Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spanish traditions & recipes

- Frank Camorra & Richard Cornish
- Murdoch Books – NZ$69.99

Frank Camorra is the chef/restaurateur at Melbourne’s greatly acclaimed Movida Restaurant, tapas bar extraordinaire.
A year ago he returned to his native Spain and this chunky and most appealing hardcover book is the result.

It is filled with delicious recipes, many of them astonishingly simple and yet deliciously tasty. I’ll include two examples I made last weekend that the publishers have kindly given me permission to reproduce. This is a knockout of a cookbook which also provides a look at Spain and its restaurants that you would not normally see as a tourist.
Read this book, make some recipes, be enchanted by Spain and delighted by her food.

Ensalada de tomate
This is a stunningly simple but elegant tomato salad served
in bars in AN dalusia. it requires only the best tomatoes
and the finest dried oregano you can find — home-grown
is good, but the dried oregano available in Mediterranean
delis also has great flavour. The oregano should be ground
into a dust so that it doesn’t change the texture of the
tomatoes, just the flavour. To do this I recommend using a
spice grinder or small domestic coffee grinder. In the bars
of Anadalusia this recipe is made to order and its sharpness
makes a great foil to the oil in the deep-fried dishes. I let it
rest for a while, to allow the flavours to marry.

6 Medias Raciones
8 full-flavoured tomatoes, such as
beefsteak or black Russian
1/2 teaspoon dried, powdered oregano
(see above)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus extra,
to sprinkle
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons best-quality white
wine vinegar
If you have thick-skinned tomatoes, such as those generally sold in
supermarkets, peel them by scoring the base with a sharp knife and
placing them in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with
a slotted spoon, refresh in iced water, and when cool enough to handle,
peel away the skins.
Cut the tomatoes into slices 5 mm ( 1/4 inch) thick. Arrange them on a
large serving plate and sprinkle with the oregano powder.
Place the garlic on a chopping board and crush the cloves by pressing
down with the flat side of a large knife. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over
the garlic, then pound together, using the flat side of the knife again, until a
smooth paste forms. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil.
Cover the tomato slices with the onion slices, then sprinkle with some
more sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with the
vinegar, then the olive oil and garlic mixture. Cover and leave to stand at
room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavours to mingle.

puerros cocidos
The aroma of slow-cooked leeks filled the entire town
square. Following the rich smell led me to the almost
hidden kitchen of Tito Robledo, chef and owner of Las
Petronilas in Miranda del Castañar. His philosophy is
to embrace the simple things in life and make the most
of them. Every day a handful of locals wander into his
small restaurant and lay bunches of vegetables from
their huerta, wrapp ed in newspaper, on his bar. The day
before we arrived an old couple had sold him some of their
excess leeks: small, pale, tight and firm. These he cooked
in a simple stock and served lukewarm. Their aroma was
rich and enticing, the outer leaves soft and silky and the
inner core cooked to a butt er-like consistency. It ’s hard
to get such perfect leeks, but you can make this dish to a
similar quality by choosing the smallest, tightest leeks
in the market.

Slow-cooked buttery leeks
Cut the green tops off the leeks and discard or use for stock.
Halve the leeks crossways and remove a few of the tough outer layers.
Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned, then add
the bay leaves and the leeks in a single layer.
Add the wine, butter, a pinch of sea salt flakes and enough warm water
to almost cover the leeks. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil.

As soon as the liquid comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover
and cook for 45–60 minutes, or until the leek centres are very soft when
pierced with a skewer. Carefully remove the leeks from the liquid and set
aside to cool.

Meanwhile, simmer the poaching liquid over high heat for 10 minutes,
or until reduced by two-thirds.
Remove and discard the outer few layers of the leeks and arrange the
stalks on a warm serving plate. Pour over most of the sauce, then sprinkle
with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a little
extra virgin olive oil and serve warm.

4 medias raciones
6 small leeks, roots trimmed
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz/ 1/3 cup) olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
5 bay leaves
150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine
80 g (2 3/4 oz) butter
a pinch of sea salt flakes
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

The superb photography in Movida Rustica is by Alan Benson.

4 comments: said...

Yum - visited Movida by a stroke of good fortune (at that stage the waiting time for a table booking was MONTHS) but we arrived in Melbourne and friends had a table already booked for us. Thanks for the recipes Graham, now I just have to wait for those little yellow flowers in my garden hanging off those un-pruned tomato plants, to turn into something resembling tomatoes.

Bookman Beattie said...

That tomato salad is such a simple recipe but the end result is surprisingly different to the tomato sald I normally make. I have made it three times in the last week.
Put your name down for this book at your local library is my suggestion.

Rachael said...

Ha ha Maggie, I also got into Movida by chance - I wonder if the month long waiting list is a myth? We turned up at 11.30 for lunch and were given a high table to perch at. It was superb.

Sean said...

That tomato salad sounds delicious