6.25.11: tapas (chorizos, morcillas, anchovies, and mushrooms)

Chorizos and Morcillas over Caramelized Onions

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.

Wild Mushrooms with Herbed Goat Cheese

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.

Anchovy with Chile and Garlic

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.

  1. We’ve got that book too, but haven’t made something from it yet. We have to say, the Barcelona in Stamford isn’t as good as the rest. We went about a year ago. The sangria was watery and the food wasn’t up to the same level as the Greenwich spot. But, that could have been because it’s new. Don’t know.

    For the real deal, Spanish tapas, try Meigas in Norwalk. I know it’s a bit past Stamford, but it’s real authentic Spanish tapas.

    • Can I say that I searched on your blog for a review and was sad I couldn’t find one? Because I was, so thank you for chiming in. When we go there I’ll let you know how it goes–our knowledge comes from the New Haven location primarily, but we got to sample all of the exec chefs’ work when we went to the JB dinner a few months ago, and to be honest, the only dish I could attribute to one chef was the pork belly because the Greenwich chef explained how they pulled it off.

      As for the cookbook–I heartily recommend giving it a try. But I will email you my favorite recipes.

      Thanks for the reco–in exchange, I will heartily endorse The Book of Tapas, as it’s by the women who also wrote 1080 Recetas, which is widely considered The Silver Spoon of Spanish food. While some of them require some work, there are so many you can envision making quickly behind a bar like it’s no big deal–and many are the best excuse to head down to the city and raid Despana.

  2. That’s so cool that you searched our blog, sorry we haven’t gotten there yet. 🙂 We’ve been to some places so many times that it’s hard to go back when there is so much out there that we haven’t discovered yet. We tend to try the new spots first, but we should definitely do a Tapas Throwdown for Barcelona. 🙂

    Also, thanks for the name of both of those books. I’d love to cook a tapas meal for friends and family one day. I just think that’d be really awesome and fun. We’re actually going to Barcelona soon, so we’ll make sure to have lots of tapas there, too. 🙂

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