Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Artisanal Snacking a la Española

Not sure if that title is grammatically correct so native Spanish speakers feel free to call me out. But let's focus first on the delectable dish that is the star of this week's Artisanal Snacking post, straight from a tome that is the cooking equivalent of the bible within the culinary church that is my kitchen: Classic Spanish Cooking by Elisabeth Luard. It is chock-full of recipes that are waaaayyy off the beaten path - delightfully rustic, pastoral, countrified dishes that are the foundation of authentic Spanish cuisine, as discovered by Luard in the many years she spent living in and traveling across the Spanish countryside.

I won't lie - as much as I love the book I will likely never cook half the recipes that are in it, mostly due to the fact that they involve ingredients that I don't think I could handle "handling" in the kitchen: pigeon, chicken livers, tripe, oxtail...(gulp). But I've been cooking and eating my way through the "safe" half of the book with the utmost zeal, and there is one recipe in particular that I keep going back to, each time making it more spicy and pungent. It's almost as though I'm in a competition with myself each time I prepare it, asking "do I dare add more garlic/onions/pepper/sherry?" The answer is always a resounding, "um, yeah....duh." That is how the "kamikaze" version of this recipe was born.

Enough chit-chat. Here is the straight-up recipe for "Ensalada de mariscos" (seafood salad) from the book, followed by my modified "kamikaze" version that should only be undertaken by those who really love garlic and onion-y flavors (and don't mind reeking of it for days after). Prep directions for both are the same. Buen apetito!

Ensalada de mariscos:
1lb mixed cooked seafood
3 scallions or fresh green onions, thickly sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry or white wine vinegar
salt and freshly milled black pepper

"Kamikaze" ensalada de mariscos:
1lb cooked shrimp
1 entire bunch of green onions, thinly sliced and
chopped a bit, so as to further release its pungent, onion-y aroma
1 red and green bell pepper, seeded and diced
6-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin is best)
2-3 tbsp sherry
sea salt and fresh black pepper

1. Pick over seafood and make sure all pieces are more or less the same size. Toss with the rest of the ingredients.
2. Leave the seafood salad in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
3. Serve with fresh bread or (my favorite) water crackers


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