Fried anchovies – not for the squeamish

WARNING – IF YOU DON’T LIKE PHOTOS WITH BLOOD AND GUTS PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS POST

I often get the impression that people don’t eat fish more because they are not sure how to prepare them, so here we are going to show a step by step method for preparing anchovies to be shallow fried.

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First wash your fish and pat them dry

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Now cut off the heads and pull out the innards

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Spinkle with a light layer of salt to absorb moisture, dip them in flour & shallow fry in olive oil

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Serve with a slice of lemon, some lettuce, bread and a glass of white wine. Simple and great food.

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Faves a la Catalana

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This is Mediterranean cooking at its simple best. Fresh, seasonal ingredients and good quality olive oil – nothing more, nothing less. This is the meatless version of the classical Catalan dish that I usually make. The traditional dish usually has slices of botifarra (Catalan blood sausage) and maybe botifarra blanca (white Catalan sausage). The most important thing about this recipe, and all seasonal cooking, is that the ingredients are as fresh as possible.

Ingredients

500g broad beans (preferably in their pods)
small onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 ripe tomotoes
sprig of fresh mint
sprig of fresh thyme
half a bay leaf
glass of anis
salt & black pepper

Shell the broad beans (if you’ve got kids, get them to do this and they are more likely to eat the dish). Finely chop the onion and slOOwly sweat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan with the diced garlic. Add the herbs and then the tomatoes – without skin or pips (to remove the skin, make a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes, put them in boiling water and in water with ice cubes. The skin will then come off easily.)

When the liquid from the tomotoes has evaporated, add the beans, a little water and the anis. Season and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes. If using sausage, add after 15 minutes and cook around 5 minutes .

Serve with bread to mop up the juices.

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Spanish food event in Johannesburg

The Slow Food Johannesburg Convivium are holding a Spanish food event on May 6th with Spanish food, wines and exhibitions.
For all the details and an excellent summary of Spanish cuisine, check out the event page here

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calçot sauce recipe

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Calçots are a member of the onion family, typically grown around the town of Valls in Catalunya, At this time of the year the calçotada is a typical event in which family and friends get together to celebrate this glorious vegetable. Around 25 calçots per person are slowly grilled on a barbecue; when they are soft, the outer charred layers are peeled off and the white part is dipped in a romesco sauce and then bitten off the green part and eaten. A calçotada is a messy business and the participants usually wear bibs and traditionally swill wine from the typical Catalan drinking vessel, the porró.

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As you can see, calçots are usually cooked on a barbecue/grill. First clean off the outer layers and then grill them slowly to let all of that sweet taste flow.

You need to get on with your sauce before lighting up the fire and then let it sit. This recipe is by Carme Vidal who was born and brought up in Valls and it’s the best one I’ve ever tried. Remember that the quantities are for a large group and adjust them accordingly.

Ingredients:


1 mature tomato per person.
100 grams of toasted almonds for each 3 people
1 entire bulb of garlic for each 2 people.
1 “nyora”(type of dried pepper) for each 2 people.
1 litre of olive oil for each 10 people.
A little parsley, vinegar, salt, a small chili (optional)

Blacken the tomatoes and garlic over the flames (not embers), make sure that the flame isn’t too “live” as they need to be cooked.
Scald the “nyoras”in boiling water .
Crush or blend the almonds with the parsley and the chili (if you want a spicy sauce). Then mix in the peeled tomatoes and garlic and the pulp of the nyoras (discarding the seeds). The sauce is made by slowly stirring in the olive oil. Add salt and vinegar to taste.

If you can’t find nyoras, Janet Mendel, in her book “Cooking in Spain”, suggests substituting them with paprika . This sauce is fantastic with any type of grilled vegetables, meat, poultry or fish. It is an important part of the Xato salad.

When the calçots are ready, peel off the charred outer layers and dip into the sauce and eat. Slurping and stains are expected. The calçotada is such an important tradition in Catalunya that most of the political parties were obliged to partake as part of their general election campaigns last weekend, with the socialist party even sporting campaign bibs…

salsa from Valls

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“Albondigas de relleno”

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On Jan 6th (King’s Day in Spain) we were making a roasted chicken with stuffing. As usual we made too much stuffing mix and didn’t what to do with the excess. My suegra (mother in law) came up with the idea to make albondigas (“meat”balls) so she beat an egg, rolled small balls of the stuffing into it, rolled them in flour and deep-fried them in a wok with vegetable oil.

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They were fantastic. I can’t give you the exact portions of the ingredients because we’d already stuffed the chicken so here are the original ingredients for the stuffing – make as many as you want, but be careful as they’re addictive.

Ingredients:

100g chopped apple
2 large onions
200g pitted prunes
15g butter
125ml olive oil
2.5 cups of breadcrumbs
4tbls parsley
4tbls sage
2tbls rosemary
2tbls thyme
salt & black pepper

Finely chop the onions & cook in the oil & butter until translucent. Meanwhile chop the prunes and finely chop all the fresh herbs.
When the onions are ready, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. If the stuffing doesn’t hold together when you take a handfull, add warm oil or butter. If you leave out the butter,and maybe add a little more olive oil, you have a vegan dish.

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Pa amb tomàquet

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Ingredientes:
Pan de payés cortado a rebanadas gruesas
Tomates maduros
Aceite de oliva y Sal

Lavar y cortar los tomates por la mitad. Es imprescindible que los tomates estén bastante maduros para que saquen todo su jugo. Frotar una rebanada con el tomate y echar un chorrito de aceite y una pizca de sal. Un consejo el pan que sea del día anterior. Si se quiere que quede más crujiente se puede tostar. Sobretodo que el aceite sea de oliva de la mejor calidad, a mi me gusta mucho el de la aceituna arbequina, y ahora Bon profit

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