seeds removed, pulp crushed
15 g (4 tablespoons) flat-leaf parsley leavesfinely chopped
5g dill leavesfinely chopped
1 clove garlicpeeled and shredded
Put a griddle on high heat and ventilate your kitchen. Rub the extra teaspoon of oil over the peppers and eggplants, then place them in the hot skillet and grill, turning occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown all over; remove each vegetable when ready. Transfer to a tray and let cool. Once the peppers and aubergines are cool enough to handle, peel and discard, remove and discard the stems, pith and seeds from the peppers, then cut the pepper and aubergine into 1cm thick strips. Put on a large plate, sprinkle an eighth teaspoon of salt on top and set aside.
Meanwhile, place large 11-inch nonstick skillet with lid over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and toast, stirring frequently, for three to four minutes, until almost completely browned but still with a few untoasted strands. Tip the pasta into a bowl.
Return the skillet to the heat, add the remaining two tablespoons of oil, then sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until lightly browned and soft. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and paprika, cook for another three minutes, until fragrant, then toss in the noodles. Add the grated tomato, the broth, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, then arrange the strands of aubergine and pepper in six or seven piles on top, leaving gaps between them for the pasta to peek out. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
To ensure a crispy base, remove the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook undisturbed, except to rotate the pan once halfway through, for 10-12 minutes, until the batter on the edge of the pan starts to curve inward. You want the base to be crisp but not burnt. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the bite. Put a small skillet over medium heat, toast the bread for a minute or two on each side, until lightly coloured, then transfer to a plate.
Put the oil and the almonds in the same pan and fry for three or four minutes, until lightly golden. Add the cascabel chili, remove from heat, let cool, then tip into a small food processor. Mash the rattlesnake mixture until almost fine, then crumble the bread and mash to coarse crumbs. Pour into a small bowl and add the parsley, dill and a quarter teaspoon of salt.
Pour half of the picada over the fideuá and serve directly from the pan with the lemon slices and the rest of the picada on the side.