Arroz Caldoso a “Seis Manos” – “Six Hand” Seafood Stew and Rice

Arroz Caldoso de Pescado

 

This is one of those feel good Sunday dishes.  All over Spain, you can find variations of this.  Truly one of the most comforting and homey dishes, it is also a main feature in many menus here, from small family run restaurants to Michelin starred dining rooms.

Rice is taken very seriously in Spain, with a plethora of incarnations, from Paella to Rice Pudding, Salads to Stews, it is almost national pride.  I have called this “Six Hand” because it was a collaboration between three people, our amazing hostess, Dolors, long time friend and extraordinary woman, my friend Fer, who hails from Zaragoza and is a killer in the kitchen, and myself.  Each one of us had a part in making this dish, and it was such a great experience, because that is what Sundays are all about.  Family, Friends, Food and Fun.  Oh, and spending an afternoon in our hostesses breathtaking Ramblas loft was a plus, too.

The key to arroz caldoso is in the stock.  This is an inexpensive way to make a dish for a large family, and because you are showcasing the stock, it has to be quite amazing.  It is the canvas to the rest of the ingredients, and you can let your imagination go wild.  We decided on monkfish, squid, shrimp and mussels.  Then, the finishing touch, is obviously the rice.  And bomba rice is the one that you need to splurge on, since I was informed that if you use regular short grain rice, there is a chemical reaction that occurs when paired with shellfish stock.  Apparently, the grain splits, and lets out too much of its starch, making this more of a cream than a stew.

It was an amazing lunch, and all of us, even the kids (all 10 and under) repeated three times.  Now that speaks for itself!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6-7

3 liters good quality shellfish stock, preferably homemade (recipe below)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 nyora pepper, soaked and peeled

2 tsp spicy Pimenton powder (or hot smoked paprika)

400 g monkfish, cubed

1 large squid, cut in bite sized pieces

a few pinches of good quality saffron threads

400 g Bomba rice

400 g shrimp, peeled and deveined

200 g mussels, steamed and shelled

Fresh parsley, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and sauté until sauce has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the nyora pepper, stir until mixed, and sauté another 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper the squid and monkfish, and add to the tomatoes along with the pimenton and saffron.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Add your shellfish stock to the fish and squid, add the rice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, about 10 minutes.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add the shrimp, mussels, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

For the stock:

5 liters of water

shrimp shells and heads from the shrimp you will be using in your stew

monkfish heads and bones (ask your fish monger to give these to you when you buy the monkfish)

fennel, stalks and fronds

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 bay leaf

some saffron, nyora peppers, pimenton and salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients and boil for about 40 minutes.  Spoon the foam off the top as it cooks.  When done, leave on the stove and cover, and let it sit, so the flavors will meld, about 20 minutes.  Strain and reserve.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

 

Osso Bucco.  Literally meaning, Bone Hole, is probably one of my top ten favorite dishes.  That tender, fall off the bone meat, with a flavourful sauce……it is autumn/winter food at its best!

The key to Osso Bucco is like the Ragu, you need to let it simmer for a long time, so all the wonderful flavors meld together and create a sexy and rich sauce.  Like most Italian food, there aren’t many ingredients.  Onion, carrots, vine ripe tomatoes, and some wine and beef stock.  Perfect.  Lip-smacking good.  You can pair it with risotto, polenta, potatoes…..even just bread!  And the next day, you have a crazy good pasta sauce!

Of course, don’t forget to spread the delicious marrow on a piece of crusty bread, that in itself is worth the 3 hour wait!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

 

Serves 4

4 veal shanks

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

red or white wine

1 large onion, minced

1 leek, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

7 roma tomatoes, diced

4 cups beef stock

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over high heat.  Sprinkle the veal shanks with the salt and pepper, and sear on both sides.  Remove and set aside.  Add a drizzle of the wine to the pan and deglaze, breaking up the brown bits until the wine has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the onions, leeks and carrots.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened.  Add the tomatoes and some more salt and pepper.  Cook another 10 minutes until it starts to become a thick sauce.  Add the veal shanks, some more red wine and the beef stock and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer, for about 2 and a half hours.  Stir occasionally, making sure that the shanks don’t stick.  The meat should be extremely tender.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Bucatini all’ Amatriciana

Bucatini all"Amatriciana

This is another one of those favorite tried and true recipes of mine.  Frankly, the first time I tried Amatriciana I was in Miami, and how far from the reality it was.  The best Amatriciana I have ever had, is obviously, in Rome.  Hands down unbelievable.  That trip to Rome sealed my fate forever, because my daughter learned what a good Amatriciana and a good Carbonara was……so mom better learn how to perfect them quick, cause boy, she’s a food snob if there ever is one!

As many Italian dishes, it has dubious origins, some say the Swiss canton of Grisons, some say Amatrice…..and also, there is the onions/no onions?  Chili pepper/no Chili pepper?  I prepare it the way the Romans do.

Chili Pepper, one of these beauties that I brought back from Napoli

Chili Pepper from Napoli

 

And the other key ingredient, Guanciale (cured pork cheek).  Not bacon my friends, guanciale is the stuff of Gods.  If you’re not vegetarian that is.  Then it’s devil’s speak.

GuancialeAs you see, there is a lot more fat on pork cheek.  I mean, if you think about it, no one ever does cheek workouts……except for when we eat, so I guess that’s why there’s that teeny sliver of non fatty meat, for chewing effort.

And, I do use onions.  Only a bit, but that is how the Romans prepare it.  There is also a debate on what type of fat, olive oil, or lard?  Well, if you’re not afraid of it, go ahead and lard it up!  I do, it gives it a damn incredible pork-y taste, and hell, you’re not going to eat this everyday, so give your diet a break and eat some fat!

That said, it is a very very easy dish to prepare.  The beauty is in the simplicity of the ingredients.  The best tomatoes, the best guanciale, and of course, Pecorino Romano!  Don’t be putting on the northern neighbor Parmigiano, or some Roman might come flying into your kitchen and scream “ ti spacco la faccia!!! ” *

So, if you are so inclined, here’s what you’re going to need!

Serves 4

100g Guanciale, sliced or diced

1 small onion, minced

1 chili pepper, chopped

1/2 tbsp pork fat or olive oil

450g crushed tomatoes

Salt and Pepper to taste

400g Bucatini Pasta

Grated Pecorino Romano

 

In a large sauté pan, place the guanciale, onion and chili pepper, and pork fat or olive oil over medium high heat.  Cook until the onion is translucent, and the guanciale is golden.   Add the tomatoes, salt, and lower the heat to a simmer.

Bring the water for the pasta to boil.  Cook the pasta to 2 minutes before package directions.  Strain, reserving about 1/4 cup of the boiling water.  Add the Bucatini and the water to the sauté pan where you have the sauce, and turn up the heat to medium.  Cook, tossing the bucatini with the sauce until it coats it all evenly.

Serve with the freshly grated pecorino and pepper.

Buon Appetito!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

* That in Italian means, I smacka you face!

 

 

 

Cherry Tomato, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart

Cherry Tomato, Roquefort, and Caramelized Onion Tart

 

Last night we had a small gathering at a friend’s house, and since she offered up her wonderful roof top terrace, I wanted to chip in not only by bringing some wine, but making something to take to the party.   But, I also didn’t want to spend too much time cooking, since that is what I do everyday, for my family, and for work.  I do love what I do, but sometimes I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Well, this recipe is perfect for those situations, and it works just as well for dinner, or lunch in a pinch.  The prep time is absolutely minimal if you buy some store-bought pizza dough or Pate Brisee.  This leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your friends or family, and all you have to do is serve a salad to go with it, and you have an exquisite, easy meal.  Isn’t that the best?

So here’s what you’re going to need:

1 store-bought Pizza or Pate Brisee dough

1 box cherry tomatoes, halved

1 onion, sliced

1 small package blue cheese

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 sprig of thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, add the oil, sugar, thyme leaves, and the sliced onion.  Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is softened and turning golden.  Strain the onions, set aside.

