|Ajoblanco con Uvas (Garlic Soup with Grapes):
Ajoblanco was first created in Almachar, Axarquia by the Moors. The combination of fresh fruit and dried fruit was classical Moorish culinary practice and became one of the most popular dishes of the time. Ajoblanco remains one of only two white soups worldwide in which no dairy product is used.
3/4 cup blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
4 cups ice water
7 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut in cubes
1 & 1/2 cups seedless green grapes
1) Grind almonds, 2 garlic cloves and salt to a fine consistency in a processor or blender.
2) Soak stale bread in 1 cup of ice water then squeeze to extract moisture. Add the bread to the processor.
3) With processor running, add 6 tablespoons of oil and one cup of ice water slowly in a steady stream.
4) Add vinegars and mix on high speed for 2 minutes.
5) Pour into a bowl. Add remaining water and mix well. Adjust seasonings with salt and vinegar. Chill for up to 6 hours.
6) Heat butter and remaining oil in a pan.
7) Crush remaining garlic clove and add to pan with bread cubes, tossing to coat.
8) Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes or until cubes are golden.
9) Serve soup ice cold, garnished with croutons and grapes.
|Choto a la Cazadora (Kid in Garlic & Almond Sauce):
I was dubious about including a recipe which uses young goat as its main ingredient! Never-the-less it is a very popular meat in Axarquia and throughout Andalucia and, once tried, it is also enjoyed by most of us foreigners. The recipe also uses almonds which are plentiful in the area and are fundamental to many Spanish dishes.
2kg kid, cut into pieces
Kid's or lamb's liver
150ml olive oil
125g stale bread, crusts removed
125g blanched almonds, peeled
6 garlic cloves
575ml dry white wine
1) Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the liver until cooked through. Remove from pan and place to one side.
2) Fry the bread, then the almonds, then the garlic using the same oil. Place aside with the liver.
3) Fry the pieces of kid until browned. sprinkle with salt.
4) Add the wine and enough water to cover. Simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes until tender.
5) Liquidise the liver, bread, almonds and garlic to a fine paste. Add to the meat. The sauce will now thicken. water may be added to thin if desired. Cook for a further 10 minutes before serving.
Churros are a simple form of fritters. They are eaten for breakfast with milky coffee or thick hot chocolate. Many Spanish families have a churreras machine, which are bought from ironmongers and are inexpensive.
Makes approx. 32 - Serves 4
275g plain flour
1) Sift the flour and salt together.
2) Bring the water to the boil and add the flour. Stir briskly over the heat until the flour has been incorporated into a stiff, sticky dough. Leave to cool a little.
3) While still warm use a strong piping bag with a narrow, fluted nozzle. Pipe out into 10cm lengths.
4) Fry in batches in very hot oil until brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and eat.
|Cordero Asado al Horno (Roast Marinated Lamb):
1.5 kg leg of lamb
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
40ml parsley, chopped
10ml dried oregano
60ml olive oil
1) Pound the garlic to a paste with the salt. Add the parsley and oregano and pound to a thick puree.
2) Spread the mixture over the lamb and leave to absorb the flavours for 3 to 4 hours.
3) Place the lamb in a roasting tray and pour the olive oil over. Roast in an oven preheated to 200C/gas 6 until done to personal liking, basting frequently. 20 minutes per half kilo should give pink meat with an extra half an hour for well done. Add the brandy to the juices 15 minutes before the lamb is ready.
4) Let the lamb rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with juices.
|Estofado de Toro (Beef Stew):
1 kg stewing beef (shoulder, shin or shank), diced
75 ml olive oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled
2 onions, chopped
350g carrots, sliced
40ml wine vinegar
500ml red wine
1) Fry the beef in oil until browned all over. Transfer to a casserole dish.
2) Fry the garlic cloves, onion and carrots in the remaining oil until they have softened. Add them to the meat.
3) Add the vinegar, wine, bay leaf, nutmeg and cinnamon with enough water or stock to cover. Season lightly.
4) Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours until the beef is tender. The cooking juices can be reduced if necessary.
|Gambas al Pil-Pil (Prawns Pil-Pil):
The combination of spices and prawns are typical of many cuisines throughout the world. This recipe is a classic and traditional Andalucian dish.
1 cup good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 chicken stock cube
3 bay leaves
3 dried red chillies
1 glass white wine
1) Season the prawns with salt.
2) Using a medium sized earthenware dish, heat the olive oil.
3) Add garlic, bay leaves and chillies, stirring carefully over a medium heat.
4) At the moment when the garlic begins to turn brown add the prawns.
5) Increase the heat and add the paprika and stock cube. Stir continuously until the prawns are cooked (about 2-3 minutes).
6) Add the wine and remove from heat when simmering begins.
7) Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread.
|Guisado Mediterraneo (Mediterranean Fish Stew):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed & chopped
8 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 cups water
4 fish fillets
Salt & pepper
1) Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat and add onions, celery and carrot.
