I probably don’t have to tell you that Spain is famous for their “tapas,” (appetizers) but the variety never ceases to amaze me. Many times we make a meal of several different kinds of tapas…especially when going out to local places. I’m particularly lucky, because here, we pretty much have year round outdoor tapas places…what could be better than eating a variety of appies with a view of the beach? Even without the beach, it sounds pretty good. lol The recipes I’m posting today are fairy typical throughout Spain, but remind me particularly of my travels to Madrid…the tapas bars there are unsurpassed. Just amazing. Something else that I loved about Madrid? If you order a beverage, they normally bring a small portion (tapa) of something (free)…be it olives, hazelnuts, bread with a slice of chorizo…whatever they’re serving that day…to eat with your drink. There’s also usually a selection of the day’s tapas in plain view, and more on the menu, which you can order in various serving sizes depending on what you want. We have a definite “tapas culture.” Each region has their own particular additions to it, though several dishes are common throughout the country.
Saffron is one of those ubiquitous ingredients here…like salt and pepper…it’s used very extensively in Spanish cooking. Thankfully the price isn’t as prohibitive here as it is in the States. The price of saffron goes for about $1500 a pound, due to it’s labor intensive harvest and its need for large crop acreage. Saffron is actually the stigma (dried) of crocus flowers, which are hand harvested. If you find it difficult to find saffron, you can omit it.
So, on to the recipes!
1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) pork, cut into fairly small cubes
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons paprika (if you can find spicy, even better)(*for gluten free be sure your brand is certified gf)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (or more to taste)
2-3 tablespoons parsley, chopped (or more to taste)
sea salt to taste
Whisk together marinade ingredients and toss pork in to coat.
Cover and refrigerate several hours, stirring occasionally.
Thread onto skewers and grill over medium coals until just done (if you overcook the pork, it will be tough)…this should take about 5 minutes per side, depending on the size of the pieces of pork.
4 larger potatoes, washed and cut into wedges or cubes (skin on or off according to preference)
oil for frying
1 cup tomato puree
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
tabasco to taste
2 small chili peppers (optional)
mayonnaise or alioli
Heat oil to just below the smoking point.
Fry potatoes in batches until cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
Puree all ingredients and heat to boiling.
Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are finished cooking.
Serve fried potatoes drizzled with tomato sauce and mayo/alioli