Roll out the dough, and heat the oven according to package directions.  Place the sliced cherry tomatoes randomly over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border on all sides.  Top with the caramelized onions and the blue cheese.  Place on a baking tray in the middle rack of the oven.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until your dough is crisp.  Remove from the oven.  It’s best when eaten warm, not boiling.  And it tastes marvelous cold, too!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Ragu Alla Bolognese del mio Zio – Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti Bolognese

Everybody has their own version of Bolognese, or Ragu as we call it in my house.  My recipe, handed down from three generations, stays true to my uncle Gianni’s version.  As I’ve mentioned before, my family is from Ferrara and Bologna, the food capital of Italy.  With such amazing products as Parmigiano, Mortadella, Balsamic Vinegar, Tortellini and Ravioli coming from my region, Emilia-Romagna, it indeed is a wonderful place to visit and have family!

One of my first food memories is Ragu, my mother made it every week, and when I met my uncle in 1986, I also tasted his version, passed down to him from his mother, who owned a restaurant in a little town outside of Bologna.  Cut to 26 years later, I now make it very often, because alas, it is my daughter’s favorite (along with Carbonara).  So needless to say, I can make this with my eyes closed.

There is something so comforting to me about Ragu.  Just the cooking process screams comfort, and time-honored tradition.  I like to use a mix of pork and veal, pancetta, and white wine.  And I let it simmer for three hours or more, if I have the time.  As my uncle explained to me, his mother taught him how to make this when he was 12 years old, and said, start out on a large flame, and keep moving it to smaller, and smaller flames so it can simmer delicately for hours.  And the smells wafting from the kitchen….divine.  For me, it always tastes better than next day, when the flavors have fully developed, but my daughter can’t wait to have it the moment it’s done.

Ragu Bolognese

It seems like a daunting long process, but actually, once you are done with the preparation, all you have to do is sit back and let it bubble, and just enjoy the warmth in your kitchen like I do.

Ragu alla Bolognese

2 slices pancetta, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, minced finely

1 large carrot, minced finely or grated

1 celery rib (0ptional….some people don’t like the taste) minced finely

1 heaping tbsp tomato paste

1 garlic clove, with skin

300 g ground veal (or 600 g ground veal if you don’t eat pork)

300 g ground pork

1 large glass white wine (if you don’t have white, or it’s really cold, you can add red)

425 ml pureed tomatoes

4 cups beef stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, over medium low heat, warm up your olive oil.  Add the pancetta, onion, carrot and celery (if using).  Add the salt and  cook for about 10-15 minutes, until softened and translucent.  Add the tomato paste, garlic and mix well.  Cook for another 5 minutes, to let it caramelize.  Add the veal and pork, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring constantly to break it up and make sure it cooks through.  Add the wine, and let it reduce, stirring to remove all the brown bits, about 8-10 minutes.

When the wine is completely reduced, add the tomatoes and beef stock, mix well.  Let it come to a boil, let boil for about 5 minutes, and lower the heat to medium low, and cook covered for about 30 minutes.  Switch it to your lowest flame, uncover, and let simmer for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Adjust the seasonings, and add the fresh cracked pepper.

Let cool and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld.  If you can’t wait, by all means, serve it up over your favorite pasta.  Mine is tagliatelle or pappardelle, but over spaghetti is perfect, or rigatoni.  It is also heavenly in Lasagna or cannelloni.  Or you can reduce it further to use it as a filling for ravioli, which would be the Brasato filling (braised beef).

 

From my zio’s kitchen to yours,

Carla

Shrimp Tacos with Charred Poblano and Pineapple Slaw

Shrimp Tacos

Whenever I’m in Miami, I am amazed at the amount of produce that I can’t get in Barcelona.  Obviously, the population is decidedly more Latin American here than over there, so the markets cater to them.  But I can’t help wanting to buy everything, almost obsessively.

