Monthly Archives: December 2013

Slow Roasted Lamb Legs and Vegetables

Slow roasted lamb legs
Slow roasting means low temperature, but the meat becomes so tender that it is definitely worth it.

We were not big fans of lamb meat back in Finland. The reason was that the meat there tasted like wool for some reason. It was probably because of different species they raise in Finland. When we first made a lamb leg in Spain we were blown away by the nice taste of lamb meat. Ever since we’ve done lamb every now and then – not only for Easter.

Slow roasted vegetables are something that we have done before, too. It takes 2-4 hours to make them, but it really pays off. During low and slow roasting they become so tender and full of flavor.

Ingredients for Slow Roasted Vegetables for 4 Servings

  • Vegetables of your choice – verduras que quiere 
  • olive oil – aceite oliva
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

For vegetables you can really have what are for your taste. We prefer whole garlics (which by the way can be recovered from the lamb leg marinade!), carrots, onions, paprikas and zucchinis.

Place the vegetables in 120 ºC (250 ºF) oven for about 3 hours. In this temperature you can roast both the lamb and the vegetables.

Ingredients for Slow Roasted Lamb Legs for 4 Servings

  • 2 whole front legs (as pictured) or 4 lamb shanks (lower half of the leg) – piernas de cordero
  • olive oil – aceite de oliva
  • 2 whole garlics – ajo entero
  • 10 sprigs of rosemary – ramitas de romero
  • handful of coffee beans – granos de café
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • a coffee cup of water – agua

Put some olive oil on a large plate where the legs fit nicely. Put the legs on the plate. Half the garlics and put them, the sprigs of rosemary and coffee beans around the legs. Season with generous amount of sea salt and ground black pepper. Cover with foil and put the plate in a fridge overnight. Turn once and rub the salt, pepper, garlic, coffee beans and rosemary to the legs so that they get good even flavor while marinating.

Place the legs in room temperature 2 hours before roasting. Put a coffee cup of water in the oven to prevent the meat of drying. Remove excess seasoning of the legs and put them in 120 ºC (250 ºF) oven for  about 3 hours so that the temperature inside near the thickest part of meat is 55 ºC (130 ºF). This leaves nice pink meat and it’s not overcooked. Use thermometer, if available.

¡Buen provencho!

Golden Perch with Hollandaise Sauce and Vegetables

Golden perch with hollandaise sauce
You can plate the hollandaise sauce below the vegetables and fish for finished look.

One of our absolute favorite fishes in Spain is Golden Perch, dorada. You can use any white fish of your choice, but we prefer this one because it is local, easy to debone and fillet and you can have them fresh all around the year. Dorada means gold and its name becomes from golden strip between the eyes.

The hero of this dish is the hollandaise sauce. Even though there are vegetables and light fish fillets, don’t be fooled that this is a diet plate. It’s not. Hollandaise sauce contains a lot of calories, but the taste is wonderful! It also supports the taste of white fish.

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce for 4 Servings

  • 5 egg yolks – yemas
  • juice of half a lemon – zumo de lemón
  • 200 g (8 oz) of clarified butter (about 250 g before clarifying) – mantequilla clarificada
  • 1,25 dl (1/2 cups) of fish stock – caldo pescado
  • salt – sal

Start by reducing the fish stock by half. Then put a large sauce pan of water on high heat. We will need this later for making the sauce. Make sure that you have a large stainless steel bowl which fits on top of the pan and does not touch the water, but is close to it.

Then put the butter in another pot and let it boil slowly. When boiling excess water steams off and foam begins to raise on top of the surface. Skim the foam off and let the pot rest on low heat while preparing the eggs for the sauce.

Put the egg yolks in the stainless steel bowl and add juice of half a lemon. Whisk for about couple of minutes until the mixture is light and foamy. The water on the sauce pan should be simmering now. Reduce its heat to medium. Place the bowl on top of the pan and whisk for another 1-2 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened. Then start pouring the clarified butter very carefully while whisking at the same time. At the beginning add just little bit at a time. After you have added all the butter (do not to pour in the foam from the bottom of butter pan) continue whisking little bit more and season with salt, if needed.

Ingredients for Vegetables for 4 Servings

  • 4 carrots – zanahornas
  • 8 asparagus – espárragos
  • salt – sal

Wash carrots very well. You don’t need to peel them. Take each carrot half and slice lengthwise down the center. Put the carrots in a steaming pot for about 5 minutes. While they are cooking Trim and peel asparaguses and put them in the pot as well. Steam until both are al dente. Season with salt.

Ingredients for Golden Perch for 4 Servings

  • 2 golden perches – doradas
  • olive oil – aceite de oliva
  • salt – sal
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Debone and fillet the fishes (or ask your fish counter to do that) and leave the skin on. Use a grill or a pan to cook the fish. First cook the fillets skin side up for 2 minutes in olive oil. Then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the fish is ready.

Put the hollandaise sauce on the bottom of the plate, place some vegetables on top of the sauce and last place a fish fillet on top. Season with salt, ground pepper and lime slices.

¡Buen provecho!

Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese

Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese
Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese is a wonderful traditional Spanish tapas.

Tapas means a small dish. Usually it is a quarter of a portion, but many times it also refers to something that is not available in portions. You don’t eat a whole plate of cheese or cured ham at once. Tapas is a Spanish snack.

During lunch hour you see locals gathering at tapas bars with friends for having a glass of red wine or caña (a small beer), some cured Spanish ham, jamón and Manchego cheese. Finest jamón is called pata negra which translates to “black hoof” and it’s usually cured between 24 to 48 months. This is traditional Spanish way of preserving meat and it was the only way in the old days. It is served in thin slices and it takes years of training in order to be able to cut them perfectly from the whole pork legs.

Manchego is made of sheep milk and it is aged for long as well. Typical Manchego cheese is aged between 2 to 12 months. And the price goes together with the aging period. First Manchego cheese is cut in sectors and then cut in triangle slices. When served, the cheese must be in room temperature. Usually in tapas bars they don’t even put the cheese in the fridge – it is stored in under a cover on tapas counter. Depending on your preference you may enjoy it as it is or put some extra virgin olive oil and some ground pepper on top.

Many times these types of tapas is served with bread sticks. Once we’re at a tapas bar, the bread sticks came with pesto cream cheese and this combination turned out to be absolutely wonderful! In the picture above we have some home made pesto (see our recipe for Tuna Steak Salad with Green Pesto to make the pesto). Mix it well with cream cheese and you’re done!

¡Buen provecho!

Cutting Jamón Ibérico
A lady at Romero Torres Jamoneria is cutting thing slices of Iberian ham for the tapas.