2) Cook, whilst stirring, until thoroughly tender - about 10-15 minutes.
3) Stir in the anchovies and tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is aromatic. Stir often.
4) Stir in the wine, raise the heat and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring often.
5) Add the water and lower heat to simmer.
6) Add salt to taste and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring often.
7) Stir in fish and optional saffron and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. The fish should be cooked through. Add pepper and adjust salt.
|Lombarda Navidena (Christmas Red Cabbage):
900g red cabbage, shredded
40ml olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 chorizo, skinned and crumbled
115g salted belly pork, diced small
40ml wine vinegar
1) Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.
2) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic, chorizo and pork until the garlic and pork start to brown. Add the cabbage and stir well. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not add salt.
3) Add the vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes. The cabbage should be creamy and very tender.
|Merluza la Sidra (Hake in Cider):
4 large potatoes, peeled & sliced
4 hake fillets
5oz olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
8fl oz cider
1) Dry the fish and potatoes. Season both with salt.
2) Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic and potatoes. Cook until golden brown.
3) Pour off excess oil.
4) Add the paprika, bay leaf and cider. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes until incorporated.
5) Add the fish, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes.
6) Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Spain's most famous dish often includes seafood and/or chicken in Andalucia. On the Costa del Sol, peas, clams, mussels, prawns, red peppers and lemon are a popular combination. Paella takes its name from the wide, two-handled metal pan in which it is cooked - best on an outdoor wood fire - and served. The rice absorbs the juices of the other ingredients as it simmers and saffron or paprika is used to obtain the traditional yellow colour.
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
500g rabbit or chicken, cut roughly
125g pork, cubed
1 chorizo sausage or salami, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
150g prawns, peeled
250g unpeeled prawns
650ml chicken or seafood stock
250g short grain white rice
Half teaspoon saffron threads or paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Several hours prior to cooking, put the unpeeled prawns, mussels and clams in cold water with a handful of porridge oats to flush out.
2) Fry the onion, garlic and red pepper in olive oil until soft.
3) Add the tomatos and simmer for 5 minutes.
4) Take the mixture out of the pan and put to one side. Fry the rabbit/chicken and pork until half cooked.
5) Add the onion/tomato mix, sausage slices, stock, rice and saffron. Cook slowly with a lid for 20 minutes stirring as little as possible.
6) Meanwhile, cook the shellfish quickly in boiling water, removing when they open. The mussel shells may be kept as garnish.
7) After 10 minutes add the peeled prawns and peas to the paella.
8) After another 5 minutes add the cooked shellfish and simmer for 5 minutes.
9) Garnish with unpeeled prawns, mussel shells & lemon wedges. Serve.
|Pollo a la Chilindron (Fried Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce):
1.5kg chicken, cut into 8-12 pieces
100ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
400g onion, chopped
200g thick sliced serrano ham, diced small
450g red peppers, peeled and chopped
1kg tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
1) Heat the oil with the garlic in a large frying pan.
2) When the garlic starts to colour, season the chicken pieces and add to the pan. Brown well.
3) Add the chopped onion and ham, mix well and soften thoroughly over a medium heat. Turn the chicken occasionally.
4) When the onion is tender add the peppers and tomatoes and stir well. Leave uncovered to simmer. Stir occasionally as the sauce reduces.
5) The sauce is ready when very thick and concentrated and the oil has separated from it. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
|Sardinas al Espeto (Sardines on a Spit):
Fresh sardines hot and crusty from the espeto, which is a split and sharpened piece of bamboo cane passed through several sardines to serve as a skewer. This is usually cooked on the beach where bamboo cane is plentiful.
A fire is lit in a mound of sand and burned down to embers. The espetos are set in the sand at an angle to the fire so that the sardines cook in the heat but not the smoke, and they are turned at half-time. The sardines have been previously covered in coarse salt but neither gutted nor cleaned.
On eating the sardines the salty scales are first peeled off and neither lemon nor vinegar is added. Wine and salad are the usual accompaniments.
|Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelette):
The Spanish omelette tastes better eaten warm or cold than hot and can be taken on picnics.
4 large eggs, beaten
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dices
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
1) Mix the potatoes and onion together and season with salt.
2) Heat about 5cm of olive oil in a frying pan and add the potatoes and onion. There should be enough oil to just cover them. Cook over a lively heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are brown and crisp and the onions have started to colour. Empty into a sieve over a bowl and let them drain.
3) Add the potatoes and onion to the beaten eggs while still warm. A little extra salt may be added.
4) In a frying pan heat a little of the previously used oil. When hot pour in the egg mixture. Level it out and leave on a medium heat until a crust forms underneath. Shake the pan occasionally so that it doesn't stick.
5) After 5 about minutes turn the omelette, making sure it moves freely in the pan. This can be easily done with the help of an inverted plate over the pan.
6) With a little more oil in the pan, leave for a few minutes more, turning onto a plate when finished.