Pre-Season Testing - Tapas y Rioja

After week two of testing, I am more excited than ever for the upcoming season. I’m off to a slow start just given how busy life is these days, but I was inspired by a co-worker to get back on the blog bandwagon and get ya’ll some content! Shout out to you Mike!

So here goes… We had a tapas night to celebrate the start of Pre-Season Testing. Rachel Brooks from SkySports signed off night one with “We’re off to go have some tapas and rioja!” and lo and behold, that was what graced our table too! Always nice to know we are in good company.

I delved into two new cookbooks for this tapas menu. Cooking Spanish by John Newton, where I found a quick and simple Clams in White Wine sauce, I also found a recipe for mushroom croquettes which sounds amazing, but not quite as quick or simple. That is something to look forward to for next time! The other two recipes are from Pintxos by Gerad Hirigoyen; White Bean Salad with Apple, Manchego, and Avocado, so bright, more complex than the ingredients appear, and a great foil to the next item on the list: sausage and pepper pintxo (mini skewers). While reading this lovely little volume I discovered the author/chefs have two restaurants in San Francisco! We will definitely be checking them out sometime soon.

This spread came together pretty quickly and hit all the right buttons for a little bit of finger food, a little bit of crusty bread to sop up some saucy stuff, and some veggies strewn throughout. A nice glass of Spanish Rioja topped off the evening perfectly.

With week two of testing done and dusted it is only two more weeks of waiting and then F1 is back!!

Tapas y Rioja

Chili Marinated Olives

Spanish Marinated Olives

Adapted from Cooking Spanish by John Newton
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cured black olives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, move to sterile mason jar. Seal and let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.  

Clams with White Wine

Clams with White Wine

Adapted from Cooking Spanish by John Newton

 Serves 4

2 lbs clams
2 large tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 teaspoons chopped parsley
a pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup dry white wine

 Country bread, for serving


Soak the clams in slated water for 1 hour to release any grit. Rinse under running water and discard any open clams.

 Cut tomatoes in half, de-seed, then chop finely. Heat oil in a large pan and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, Add the parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup water.

 Add the clams and cook, covered, over low hear untul they open (discard any that do not open). Add the wine and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens, gently moving the pan back and forth a few times, do not stir, so as to keep clams in tact.

 Serve immediately with bread.


Sausage and Pepper Skewers

Adapted from Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, Gerad Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss

 Makes 4 skewers

4 pearl onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
4 slices Spanish sausage or 4 cocktail sausages (recommended: cantimpalitos)
4 whole pickled peppers such as pepperoncini (recommended: guindila)
4 small bamboo skewers

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 slices baguette, lightly toasted

To prepare onions:
Have ready a small bowl of ice water. Bring a small saucepan filled with water ro a boil over high heat, add onions, and boil for 1 minute. Drain and plunge into the ice water until cool. Cut off the root ends and slip off the skins.

Rinse the saucepan and return the onions to it along with the butter, sugar, and ½ cup water .Place the pan over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Uncover and boil until the water evaporates. The onions will begin to sizzle in the butter remaining in the pan. Continue to cook, turning the onions as needed, for about 5 minutes, until browned all over. Remove from the heat and keep onions warm.

To prepare sausage:
In the same saucepan over medium heat, sauté the sausages for about 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and fully cooked.

To serve:
Thread 1 sausage slice, 1 onion, and 1 pepper onto each skewer.

Spread a little mayonnaise on each slice of baguette and place skewer on baguette slice. Serve warm.

Sausage, Manchego, and Cherry Pepper Skewers

Pintxo pepper and cheese

4 slices Spanish sausage or 4 cocktail sausages (recommended: cantimpalitos)
4 whole sweet pickled cherry peppers
4 cubes manchego cheese
4 small bamboo skewers

To serve:
Thread 1 sausage slice, 1 cube of cheese, and 1 pepper onto each skewer.

White bean salad

White Bean Salad with Manchego, Avocado, Apple, and Meyer Lemon

From Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, Gerad Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss

 Serves 4-6 as a side 

1 large avocado, diced
1 large tart apple, diced
1 ½ cups cooked small white beans (canned cannellini beans work well)
3 ounces manchego cheese, diced small
¼ cup basil, chiffonade
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
¼ cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the avocado, apple, beans, cheese, basil, and pine nuts and toss gently with the beans until combined. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and toss with bean mixture.

Serve within 30 minutes of mixing to prevent apples and avocado from oxidizing.