Air Fried Artichokes With Black Alioli

air-fried artichokes with black garlic alioli mayonnaise

Get yourself an air-frier now, please – they’re amazing: it’s like frying with oil – but without oil!

Ok, don’t want to fork out the best part of a couple of hundred quid just now, stick with conventional oil frying.

We have a group due in a few days for a retreat. Our people seem to love Spanish food. And the Spanish absolutely LOVE  artichokes. This is a simply prepared dish, perfect for tapas or on its own as a starter. Crisp outside, tender to al-dente inside, nothing adulterates the purity of the artichoke bar gentle notes of olive, a hint of lemon and the dark, sweet, velvety richness of its saucy companion.

Black garlic has been heated for many weeks to shed it’s pungent heat in favour of a deep, rounded sweetness with hints of balsamic and licorice (apparently it doesn’t make your breath smell). For this dish I like to mix four cloves of black with one clove of raw for that extra woomph. And making mayonnaise is easy as pie, and you control  not just the quality of the oil but how much – or little- goes in. Continue reading “Air Fried Artichokes With Black Alioli”

Tapas 7: Croquettes, Then And Now

Spanish béchamel-based croquettes

The origin of the croquette is réchauffé (re-heated) food: left overs were given body with mashed root vegetables, pulses, béchamel and other sauces, then breaded and fried or baked till golden crisp.

Depending on the occasion you might opt for unpretentious simplicity or an intense flavour sensation to knock your guests off their chairs in a gustatory rapture . The croquette gives you a lot of creative elbow room.

Continue reading “Tapas 7: Croquettes, Then And Now”

Tapas 6: Spanish Potato And Onion Tortilla

What can I say? Slimming it ain’t. Yet Spaniards enjoy a morsel while managing to stay in second place for life-expectancy and are set to top Japan by 2040. Cast aside your guilts and worries and enjoy a small piece of tortilla.

To onion, or not to onion?

A great debate has been raging in Spain: does the classic tortilla contain onions or not? As long-time winner of the national tortilla contest the Galician municipality of Bentanzos holds the honour of being the nation’s standard-bearer.  The onionists have had it their way for decades. But this year’s winner in Betanzo has finally sided with the non-onionist underdog  in re-defining this Spanish  institution. Continue reading “Tapas 6: Spanish Potato And Onion Tortilla”

Tapas 5: Spanish Tortilla With Black Cabbage

spanish tortilla or frittata

I’m always amazed at how my French friends are able to rustle up a pot of onion soup complete with cheesy croutons, or a perfect spinach quiche in the mere twinkling of an eye. Or the Italians’ flair for putting pasta with a sauce unknown outside their village under your nose in little more than time it takes to boil a kettle.

The gift of the Spaniard is for the tortilla. We can make tortilla out of anything  –  if you can eat it, we can tortilla it. Continue reading “Tapas 5: Spanish Tortilla With Black Cabbage”

Tapas 4: Zanahorias Aliñás: Carrots in Adobo Dressing

carrots "aliñadas" in adobo

This aromatic dish from Cádiz in southern Andalucía is the  simplest of dishes:  lightly steamed carrots steeped in a classic Spanish “adobo” dressing of

  • good sherry vinegar, oregan, paprika, garlic and salt

Simple it may be, but it’s big in flavour and sits perfectly with the tapas philosophy – simply prepared, let the ingredients do the talking
Continue reading “Tapas 4: Zanahorias Aliñás: Carrots in Adobo Dressing”