I love Poblano peppers.  I love the deep green hue, almost brown, that is unlike any other pepper.  I love how smooth and, elegant, dare I say they are.  So I designed this dish entirely around the poblanos.

Poblano Peppers

I had never made this before, hoping that my flavor combinations would turn out ok.  This was not just ok, it was Gosh Darn Delicious!  Even my mother, who is a total skeptic when it comes to trying something new, was smacking her lips and licking the last bits of the tacos as she happily ate all three!

Charred Poblano and Pineapple Slaw

Slightly charring the Poblanos brings out their smoky flavor, and the addition of the pineapple to the slaw…..genius!  Every third bite or so you get this amazing sweetness that really complements the shrimp.  Now, for the shrimp I used this seasoning pack that you get all over Florida, I am not sure if you can find it elsewhere.

Sazon GoyaThis is a simple combination of achiote, which is a seed that gives a wonderful color to your foods and is used in Mexican and other Latin American countries.  It also has cilantro and garlic salt, etc.  You can easily substitute all these things if you can’t find any of this in your local market.  Apart from that, some fresh onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice, and you’re good to go!

So, here’s what you’re going to need:

Makes about 10 tacos

For the Slaw:

1/2 cabbage, shredded

3 Poblano peppers, charred, peeled and seeded, and thinly sliced

1 small handful shredded carrots

1/8 cup sugar

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp yellow mustard

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp garlic salt

1 tbsp hot sauce, such as Louisiana or Tabasco if you’re in a pinch

1/4 cup chopped pineapple

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the cabbage, carrots, poblanos and pineapple.  Combine all the ingredients to make a dressing.  Then in a large bowl, pour it over the cabbage, carrots, poblanos and pineapple.  Mix well, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the shrimp:

3/4 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 packet of sazon goya

Dash of ground cumin

Dash of garlic salt

1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

1 lime, juiced

10 corn tortillas

In a large sauté pan, add a drizzle of olive oil, onions and the spice packet.  Cook over high heat, about 7 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the tomatoes and lower the heat to medium, cooking another 10 minutes or until a you have a thick sauce.

Turn the heat up again to high, and add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes, or until pink.  Add the fresh cilantro and lime juice.

ShrimpWarm your tortillas in the microwave, wrapped in paper towels, for about a minute.  To assemble, on the tortilla, spoon a bit of the shrimp, so that every tortilla has about 3-4 shrimp, and top with a dollop of the slaw.  Try not to scarf them down like I did, and enjoy, cause once they’re gone, you’re gonna want more!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

Naples and The Amalfi Coast Pt. 2

Neapolitan Food

Eating in Italy is a religious experience.  Eating in Campania, well…..let’s just say it is one of a kind.  What is great about the food in Naples and it’s surroundings you say?  Wellllllll…….Let’s start off with the basics.  Tomatoes.  The best tomatoes in the world come from this area.  Namingly, the “Pommodori di San Marzano”

Tomatoes, Italy, Campania, San Marzano

This is the queen bee of sauce tomatoes.  Much like the roma, or plum, it is slightly longer and thinner, and juicy so perfect for that “Marinara” sauce on your pizza, or pasta.

Then there’s “Mozzarella di Bufala”.  This also hails from this region.  Delicious, sometimes tangy taste of pure Buffalo milk.

Mozzarella Cheese, Bufala, Italy, Campania

And then of course there’s “Pasta di Grangnano  trafilata al Bronzo”…..which is basically, excuse my home region of Emilia-Romagna, the best dry pasta, or Pasta Asciutta, your money can buy.

Faella, Pasta, Grangnano, Italy, Campania

And of course, I cannot forget all the seafood.  From squid, mussels, clams, octopus, and the queen of the sea, Ricciola, or Greater Amber Jack as we would call it.

But there is also the lemons….to make Limoncello, Granita, Salads, Lemonade……it is really a rich and diverse food basket that serves all of Italy, and the world.

Well, you know that one of the main reasons I went there was to eat.  So eat we did.  Here is the best of the best that we found in Napoli and around!

