We’re sort of settling into a new routine here: Fridays have become our designated night to explore area restaurants so weekends can be spent cooking at home and taking advantage of all of this gorgeous natural light that we have in our new place. We’ve already dabbled in American, Italian and Mexican fare with varied results, but one place we have yet to go to is the Stamford outpost of Barcelona Wine Bar. You know–that place whose cookbook we write about on a fairly regular basis? We live within a very easy walking distance (it’s shorter to walk there than it is to walk to Havana Central on the West End from our old apartment) but I’ve resisted going there because a.) it’s not going to be a cheap tab and b.) I prefer to go there feeling and looking more fabulous than I usually do after hoofing it back from the train station on a warm Friday night.
We’ll rectify all of this soon, but in the meantime we’re mining the cookbook for gold. And the above recipe–blood sausage, caramelized onions, bread (and our addition of chorizo) is golden. Much like the caramelized onions.
Their preparation was a bit unconventional: start the onions on the stove, then toss them in the oven to get golden brown and delicious (though Michael did forget about them and they got ever-so-slightly charred). Meanwhile–reduce some balsamic vinegar in a saucier by half and drizzle it over slices of bread that have the onions, morcilla and chorizos stacked onto it and you’re set. It worked well with all of the other dishes going on that night, including longtime favorite Wild Mushrooms with Herbed Goat Cheese which feels less like a tapa sometime and more like an easy mushroom ragu. Seriously–the next time we make it I am making a crapload of toasted fideos to mix into it because it would be absolutely amazing as a pasta dish. I’ve actually mixed in the leftovers with fresh pasta in the past and it was so, so delicious–it reminded me of the tiny Italian place near Broadway and La Salle that we went to for my birthday that served something similar.
Also: in totally unsurprising news, I miss New York. I figured it would take a few weeks of no traveling or other onerous tasks to distract me for it to hit me, and lo and behold it has. I think it’s hit Michael a bit too, because when I mentioned I might take my day off on Friday to go into the city, he was quick to offer to come with me on Saturday instead.
One of the reasons why I miss New York? I can’t find fresh anchovies anywhere outside of Eataly, and carting a bunch of them out of the city on the train seems like it would be a much bigger production than just hopping on the R or N to Times Square and transferring to a 1 and having them in our fridge in a matter of a half hour or so. This preoccupation with them stems from seeing all of these delicious-sounding recipes in The Book of Tapas that call for those guys fresh rather than salted or pickled. I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and give one of them a try using the rest of a jar of Ortiz anchovies (some of the best salted ones you can get on the market) that are fried in olive oil with some garlic slices and a chile, and just like that most of the melted into the oil in that way TV chefs tell you they do in order to not scare you off using anchovies in recipes. A few managed to not completely fall apart so I could photograph them and we could actually eat them, and while the results were good, they were also really intense. Fresh anchovies aren’t quite as pungent as the preserved ones, so they don’t make everything quite so intensely fish-flavored when cooked, and I can see how that would work really well with the chile and garlic here.
Maybe it’s time to start looking at not-enormous coolers/insulated bags so I can give this a try in the way it was intended. Or we could try it with some boquerones or alici to see if they hold up to the oil any more successfully. Either way–the recipe is too easy and simple not to try again, and once we figure out a way that doesn’t require going to the one store in New York that carries them fresh, we’ll share it here.