How can I get a taste of Spain in home cooking? | food

What’s the secret to great Spanish cooking?
Neal, Richmond

To read a list of Spanish staples you feel hungry right away. Extra virgin olive oil, salt, and sherry vinegar, notes Andalusian chef Dani Garcia of Bibo in London, make excellent gazpacho sauce, and they’re also the foundational trio of Spanish cuisine. add to it aromatic substances: white onions (for sweetness), a lot of garlic, Pepper (smoked paprika) and saffron, both in moderation.

In terms of dry goods, Monica Linton, founder of Spanish delicatessen and tapas bar Brindissa, stocks her shelves with cans of tuna (for leaf salads or beans), anchovies (as tapas and stews), and oysters. Dry, but also keeps jars of cooked beans in for emergencies. She always recommends having plenty of nuts (from a Mediterranean source) on hand—walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and maracon almonds—to top salads, rice dishes, vegetables, desserts, you name it.

Chef/owner of Paco Tapas and Casamia in Bristol, and Executive Chef at Decimo in London, Peter Sanchez Iglesias, has two top tips. for occasion tomato breadSimply toast the bread, rub it with garlic and squeeze the tomatoes instead of slicing them before seasoning them with olive oil and salt. And for easy roasting of red pepper, heat it directly over the flame, wrap it and let it sweat for 10 minutes: the peel will then simply fall off, without the need to peel it.

a SofritoAnd, in the meantime, it is the basic rule of many Spanish meals. In Linton’s True Food of Spain, she cautions that it’s not a quick fix, nor does she recommend using out-of-season tomatoes. Alternatively, make a large summer surplus and store in sterilized jars. To prepare 600 g, heat 50 ml of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add a large sweet white onion, cut into small cubes, and cook gently for at least 30 minutes, until soft but not colored. Grate 1 kg of fresh tomatoes and cook over very low heat (use a spreader, if you have one), stirring regularly, for at least 30-40 minutes and up to three hours, until you get a deep, thick red sauce. Season with sugar and salt to taste, sieve and bottle, or freeze, or refrigerate and use within a few days.

For Paco Martin Romano, chef at Tapa in Edinburgh, Spanish sauce is another basic rule. In good olive oil, fry chopped onions, mushrooms and garlic, add a little Spanish brandy, then stir in a little flour to make a roux. Top with red wine and meat broth (or white wine with no mushrooms if you’re using the sauce with fish), reduce, and blend smoothly; A vegan version is also perfectly acceptable. Use it with grilled meat and as a base for paella and all kinds of other rice dishes.

Romano also calls the third base sauce, which is also well suited to rice, Brinewhich consists of garlic, parsley and grated tomatoes with rehydration Ms Pepper for an extra punch. For the paella, he slowly cooks the vegetables (bell peppers of all colors, onions all at once, but cooks to get rid of all the water), then adds rice and toast, stirring constantly, before flipping in the salmoreta. It is advised to add two cups of broth for each cup of rice, and also a little more when adding paprika, he is advised, so that it does not catch and burn.

Where Sofrito drives, minced Finishing: Like pesto, it is used to thicken sauces and stews, as well as to enhance flavours. Ingredients vary, but starch (roasted unsalted nuts, bread or crackers, powder) and aromatic flavors (saffron, herbs, pepper, chili, nura pepper, tomato, fresh pepper, garlic, even chocolate) are usually combined with liquid (olive oil), stock, wine).

Mariana Livadetake, a food writer and former chef at Moro and Morito in London, always suggests having some frozen ibérico ham in the freezer and a bottle of Manzanilla in the cupboard: both add great depth to seafood and chorizo ​​dishes, in particular. She also stresses that Spanish cooking is best when it’s simple: high-quality meat or fish, oil, and strong vinegar are often all you need.

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