Last night at the James Beard Awards, Spaniard José Andrés took home the most coveted title, that of outstanding chef in the nation. The chef and father has five restaurants in Washington DC, one in Los Angeles, and two in Las Vegas. When receiving the award, Andrés said, "food can change the life of people. Use food in the right way." He's not just making waves with his cuisine; he's also using food to promote social change. To learn more about the chef who trained under Spain's famed Ferran Adría, read on.
I love paella but always thought it was a complicated dish to make at home. Recently a friend gave me a paella pan to prove how uncomplicated it is to put together. After my first attempt, I stand corrected: this dish is simple and can be easily made in a large saute pan. Once most of the ingredients are prepped, the scallop paella takes about an hour from start to finish.
The recipe calls for sea scallops, but a cheaper protein like shrimp or mussels would be just as tasty. The paella is perfect, with the essential crunchy crust along the bottom and moist almost-creamy rice on top. I fretted about overcooking the scallops, since they are such a delicate protein, but they were moist and full of flavor, thanks to the green chiles and roasted bell peppers.
If you want to celebrate Spring with a Spanish feast, keep reading for the succulent recipe.
I'm crazy about all things Spanish, so when I come across a restaurant that offers a specialty item from the Iberian peninsula, I have to order it. Such was the case at a recent happy hour at Epic Roasthouse, where I enjoyed a tasty platter of boquerones. Boquerones are fresh white anchovies that are typically marinated in a mixture of salt, water, and vinegar. They are incredibly delicious (especially paired with a cold beer) and when done correctly, don't taste overly fishy. Do you eat them?
Ever since I made cioppino, I've been craving brothy, tomato-based seafood stews. When I saw a recipe for a Catalan one in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine, I had to give it a try. Unlike most variations, which call for canned tomatoes, this one uses the pulp of fresh tomatoes. It makes for a stew that's light in texture and full in flavor. The ingredient list doesn't include capers, but I threw some in for extra salty brininess. At my local market, halibut was expensive, so the fish monger suggested I use a cheaper firm white fish. The results were superb. This is a definite must make for seafood lovers! Check out the recipe now.
One of my favorite Spanish dishes is espinicas con garbanzos, a simple tapa or side that combines two humble ingredients, fresh spinach and garbanzo beans. While it may not seem like an extraordinary meal, I assure you that it's filling, flavorful, and fabulous. The key is in the seasonings: a hand-ground mixture of coriander seed, cumin, paprika, and fried garlic and bread. It's hearty and scrumptious on its own, but it also makes a superb side for roasted fish or chicken. Still want to keep things vegetarian? Top the savory mixture with a fried egg. To learn the easy and delicious method, keep reading.
One might not equate the word "paella" with "easy mealtime fix," but this recipe from former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl will dispel your notions of this Valencian dish being too complicated to make at home.
Eschew unconventional ingredients like rabbits and snails or labor-heavy shellfish like lobster and crab for already-shelled shrimp and quick-cooking clams. Take advantage of frozen peas and rudimentary equipment like a Dutch oven — both things home cooks often already have on hand.
To make the meal simple enough for a weeknight or relaxed Sunday night, keep reading.
In the southern Spanish city of Cordoba, the natives love to eat a dish called flamenquín. This scrumptious specialty consists of long pieces of Serrano ham that's wrapped in pork loin. The whole thing is breaded and deep-fried, then traditionally served with mayonnaise and French fries. It has a hot dog-like shape and is cut into slices to be consumed. Is this an item you'd be interested in trying? Would you order it off a menu?
Source: Flickr User jlastras
This year I was lucky enough to attend the 11th annual Feria de la Tapa in Rota, Spain. The festival took place in the city's main plaza and featured creative bites from nine of Rota's best restaurants. The three-day fair was a competition to see who could make the most innovative and scrumptious tapas. These weren't your typical Spanish mother's tortilla de patatas or gambas al ajillo, they were clever, interesting takes on classics. Here, you'll find a taste of the exciting dishes.
Photo courtesy of Kiam Marcello Junio