Michael didn’t really believe me, I think, when I first mentioned that a storm was coming this weekend (and said storm has since blanketed the Northeast with a sizable amount of snow), but he willingly went along with my plan to stay in on Friday and Saturday and cook anyway. He balked a bit when I came home Thursday night laden with bags of provisions–likely thinking I was going overboard–but lo and behold, my instinct to stock up was right on the nose. That I was also able to get in and out of Fairway despite the fuller-than-usual parking lot was simply a bonus.
So while the snow fell and the wind howled on Friday night, we opened up a bottle of prosecco and got to work on a tapas spread. The one you see above was a bit of a punt. A delicious, delicious, punt.
Originally, the plan was to have some figs with serrano ham, which would be light but still interesting. Alas, fresh figs were not to be found at Fariway Thursday night, and there was no way I was going to spend time waiting in line at the predictably-crowded deli to get ham for dried figs. So I gathered most of the other things I needed instead and then went to the jarred pepper/pickle aisle to see if I could find some guindilla peppers to make some Gildas. Those I couldn’t find, but I did spot several jars of piquillos…and my mind flashed to this tapa from an early episode from Made in Spain:
So back to the cheese counter I went to get some Roncal (a sharp, hard cheese that is kind of like a Parmigiano or a Grana Padano than Manchego is), and I had my third tapa all set to go.
This egg dish was one we originally tried on New Year’s Day for brunch…but it didn’t work out that well on the first attempt. Michael admitted that the pan was too hot when the he added the eggs so some of them browned on contact, so he ended up cooking it for longer as the runny consistency didn’t look right. It was still tasty, but not the dish we were trying to make. This time around I took control of the pan and kept the heat a little lower, and while it might have been a little runnier than some prefer, for us it was out of this world. Chef Andres mentions that this is a tapa that you can find at Bar Pinotxo in La Boqueria, and the desire to try the inspiration is yet one more reason I want to get back to Barcelona as soon as possible.
The bacon-wrapped shrimp didn’t come from any cookbook, and certainly doesn’t count as a traditional tapa, but the shrimp looked good and we haven’t had them in ages. And in retrospect it worked well with the creamy eggs as part of an accidental tapas-for-dinner concept that looks even worse in print than it sounded in my head, so I promise I won’t try to make it happen. We made way more than we needed, of course, but the leftovers were surprisingly tasty the next morning.
The peppers, though? They were utterly fantastic. There’s so little to them: just the peppers, the cheese, and a dressing made from shallots and scallions. I should have sliced the cheese into more uniform pieces to help speed along the melting process as one or two of the peppers fell apart in the pan, but otherwise they came out very well, indeed.
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a recipe by José Andrés. You can find it in full here, exactly as it appears in the companion cookbook for Made in Spain.