Our first night we were basically directed by a young lad to try “Oste Pazzo” restaurant, near the Lungomare and right below the “Castell dell’ Ovo”.

The waiters basically harassed (well, not too much, I mean, in terms of food you really don’t have to push me too far) to try the “Antipasto Tipico Napoletano”  This was basically comprised of a few octopus and squid salads with the typical “Fritti misti di pesce”.  That is mixed fried seafood.  I love me some fried food.  And it was awesome.

Fried Mixed Seafood, Italy, Naples

On the left is fried baby squid, quite like what we get here in Spain, but they were absolutely tiny and tender, and the batter was crazy good, crunchy, just a tad spicy, perfect.  In the middle we had two fritters with “neonati”, basically little fish in a delicious parsley spiked batter.  And on the right, fried white anchovies.  Paolo, my sweetie, wasn’t a big fan of these, he thought it was too fishy.  I however, loved it.  Something about munching on these, or any anchovy, is truly delicious.

Next up on the friend band wagon, is the Arancini.  I love arancini, and have featured them before on my blog.  But I have always eaten the Sicilian variety.  Never had I tried the Neapolitan ones.

Arancini, Fried Rice Balls, Italy, NapoliOn the left is the anemic looking “Arancino Bianco”, or white arancino, and on the right is the, you guessed it, “Arancino Rosso”, red arancino.  I was in for a huge surprise.  What looked like the bland, plain white arancino, turned out to be the tastiest one!  The white one stuffed with a pork sausage type of filling, and the rice was chock full of pepper and cheese.  It was absolutely amazing.  The red one, on the other hand, was more balanced, but also, less flavourful.  It is red because they cooked the rice with tomato sauce, and then it stuffed with a tomato meat sauce.  Both were delicious, but the white one won!

Neapolitans love their fried food.  Nary a street corner or restaurant menu that wasn’t filled with these guilty pleasures! Even for breakfast.  Upon arriving to the hotel we were instructed to go to a café called “Scaturchio”, a hundred year old café that has some pretty amazing pastries, and Napoli’s most famous, the Sfogliata.  Sfogliata is a filo-type pastry filled with sweet ricotta and candied fruits.  And one of the bonuses, is it’s served warm!

Scaturchio, Pastries, Naples, Italy

The pastry selection at Scaturchio

Sfogliata Pastry

Sfogliata Pastry from Scaturchio

It was delicious!  Crispy and buttery on the outside, warm, dense and moist on the inside.  Perfectly warm, so all you had to do was enjoy it without letting a drop of the ricotta fall!

In Capri, I mentioned we had a lunch with a view.  But obviously one of the things I wanted to eat in Capri was the Caprese Salad…..I mean, that is its birthplace!  So simple, but let me tell you, it was the best Caprese I have ever had.

Caprese SaladGorgeous, juicy, vine ripe “Cuore di Bue” tomatoes, with perfect spheres of “Mozzarella di Bufala”, accompanied only by a bit of rucola, extra virgin olive oil, and some salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Perfection on a plate!

We also enjoyed the “Insalata di Polipo con Agrumi”.  Octopus salad with citrus fruits.  This dish was made for summer in Naples.  Meaty, tender octopus bathed in lemon juice.  So refreshing for the unbearable heat!

Octopus salad with lemon dressingPaolo decided to go for the pasta, which was equally delicious, but I was trying to be “good” that day.  He had a very typical pasta that I have only tasted on this trip, called Sciallatielle.  This is a thick, flat, medium long noodle.  This pasta had been made fresh that day, and topped with Shrimp and cherry tomato sauce.

Sciallatielle Pasta with ShrimpThe shrimp in Naples are less briny than our mediterranean counterparts, equally delicious, but sweeter, and it complements the absolute star of this dish, the tomatoes.  Bursting with flavor!

Now the dessert here at Punta Tragara deserves special mention.  I was not very impressed by the title, Almond Crumble with Limoncello pastry cream.  But Holy Moses!!!!!  What an incredible dessert it is!  It is part lemon meringue, part lemon curd, part cheesecake crust!  All topped with the most beautiful and colorful summer berries.

