Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday Night in Spain

I had come across some really good saffron and that's what started this menu. It's a Spanish ingredient, so from there I found some Spanish olive oil and then I went home and searched the internet for Spanish dishes. Between the internet and the new issue of Bon Appetit (May 2009) came the menu. Bon Appetit had Spanish-style pork rib roast with pan roasted romesco sauce. I found the saffron rice, raw artichoke salad, sangria and churros on the internet.

Cheese Plate
Spain is famous for "tapas", small dishes of tasty food. I considered doing that but decided instead that I would do a cheese plate. On the plate I had Aged Mohon cheese to serve with crackers, Piquillo peppers stuffed with Carpricho De Cabra goat cheese, lemon garlic olives and Marcona almonds.

Blood Orange Sangria
You can't serve a Spanish meal and not have sangria on the menu. I found this and it's "Neely's Sangria" from the Food Network, but after re-reading the ingredients later I realized that I had skipped the 1 cup blood orange juice, so basically it's red wine, brandy, sugar and slices of blood orange and slices of lemon. It was just fine without the blood orange juice.

Raw Artichoke Salad
Tony liked this but I have to say raw artichokes aren't my thing. It was OK, but I would have liked the artichokes cooked. It's from Jose Andres' show Made In Spain. It's thin slices of raw artichoke, orange segments, frisee lettuce and a dressing made from orange juice, sherry vinegar and Spanish olive oil.

Pork Chops with Romesco Sauce
In the Bon Appetit magazine they make a whole pork rib roast, but I just got 2 bone-in pork chops. First I brined the pork overnight (20 hours), then rubbed on a paste made with olive oil, garlic, salt , pepper, fresh marjoram and Spanish smoked paprika. Let that sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours. When it was time to cook the pork I heated a pan with oil and seared the pork on one side, flipped them over and then put the pan right into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. When the pork was done, I moved them to a plate and covered them with foil while I finished the romesco sauce. I deglazed the pan with Sherry and reduced. Once reduced I poured the sherry sauce into a combination of roasted red peppers, garlic, plum tomato, Marcona almonds and fresh breadcrumbs that was already cooked in the oven and blended in a food processor. Then I poured the sauce over the pork chops...delicious!

Saffron Rice
This starts out by sweating some onion and red bell pepper and salt in olive oil, for 7 minutes then add garlic, paprika and rice. After a minute add wine. Then canned tomatoes in their juice, chicken broth, saffron and a bay leaf. Cook until the rice is done and at the end add pimiento stuffed green olives and taste for seasoning. Saffron had a very floral taste, I want to try it again with out so many other flavors that compete with the saffron taste.

Churros Served with Dark Chocolate Sauce
This recipe is from Chocofateria San Gines in Madrid Spain. Basically it's a choux pastry, which I have made many times, and you spoon the pastry into a piping bag and you squeeze 4 inch strips of pastry into the hot oil and deep fry for about 5 minutes. After draining on paper towels you roll them into a combination of cinnamon and sugar. The chocolate sauce is a combination of milk, bittersweet chocolate, sugar and corn starch, cooked together until slightly thickened. You serve the warm churros with the warm chocolate sauce. Very nice.

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