Monthly Archives: April 2014

Pintxos – Bar Snacks from Basque Country

Pinxtos are delicious Catalonian tapas
Pintxos are delicious snacks from northern Spain

Pintxos are very popular snacks in bars in northern part of Spain – especially in Basque Country. We first discovered pintxos in Barcelona and later found out that there’s a pintxo bar in our home town, too! Word pintxo means a skewer in Catalan language and pintxos are often served with piece of bread and the toppings are spiked through with a toothpick or a small skewer. But there’s another purpose for the toothpick other than holding things together: You are charged according to the number of toothpicks you have on your plate!

There really are no limits what you can do with pintxos. Just have a piece of bread (typically baquette) and place of favorite things on top! We have a huge pintxo book full of recipes in Spanish. Here are four of our favorites.

Ingredients for Green Pepper Pintxos with Cold Smoked Salmon

  • baquette – pan Francés
  • olive oil – aceite oliva
  • green peppers – pimientos Italianos
  • onions – cebollas
  • sea salt – sal de mar
  • mayonnaise – mayonesa
  • cold smoked salmon – salmón ahumado
  • quail eggs – huevos de codorniz

Boil the eggs for 4 minutes. Cut peppers into 4 pieces. Cut onions into rings. Fry green peppers and onions in olive oil until they are soft. Season with salt. Stack the pintxos the following way:

  1. bread
  2. mayonnaise
  3. salmon
  4. green pepper
  5. onion rings
  6. quail egg

Ingredients for Jamón Pintxos with Red Paprikas

  • baquette – pan Francés
  • extra virgin olive oil – aceite oliva extra virgen
  • canned red paprikas – pimientos del piquillo
  • Spanish cured ham – jamón
  • green olives with stones removed – aceitunas verdes sin huevos

Spash a little olive oil on the bread slices. Stack the following way:

  1. bread
  2. red paprikas
  3. cured ham
  4. olive

Ingredients for Mackerel Pintxos with Tuna Sauce

  • baquette – pan Francés
  • olive oil – aceite oliva
  • green peppers – pimientos Italianos
  • canned red paprikas – pimientos del piquillo
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • mayonnaise – mayonesa
  • canned tuna – atun
  • canned mackerel – caballa
  • quail eggs – huevos de codorniz

Make the tuna sauce first. Combine mayonnaise with tuna. Season with black pepper and sea salt to taste. Refrigerate for about one hour. Boil the eggs for 4 minutes. Fry green peppers until soft. Season with salt. Stack as follows:

  1. bread
  2. tuna sauce
  3. mackerel
  4. red paprika
  5. green paprika
  6. quail egg

Ingredients for Asparagus Pintxos with Hollandaise Sauce

  • baquette – pan Francés
  • olive oil – aceite oliva
  • asparagus – espárragos
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • hollandaise sauce – salsa holandesa
  • quail eggs – huevos de codorniz

Boil the quail eggs for 4 minutes. Fry the asparagus on a pan until soft, but still a bit firm. Season with salt. Make the hollandaise sauce according to these instructions. Stack as follows:

  1. bread
  2. hollandaise sauce
  3. asparagus
  4. quail egg

¡Buen provencho!

Hot Chicken Wings (with honey-Sriracha twist)

Hot chicken wings with a twist!
Hot chicken wings with a twist!

Hot chicken wings are the best junk food you can have! They are the perfect cure for a hangover and excellent party food with your friends. So basically you can get wasted while having hot wings and have some more the next day.

Hot wings are not popular in Spain. You rarely find them from a menu in restaurants and quite often they are more or less disappointing. So you have to do your own and this is the best recipe with have came up with.

The proper way of cooking them, of course, is deep frying them in oil, but we prefer to cook them on a baking tray in an oven. This way most of the fat melts out and you still get that nice crispy texture.

Even more important is the proper hot sauce. Our masterpiece combines famous Sriracha Sauce and honey! The wings were first coated with another sauce (see recipe below) for baking. Just before serving they were recoated with the Sriracha based sauce. On the side we offered julienned carrots with blue cheese dipping sauce. Yummy! To get party started, all you’ll need is some beer to relief the heat in your mouth!

Ingredients for Baked Chicken Wings for 4 Servings

  • 2 kg (4.5 lbs) of chicken wings – alas de pollo
  • 3 tablespoons of butter – mantequilla 
  • 0.5 dl (0.25 cups) of olive oil – aceite de oliva
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy Spanish smoked paprika – pimentón picante
  • 1 teespoon of sea salt – sal marina
  • 5 dried Cayenne peppers crushed – pimimentas Cayenne
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minched – dientes de ajo

Preheat the oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF). If you wish, you can separate the wings from the joints. It’s up to you how you prefer to eat them. Place the wings on prepared baking sheet on the baking tray.

Make the sauce on a sauce pan on medium heat by first melting the butter. Combine rest of the ingredients, check the taste for salt and garlic and pour the mixture on top of the wings. Bake for about 45-60 minutes until the surface is nice and crisp. You can turn the heat up a bit in after 45 minutes, if the surface is not crisp yet.

Ingredients for Sriracha Honey Hot Sauce for 4 Servings

  • 5 tablespoons of butter – mantequilla
  • 0,5 dl (1/4 cups) of Sriracha sauce – salsa Sraracha
  • 0,5 dl (1/4 cups) of honey – miel
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce – salsa soja
  • 1-2 chopped chili peppers – piminto picante
  • juice of 1 limee – zumo de lima
  • a handful of chopped coriander – cilantro

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. When melted, add everything except the coriander and bring to boil. Check the taste. You can easily control the spiciness of the sauce the following ways:

  • need more heat – add Sriracha
  • need to bring it down a bit – add butter

Pour on top of the wings, add chopped coriander and mix well. Serve with julienned carrots, blue cheese cream and beer.

¡Buen provencho!

 

Visit to Málaga Market Hall – Atarazanas

Málaga market hall, Atarazanas from 15th century
Málaga market hall, Atarazanas from 15th century

One of the best places to get to know local food culture is visiting a local market hall. In Spanish they are called Mercado Municipal. When we visit new places, we always try to find the main market hall to see what kind of ingredients are available and also to see the people.

The nearest big city for us is Málaga. It’s only 45 minutes by commuter train and the main market hall, Atarazanas, is located only few hundred meters from the station. Actually we visit Atarazanas almost once a month on nice Saturday mornings to get fresh vegetables, spicy Chorizo sausage, Jamón Ibérico (highest quality cured ham), meat, fish and other seafood for the weekend.

One of the highlights of each visit to have a breakfast at the market hall. There are some bars inside serving fresh seafood, poultry and meat skewers and of course Spanish wine, Cava and Manzanilla (which is a very dry sherry and popular among Andalucian locals with tapas).

 

Virtual Tour in Atarazanas

 

A Brief History Lesson

Atarazanas means shipyard and actually a shipyard was in this place in the Moorish era in 1354-1391. The only thing left from the original building is the main entrance. The building was badly damaged and rebuilt in 1870’s. The latest restoration was done in 2008-2010. Atarazanas is a listed building in Spain. For detailed information about the history read Andalucia.com’s article about Atarazanas. For the latest restoration project check out e-architect’s article.

 

Where to Find Atarazanas