Spanish food is known for little plates of delicious tapas, spicy chorizo sausages, hearty bowls of paella, fruity jugs of sangria, hot crispy patatas bravas and cold creamy gazpacho. I’ve been to Spain only once but I’ve eaten Spanish food a few times since, mostly due to the huge popularity of Spanish tapas restaurants. Other than throwing some chorizo onto a pizza, I haven’t really cooked Spanish food at home so I was excited to delve in to the Spanish pages of my ‘Jamie Does…’ cookbook. He includes a section dedicated to tapas with lovely little dishes like croquetas, mini meatballs, blackened padron peppers, manchego, sticky pine nuts and artichokes, griddled asparagus, chorizo and garlic, chorizo and lentils, baby clams, baby squid and smashed chickpeas. There are enough recipes here to put on a tapas party and invite a few friends over to sample all of the delectable morsels of Spanish food, however, I wanted to try something different so I opted not to make tapas. I decided instead to make Jamie’s Nice & Simple Spanish Gazpacho, Moorish Pork Chops and Tinto de Verano Sorbet for a lazy Sunday afternoon dinner.
Nice & Simple Gazpacho
Jamie’s gazpacho is made up of tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and garlic whizzed up in a blender with some soaked day old bread, olive oil, vinegar and seasoning. The essence of gazpacho is that it’s chilled. I have never been crazy about the idea of cold soup and after making my own gazpacho I’m still not enthused. I love a hot hearty bowl of soup. (It must be the Canadian in me). Although I can see why the Spanish would enjoy a cold soup with their climate. It’s a fresh tasting little appetizer.
Moorish Pork Chops
These pork chops are Jamie’s take on Moorish cuisine as the recipe mixes dried fruit (raisins) with meat. The raisins are pounded up in a pestle and mortar with oregano (I used basil as I didn’t have oregano), sherry and olive oil to make a paste that is then stuffed inside a pouch sliced in to each pork chop before they are grilled. The pork chops are served on a fragrant bean stew consisting of rashers (I omitted these), red onion, red pepper, rosemary, bay leaves, butter beans and spinach. The pork tasted delicious with the stuffed seasoning. It really added something to an otherwise plain cut of meat. And the stew was not only delicious, it felt incredibly healthy to eat.
Tinto de Verano Sorbet
This sorbet is like eating a frozen cocktail. To make it you need one-third sugar, one-third Spanish Rioja and one-third fizzy lemonade with the zest and juice of one lemon. It’s simple and easy to throw together. The sugar is boiled with water to make a syrup that is added to the wine, lemonade, lemon juice and lemon zest. Once frozen the sorbet is blitzed in a food processor then served. Delish!