Almond crumble with Limoncello Pastry Cream

In Positano, we went to a restaurant called “Le Tre Sorelle” that a friend of mine recommended.  It was a perfect beach-side lunch.  Although, Paolo chose the better (in terms of beachy-ness) option, but I just couldn’t be that close to Sorrento and not have “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina” which has to be one of my favorite dishes in the world.

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is gnocchi with a tomato and mozzarella sauce.  But this was definitely the best I have tasted.  Again, it comes down to the tomatoes my friends……I am having withdrawal symptoms already.

Paolo ordered the fish, with an “Aqua Pazza” Sauce.  The fish was perfectly cooked, fork tender and juicy.  Again….with amazing tomatoes and this time, potatoes!

Fish with Aqua PazzaThe presentation is gorgeous too, I have to say.

 

Oh my goodness….I can’t believe I forgot our starter at Tre Sorelle…..Zucchini Flowers stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto.  Just sublime.  I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this lunch.  Until the next one I guess.  Ok, I am a sucker, they are all really good.

Zucchini blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto

 

And on our last night, we went uphill in one of Naples’ ritzier and more residential areas to a restaurant called “La Sacrestia”.  The menu looked amazing, the views were breathtaking, of the bay and Vesuvius.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of the view, because the sun had already set….but here’s one so you can imagine!

Bay of Naples Also unfortunately, the restaurant was due to close the next day for holidays, so they didn’t have many of the dishes on the menu.  One of the dishes I wanted to eat was the Ricciola, the fish I had spoken about before.  But instead, they brought out a little tasting dish of pasta that really amazed me!  And I ended up recreating it at home.  I was really, really surprised because when they described it, it just sounded, well, blah.  It was Pasta with Mussels, Cherry tomatoes, Pepperoncino and Pecorino.

I loved it.  Obviously, the ingredients are the best of the best, so why bother adding more things that are unnecessary?  Gorgeous.

Well kids, I hope you enjoyed my culinary extravaganza of a trip through Campania.  Tomorrow…….PIZZA!

Carla

 

 

Coca de Trempo with Sobrasada, Mahon Cheese and a drizzle of Honey

A few weeks ago I did a post about Coca, which is a Catalan flat bread.  It was so good, that I decided to do another type of Coca, typical from the Island of Mallorca.  This Coca is one of my favorites.  It is very akin to an American Sausage and Peppers Pizza.

All the flavours are there, and more!  Trempo is a salad from Mallorca, that consists of peppers, onions and tomatoes.  And when you have left over, you put it on the coca and bake it.  My dish was by no means original, but it was my variation.  I have to say, though, that the night I made it, one of my guests and friends is from Mallorca, and he gave me the seal of approval.
Chock full of taste, I added three types of peppers, tomatoes, spring onions, black olives and some fennel fronds.  Then, topped it off with Sobrasada, a cured type of sausage from Mallorca as well, is like a very soft chorizo full of paprika, which gives it its distinctive red color.  It is so tasty, spread on bread, with some honey, or topped with cheese.  So I combined all these flavours to make this Coca.  And I had all my Spanish friends moaning in delight, and couple of calls for the recipe!  If you can’t get sobrasada sausage, you can substitute it with some crumbled cured paprika chorizo.
So here’s what you’re going to need:

Coca Dough Recipe

1 green pepper, finely diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 yellow pepper, finely diced

4 spring onions, white parts only, sliced thinly

Olive oil, for cooking

4 medium Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced

1 cup black or green olives, pitted and sliced in half

Fennel fronds from 4 fennel bulbs

Salt and Pepper to taste

200 g Sobrasada Sausage , crumbled

200 g Mahon Cheese, grated (or any type semi firm cheese, like light Cheddar, Jack or Gouda)

Honey, to drizzle over

Make and bake the coca, let cool.  In a large sauté pan, with just a drizzle of olive oil, over high heat, sauté your peppers for just 2 minutes.  Set aside in a bowl.  Add another drizzle of olive oil, and quickly sauté the spring onions for another minute or so.  You want the vegetables barely cooked.  Mix with the peppers.   Mix in the tomatoes, fennel fronds and black olives to your peppers, onion, salt and pepper.  Spread on top of the baked coca dough.

