Buenos dias! Welcome to semana dos of Travelling Tastebuds in Spain! Week one was so good that I had to give Spain a little bit more of my culinary time. So here were are for Tapas Tuesday!
When we first arrived we were tired and thirsty after a long hard day of sightseeing and café hopping. Our weariness must have been obvious, as we were immediately greeted by the cute, smiling bartender with a cold glass of wine. Seasoned as he was, he also didn’t wait for us to decide what tapas to order or how to pronounce them. He simply swung by our section of the bar with these tempting treats.
In his thick accent, he explained what each dish was. Below are salty spiced almonds.
Hungrier than we realized, starting off with this crunchy snack was a welcome treat. Almonds tossed with pimentón, aka sweet paprika, and salt, these are the perfect tapa to recreate at home. I used smoked paprika, as it’s what I already had in the house. The smoky spice brings out the hidden sweetness in the almonds.
Paired with the sea salt, it creates an unexpected flavour to enjoy with that first glass of after-work wine. Of course, we were on vacation, but most patrons were trickling in after work and meeting up with friends for snacks.
As a result of my spanish experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that tapas are the perfect invention. Originally just a hunk of cheese or meat to serve with alcohol, they have become more and more elaborate and fun. They are very well suited to bar snacking, and you can order as many or as few as you want. Stay at the bar for a dinner made up of many tapas, or just have a little snack to hold you over until dinner at 11 pm. Don’t forget, we’re taking Spain here!
I’ve had the most amazing time taking my tastebuds on this trip to Spain. But it’s time to move on. Where should I go next? Greece? Morocco? Tell me below in the Comments section. It’s your choice this time.
Special thanks goes out to my local library where I found a valuable resource on Spain’s culture and food called, what else? The Food of Spain: A journey for food lovers.
SALTY SPICED ALMONDS (ALMENDRAS)
1 egg white
1/4 tsp sweet paprika (I used smoked and it was wonderful)
500 g whole blanched almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Preheat the over to 235F. In a large bowl, lightly whip the egg white and paprika until mixture starts to froth. Add the blanched almonds and toss to coat.
Divide the nuts between two non-stick baking sheets (I halved the recipe so only needed one–just make sure the nuts are spread in an even layer). Sprinkle with sea salt and toss. Spread out flat on the baking sheet. Baking for 30 minutes turning nuts occasionally to prevent from sticking *This is quite important. I checked them at the halfway point and they were already baked onto the pan. Luckily, the heat is low enough they don’t burn, it’s just tougher to unstick them the longer you wait. Once completely cooled, store in airtight jars.
PANE CON TOMATE
This one’s easy. Slice bread. Toast it. Rub with garlic and tomato, then drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Try not to eat them all before you serve them to your deserving guests. If your guests are worth it, save this dish for your nearest and dearest.
HABAS CON JAMÓN (Broad Beans with Jamón)
20 g butter
1 brown onion, chopped
175 g jamón or prosciutto, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
500 g broad beans (fava beans) or in my case, a mix of green kidney beans and frozen peas
125 ml dry white wine (I used a Pino Grigio)
185 ml chicken stock
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, jamón and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion softens.
Add the broad beans and wine and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the stock, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes or until beans are tender and liquid has been absorbed/evaporated. Serve hot as a tapas dish with crusty bread or as a side dish.
*Disclaimer: I don’t want to ruin the fun, but if you’re new to Travelling Tastebuds, you should know that the stories here are entirely fictional, taken from my grandiose travel dreams. The food and recipes, however are real. I’ve got the pot belly to prove it.