Tapas, what a great idea!
'Tapas. What a great idea!'
Not too long ago, we had a request whether Chef could demonstrate tapas as one of his themes for the cooking club. Liking the idea so much, tapas was adopted for the theme of the Cooking Club in September.
In his research, Chef wondered how tapas originated. Taking the word at face value, 'tapa' translates to 'lid' in English. Original tapas dishes began as slices of bread, served with a glass of sherry and were used as a lid, or 'tapa', to stop the flies getting in. The bread was then eaten and over time, the bartenders started to add a toppings to the bread, making the first 'tapa' dishes. Quickly the trend grew and the accompanying portion of food became just as important as the sherry it was served with, giving birth to the tapas we know and love today.
Due to the bite-sized portions of tapas dishes, Chef wanted to keep the dishes simple, and easy to do at home, but in still with keeping of the Spanish traditions. A great place to start was with chorizo - the king of Spanish cuisine - and a dish that caught Chef's eye was chorizo cooked in red wine. Admittedly not a quick dish, though it is brilliantly simple and straight forward to make at home. Chef did, however, did do the old Blue Peter 'here's one I made earlier' trick!
1 pack Cooking Chorizo
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 dsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
½ bottle red wine
Heat a saucepan and add the rapeseed oil. To the pan, add the the chorizo and onion, then fry, allowing the chorizo to release all the flavoursome juices.
Add the garlic and the bay leaf, then the red wine and leave to gently simmer for 90 minutes. If the liquid is evaporating quickly, add some water to the pan.
The chorizo will begin to absorb the red wine and take the colour of a blood sausage. You're aiming for just enough liquid to be able to coat the chorizo, giving them a glistening shine.
Allow to cool slightly and serve
'Rich and delicious, this tapas dish will get your guests taste buds going!
Serve with a few cocktail skewers for the middle of the table, or even have them as a canapé'
The other hugely popular dish was the garlic prawns. This dish is very easy and very quick to do at home. This dish is wonderful when served with a few slices of chunky bread to mop up the garlic sauces!
200g raw tiger prawns
200g clarified butter
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, segmented
1tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp smoked paprika
With a sharp knife, cut down the back of each prawn and remove the black vein.
Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the clarified butter, allow to get hot.
Carefully add each tiger prawn to the butter and shallow fry for 2 minutes.
Now add the garlic & begin to coat the prawns with the butter. Add the lemon segments and the chopped parsley and repeat the process.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve.
Being a tapas edition, we could not leave out a glass of Sherry or a scrumptious red from the demonstration! Stef from The Mixed Case wine merchants sourced a cracking red for us - Borsao 2012, a full bodied wine with a subtle spice and long, complex after-taste. The sherry was Don José, Oloroso and is one we have in the restaurant. Although Don José sounds like a gentleman who knows his way around the Spanish black market, this sherry goes perfectly with aged cheeses, nuts or clod meats. It also brings notes of old bark, walnut, spice and coffee to the pallet too. Wonderful with olives and caramelised almonds.