Pre-Season Testing 2018

F1 is coming back soooooon!

I usually ignore most of the run up to a new season of Formula 1. But this year I am into all the buzz, watching as teams unveil their new cars, drivers get ready for the new season, and testing reveals the potential speed and capabilities of the new cars. I guess I'm turning into some kind of fan or something... 

So I'm running with it and we're starting early this year with recipes for Pre-Season testing! Testing this year, as in the past, will be in Barcelona at the Circuit de Barcelona- Catalunya. This gives me a perfect opportunity to use my new tome: The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea. Plenty of dishes inspired by Catalonian cuisine perfect for a little pre-season tastiness! 

Since the teams are testing out new features and trying new things, I thought maybe this was a good time for me to do the same. For this season my hope to is to share with you the recipes I plan to make in advance so that, if you so wish, you can cook along! Or if you just want to ogle the cooked dishes and see recipes you can always ignore post one and go straight for the good stuff by checking out post two or going to the Recipes section of the website. 

So, in that theme, today I share with you my (potentially/ as usual) over-ambitious plans for the pre-testing in Spain. The tests last two weeks so I am going to try to make as many of the following dishes as I can in that time! 


A little more F1 fandom for a moment here, the 2018 car launch and pre-season testing schedule is available on the Formula1 official site. Here are a few of the beauties that have already been released. So excited!! 

Here we go! Look for updates including any recipe notes and all the pictures in a couple weeks time! 

All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea


Pa Amb Tomaquet (Toasted Bread Rubbed with Tomato and Olive Oil)

6 slices white country-style bread
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tomatoes, halved cross-wise

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with olive oil on both sides.
3. Rub each slice with the cut side of the tomato half, pressing to squeeze some of the pulp and seeds on the bread. Sprinkle the tomato with salt. Serve while the bread is still warm and crisp. 

Arroz con Cebolla Confitada (rice with caramelized onion)

½ pound Manila or small littleneck clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ cup olive oil
½ small chicken, about 1 ½ pounds, cut into small pieces
2 yellow onions, grated
1 clove garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup sweet vermouth
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
4 cups Fish Stock
2 tomatoes, halved crosswise, grated on the large holes of a handheld grater,skins discarded
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón
Pinch of saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
¼ pound squid, about 7 inches long, cleaned and with bodies cut into rings and tentacles halved if large
2 cups Spanish rice
½ pound medium shrimp 

1. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells.

2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, vermouth, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are caramelized.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer.

5. When the onions are ready, add the tomatoes, pimentón, and saffron to the pan and mix well. Add the squid, decrease the heat to medium, and stir briefly to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a large (about 15-inch) cazuela (I'm planning to use a dutch oven), place over high heat, add the chicken pieces and rice, and stir to combine. Pour in the hot stock and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.

6. Drain the clams. Place the clams and the shrimp on top of the rice, and place the cazuela in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed, the rice will be tender, the clams will have opened, and the shrimp will turn pink.

7. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Discard any clams that failed to open and serve.


Acelgas Rehogadas con Pasas y Pinones (Sauteed Swiss chard con pasas y pinones)

2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 pounds Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water to cover for 1 hour to soften, and drained

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain the chard in a colander, pressing on it firmly to remove any excess liquid.

2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the pine nuts, stir well, add the Swiss chard and raisins, mix well. Cook briefly, stirring, until all ingredients are heated through.

3. Serve immediately, or remove from heat, set aside, and reheat when ready to eat.


Because no meal is complete without dessert, I found a cake that sounded irresistible, and really it's not my fault, they said I needed to make ice cream to go with it :) 

Majorcan Almond Cake

Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for preparing pan
8 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely ground blanched almonds

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shake off any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and holding the pan about 6 inches above the counter, drop the pan onto the counter. This simple dropping action “shocks” the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan.

5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with Almond Ice Cream, if desired.


Almond Ice Cream

1 pound blanched almonds
8 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick

1. In a food processor, very finely grind the almonds. Use the pulse function and watch carefully. You do not want the nuts to release too much oil (otherwise they turn into nut butter). 

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, and half of the almonds. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Decrease high heat to medium and add the rest of the almonds, continuing to stir. As soon as the mixture boils again, remove from the heat and let cool completely. 

3. Transfer the cooled mixture to an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. 

4. When ready to serve, remove from freezer about 20 minutes in advance to allow to soften slightly. 


*Leave a comment to let me know if you'll try any of these Catalonian dishes!*