Top with the Sobrasada Sausage, grated Mahon Cheese, and drizzle with honey.  Broil in a 250 C oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Now for the next month, we will be travelling to Pamplona, Bilbao for a Russian/Basque Wedding and San Sebastián.  Then we are off to Naples, Italy for four days, to gorge ourselves with pizza and seafood, then heading home to Miami for 2 weeks to see the family!  I am so excited to post about all the places we eat while travelling and then all the goodies from the USA!  So, if I don’t reply or get in touch with you all in the next couple of weeks as quickly as I do, it’s only because of that.  Happy August Everybody!  Back in Barcelona on the 3rd of September!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Linguine with Clams, Mussels and Cherry Tomatoes

On Saturday night, we had a few friends over for dinner.  One of our friends was here on vacation with her son, and she had mentioned to me that he was really keen on trying seafood from Spain.  So, it was our duty to make this pasta with mussels and clams.  Then our other friend arrived, who is quite a foodie and great cook himself, so we all gathered in the kitchen, and I followed his detailed instructions, because he said he had spent a good deal of time perfecting this dish.  This is the perfect summer pasta dish, easy, delicious and just a little bit spicy!

So, here are his instructions on how to make an amazing Linguine with Cherry tomatoes, clams and mussels!

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg linguine or spaghetti

1kg mussels

1/2 kg clams

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 kg cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup white wine

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 dried chilli peppers

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tbsp of parsley, chopped

Under cold running water, scrub and de-beard the mussels.  In a large stock pot add one tbsp olive oil and the mussels and clams.  Cover and cook over high heat until they open and release their water, about 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid that they released into a small bowl and set aside.  Discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.  Now, take about 10 mussels and clams out of their shells, and reserve.  Discard those shells, and keep the rest of them in their shells.

To a large sauté pan, add the rest of the olive oil, garlic, chilli pepper and the sea food without their shells.  Saute over medium heat until the garlic is just fragrant.

Now add the wine, and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes more.

When the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes, your reserved clam and mussel juice and the salt.  Cook over low heat until you have a thickened sauce, about 8-10 minutes.  Take off heat while you boil the pasta.  Strain one or two minutes before the time that is on the package directions.

When the pasta has been strained, toss it into the sauce that you reserved, cooking it in with the sauce the last few minutes until al dente.

Add the chopped parsley, fresh pepper and serve.

From my kitchen (and Fernando’s) to yours,

Carla

 

Two “Bean” Salad with Corn, Avocado, Mango and Salsa Verde Vinaigrette

Again, after such a food extravaganza, my body was craving something delicious and healthy.  This Sunday, we had a barbecue at a friends’ house, and I was asked to prepare the side to her ribs.  Corn always comes into my mind, but I also wanted something that was healthy and colorful.  I feel that the more colors you put in a salad, the more nutrients you are giving your body.  I also knew I didn’t want your typical lettuce and tomato salad that is prevalent in almost every menu here.  It’s funny, Spaniards are not big on salads, and it baffles me that the variety of produce that you get here aren’t translated into a cornucopia of a salad bowl.

This “salad” was delicious, full of black beans, chickpeas, corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, mango and then a slightly tangy Salsa Verde (made from tomatillos) vinaigrette, and some fresh cilantro.

Really easy to make, gorgeous to present, and you have a filling, healthy side to any lunch.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6

1 can Black Beans, drained

1 can Chickpeas, drained

1 small can Corn, drained

1 avocado, diced

1 large slice mango, diced

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp salsa verde

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Fresh ground Pepper

Just mix all the ingredients, except for the avocado if you aren’t serving immediately.  When you are ready to serve, then dice and mix in the avocado, if not it gets all brown.  And it’s that easy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla