More brilliant recipes from Miriam González Durántez…
Welcome to a second helping from Miriam’s book Made in Spain, written to help raise funds for Inspiring Girls, an international campaign that Miriam is launching to get female role models talking to girls all over the world. If you missed last week’s interview with Miriam and our special recipe section, click here. Or to order a back issue (charges apply), go to ocsmedia.net or call 020 7740 0200.
Fideua with squid
This a dish that comes from Valencia; it is essentially a paella made with pasta. It cooks in very little time and is both tasty and nutritious. My children like it with squid as it means they do not need to peel any prawns. Fewer prawns to peel, less mess: yes!
3 tbsp olive oil, plus about 150ml for the pasta
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ green pepper, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato sauce (for my homemade visit you.co.uk or mailonline.co.uk/you) or good quality tomato passata
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)
1 squid, cut into 1.5cm squares
200g angel hair pasta, or vermicelli
150ml fish stock
1 Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a very wide, shallow pan or (ideally) a paella pan. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and let them fry over a low heat for seven to nine minutes until they are soft. Increase the heat to medium, add the tomato sauce and paprika, toss it all well and let it reduce for seven to eight minutes. Then add the squid, toss it all again and let the squid become firm (three minutes at most).
2 Preheat the grill. Heat the 150ml of olive oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add the pasta, in batches of about one-third, and toss it until it gets golden (a couple of minutes). Take the pasta out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put it on kitchen paper to blot off the excess oil. Repeat to gild all the pasta. Add the pasta to the squid pan and stir it in. Pour in the stock (it should not cover the pasta), taste for seasoning, adding salt if you like, then grill for three minutes.
This Spanish classic is a regular at any of my dinners when the weather is properly hot. You can prepare it hours in advance, as it needs to be well chilled. My children love this. It is the easiest way to get them to eat lots of raw vegetables.
1 cucumber, peeled
7 ripe tomatoes
½ green pepper
1 garlic clove
1 glass of good olive oil (about 150ml)
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar, to taste
sea salt, to taste (but remember that tomatoes take a lot of salt)
1 Cut the vegetables in big chunks, put them all in a beaker, add half a glass (about 75ml) of water and blend with a hand-held blender, or a free-standing blender or food processor, until they are liquidised. Add the oil, vinegar and salt and blend again until the oil emulsifies. Push it all through a sieve, cover and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. If it is too thick for you, just add more water.
2 You can serve this with neat little cubes of cucumber, red pepper, hard-boiled egg whites or fried or toasted bread. If the weather is very hot, add some ice cubes before serving it, too
Iberian scrambled eggs
The key to any really good scrambled eggs (whether in this recipe or a plain and unembellished version) is to do the stir, lift and fold movement that is the key to avoiding miserable-looking scrambled eggs. This is how you make a happy pan of scrambled eggs.
3 canned piquillo peppers, cut into strips, plus 1 tbsp of the can juice
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices of Serrano or Parma ham (the ham will be slightly fried, so no need to get an expensive one)
1 tsp chopped parsley leaves
pinch of sea salt (not too much as the ham is salty anyway)
1 Heat a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the piquillo peppers with the 1 tbsp of their liquid. When the liquid has evaporated (one or two minutes), remove them from the pan.
2 Heat the olive oil in the pan, tear the ham slices into strips and add them to the pan with half the parsley. Wait for one minute, then return the peppers to the pan.
3 Lightly beat the eggs, add the salt and pour them into the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon using a stir, lift and fold movement. After a couple of minutes, they are done. Just sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top and eat immediately.
Roast peppers and roast tomatoes
Roast peppers are a fantastic summery dish. They really are the taste of the Mediterranean sun, regardless of whether you eat them in sunny Spain or in the more unpredictable British summer. They are delicious with grilled meat or tuna, fried eggs or just with bread. And if that was not enough, they are also full of vitamin C. It takes a while for children to get used to this flavour, but teaching them to roast vegetables is a very easy thing to do and it is a good way to show them how much flavours can change between raw and roast.
1 Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/ gas 6. Get six big peppers, the bigger the better. Put the peppers in a roasting tin and add a bit of water (half a glass, or about 75ml). Put the tray in the oven and roast the peppers for 35 minutes, then turn them and roast them for another 30 minutes. They should come up rather black.
2 Let them cool down, then peel them into a bowl (this is easier to do if you put them into a plastic bag as they are cooling down). Add 3 tbsp of the liquid that the peppers have produced while roasting, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1½ tbsp good sherry vinegar (though they are also nice with balsamic vinegar) and salt.
3 You can keep these for a few days in the fridge, or even freeze them, provided you do not add the oil or vinegar beforehand.
1 Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/ gas 6. Cover a roasting tin with cherry tomatoes. Add sea salt, a little olive oil, 2-3 squashed garlic cloves and, if you wish, a few basil leaves. Toss it all well with your hands or, if you do not like the smell of garlic, with a spoon. Roast for 40 minutes or until they start to blacken around the edges. Eat with meat, cod, omelettes, on their own, on toast, with a salad…
2 You can roast regular tomatoes in the same way if you cut them into quarters (give them 15 more minutes in the oven), but children tend to prefer cherry tomatoes simply because of their dinky size
Spanish ingredients are widely available in good supermarkets, food halls, delis and specialised online stores that can deliver nationwide. Search for names such as Ortiz (tuna, anchovies and sardines), El Navarrico bottled peppers (and range of larder staples), Perello olives, La Chinata paprika, Nuñez de Prado olive oil, 5J (Cinco Jotas) Jabugo de Bellota ham and Ruavieja Aguardiente de Orujo liqueur, as well as regional specialities such as Calasparra rice.
ON THE MENU
Though globalisation has left as much of a mark on Spain as it has everywhere else, the one bit of the Spanish culture that is totally impermeable to interference from the outside world is the pattern and timing of meals. Breakfast is often coffee and biscuits (bizarre, and unhealthy as well!). Then comes a copious lunch at 2.30pm or 3pm. We round off the day with a lighter dinner that normally starts between 9.30pm and 10pm. Most restaurants do not even open before 9pm, and that is regardless of whether you go there on your own or with kids. In fact you will struggle to find restaurants ‘for kids’ in Spain; we just bring them to all venues and miraculously they seem to adapt to it.
In the book I include examples of menus that Spanish families would eat. You normally have a first course of vegetables, soup or eggs (as a general rule, Spanish vegetable dishes are served before a main meal, expected to be eaten on their own rather than relegated to side dishes) and a main dish of fish or meat. Dessert is often an orange in winter ( Spanish oranges are at their best around Christmas time) and melon or watermelon in summer. However, if we have a celebration, we serve a dessert as well.
Olive oil cake
Spain is a rather divided country, but if there is something that unites us all, it is our love for olive oil. We are crazy about it. I am afraid we rather look down on butter, margarine and any of the fancy oils that have come into fashion nowadays. We occasionally use sunflower oil when absolutely necessary, but otherwise we use olive oil for everything, from frying to breakfast – pouring it over bread and sprinkling it with sugar – to taking off make-up (just try it, it is very good) to making cakes. Eat this cake on its own with a cup of strong coffee, as a dessert with a nice orange salad or with my Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse (see right)
MAKES 1 LOAF
unsalted butter, for the tin
175g caster sugar
150ml olive oil
finely grated zest of 1½ unwaxed lemons, or 1 orange if you prefer
170g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter a large loaf tin. (Try a tin with about 1-litre capacity; the cake in the photo, left, was baked in a 22cm x 12cm tin.)
2 Mix the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer or by hand until the mixture looks pale. Very gradually pour in the olive oil while you continue mixing, adding it in little bits or the mixture could curdle. Add the grated lemon zest.
3 Combine the flour, salt and baking powder and sift it on to the mixture. Fold it in carefully so that you do not lose the air in the batter. Put it into the prepared tin. It will only about half-fill the tin, but it expands a lot. Sprinkle the pine nuts evenly on top and let it bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
FOR MIRIAM’S RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL MOUSSE, CLICK HERE.
Leche frita means ‘fried milk’; in fact this is fried thick custard. Though it is typical in most of the northern half of Spain, my mother, who considers this one of her specialities, claims that the best is from Palencia, where she comes from. She makes a very good leche frita, mostly because she makes it thicker than it is normally served in restaurants. Pretty much every Spaniard – me included – believes that when it comes to custard, this is the dessert. Much, much better than crème brûlée. You may feel that you want to add more flour to get it to set, though if you do, please remember that it is supposed to be creamy, not thick and floury, so don’t add too much. The best way to serve this is with vanilla or turrón (nougat) ice cream on the side. This serves ten (or eight or five…it just depends on how greedy you are!).
MAKES 20 SQUARES
1 litre whole milk
5 egg yolks
5 heaped tbsp. caster sugar
5 heaped tbsp. plain flour
strip of unwaxed lemon zest (without the pith; around the size of a small finger)
plain flour for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten
sunflower oil, to fry
1 Put the milk in a pan over a really low heat. Separately mix the 5 egg yolks and the sugar, add them to the milk, then whisk in the flour and finally the strip of lemon zest. Now start stirring, in a clockwise direction, constantly until the mixture thickens. Do not increase the heat, as the key to this dish is that the mixture thickens slowly and does not burn. You need to wait until you get the first bubbles, by which time the mixture will thicken so that when you stir you should be able to see the bottom of the pan in the spoon’s wake. This should take 10-15 minutes.
2 Transfer the cream to a flat tray (or two, depending on what you have; not too big, but deep enough so that you get thick squares afterwards). Let it cool down for a couple of hours.
3 When it is totally cold, cut the cream into squares. Put the flour and whole eggs in two separate dishes. Coat the squares of cream first with flour and then with egg.
4 Pour the sunflower oil into a deep, small pan (the oil should not come more than halfway up the sides) and place over a medium heat. Fry the squares of cream, turning once, until they are golden on both sides. This should normally take a couple of minutes on each side.
5 Eat while still warm.
Extracted from Made in Spain by Miriam González Durántez
Photographs Kris Kirkham
GET 25 PER CENT OFF MIRIAM’S BOOK
Today’s recipes are from Made in Spain: Recipes and Stories from my Country and Beyond by Miriam González Durántez, which will be published by Hodder & Stoughton on Thursday, price £25. As well as Miriam’s personal introduction and family memoir, recipe chapters include Soups, Tapas, Eggs, Salads and Vegetables, Fish, Meat, Comfort Food and One-pot Meals, A Bit of Fun, Snacks, Fruit, and Desserts and Baking. To order a copy for £18.75 (a 25 per cent discount) until 14 August, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.