Monday, August 17, 2015

A tribute and a second Spanish helping

I was very sad to read an obituary for Pat Churchill in last weekend's Dominion Post.  Not only was she a pioneering woman journalist and features editor, she was also a terrific cook who made an extra career out of food writing.
       One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one featuring her recipe for mandarin muffins. I'll make them this week in memory of her.

A fortnight ago I promised to post two more tapas recipes. So here they are, only a week-and-a-bit late (trying to learn a bit more Spanish got in the way - disculpe!).

Alubias con almejas - white haricot beans with clams
(From Claudia Roden, The Food of Spain, A Celebration)

650g fresh clams  (I got mine at Moore Wilson, where they're only around $13 a kg)
3 Tbsps olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 500g tin or jar small white haricot beans, drained
125 ml fruity white wine or cava
2 Tbsps chopped flat-leaf parsley

Wash the clams and discard any that are not closed. Soak them in cold salted water for 1 hour to make sure they release any sand. (I didn't do this and no harm was done)
Heat the oil in a wide casserole or pan with a tight-fitting lid. Put in the onion and stir over a low heat until it becomes very soft and is starting to colour. Add the garlic and stir for another minute or two. 
Add the beans, white wine and a little salt. Mix gently and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Place the clams on top, put the lid on, and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes until the clams open. Throw away any that stay closed.
Serve sprinkled with the parsley and a bowl for the shells. 

I couldn't find the haricot beans, so I used cannellini instead. They tasted fine. The whole dish is quite subtle and the flavour of the clams really comes through.  
        Finally, here are Ali's delicious meatballs. It's a Rick Stein recipe, but as she often finds with his recipes, she said she had to tweak it. To make the sauce work, she left out the recommended 200 ml of chicken stock and halved the amount of sherry from his 200 ml, as well as going lighter on the salt, given the salty prosciutto.

Albóndigas en salsa tomate - meatballs in a tomato and sherry sauce
(Based on a recipe by Rick Stein)

For the meatballs
50g crustless white bread
Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
150g thinly sliced Serrano ham (or use prosciutto)
350g lean minced pork
350g minced veal or chicken (Ali used free-range)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
50g pitted green olives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp smoked hot Spanish paprika
1 tsp salt
Black pepper
4 Tbsps olive oil for frying

:Break the bread into a small bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes.
Drop the ham or prosciutto into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Into a large bowl put the soaked bread, minced pork and minced chicken, ham, garlic, olives, parsley, lemon zest, paprika, salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix together well with your hands, then fry a little piece of the mixture and taste it, adjusting seasonings if needed.
Shape the mixture into about 60 small tapas-sized balls.
In a large frypan, heat the oil and fry half the meatballs for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan to get them nicely browned all over. Repeat with the second batch.

For the sauce
3 Tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika (sweet or hot)
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
100 ml fino (dry) sherry, or 200ml dry white wine
2 fresh bay leaves
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a frypan, add the onion, garlic and paprika, and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sherry or wine, bay leaves and salt, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the meatballs and sauce in shallow bowls with toothpicks alongside.        

As there were only three of us, we helped ourselves form a larger bowl. The flavour was delicious, very rich and intense and satisfying. Olé!

No comments: