Posted by: tomciocco | June 24, 2010

A BASQUE(ESQUE) DINNER – With recipes!

Very little verbiage this time around, just the recipes for a Basque-style dinner I came up with: pintxos of tuna, scallions, capers and lettuce, and then chorizo-stuffed piquillo peppers, with stewed spinach. The libation was most decidedly authentically Basque, and a bit scarce: a rose’ Txakoli…

Tuna and lettuce pintxos

Yeah, this is just a nicely doctored tuna salad, but the all the elements are very Basque.

1  7 oz. can of tuna in oil, well drained

1  heaping Tbs. of capers, soaked for 1/2 hour, rinsed, and drained

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbs. mayonnaise

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 small red-leafed lettuce leaves, rolled across the rib, and then cut into chiffonade (very thin shreds)

8 1/4-1/2 in. thick slices of  not-too-holey/crusty baguette or Italian filone

– Combine all of the ingredients except the lettuce in a medium glass mixing bowl to form a lightly chunky but homogeneous paste.

– Fold in the lettuce, and spread on the bread slices.

Chorizo stuffed piquillo peppers

3 chorizo, skinned and cut into very small dice

1/4 lb. Istara cheese, grated

1 large stalk of rosemary, leaves only, minced

2 Tbs. chopped parsley

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1 glass jar of whole roasted piquillo peppers (about 12)

– Combine well all of the ingredients except the peppers.

– Carefully stuff the peppers, and as you make them, place them point up in a small, oiled round glass or stove-top safe ceramic casserole with a lid (or use an oven safe piece with a flame tamer)

– Cook covered over low heat for 30 minutes. Check from time to time to avoid burning. If, as cooking nears completion, there is a bit too much liquid, finish the cooking wi the lid off.

– Let rest with the lid on for 10 minutes before serving.

Stewed spinach

2 bunches of spinach, well washed

1 large clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Good squeeze of lemon

– With just a few splashes of water and a good amount of salt, cook the spinach covered over medium low heat, until very soft, about 1o-12 minutes.

– Drain into a colander, shock with cold water, and then squeeze as much of the water as possible. Very finely chop.

– In a saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium low heat. Add the garlic, and lightly fry it for 2 minutes.

– Add the spinach and the milk, stir vigorously (as to further shred the spinach), season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and adjust the heat to low, and let stew very slowly for an additional 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally.

– Remove the lid, add the lemon juice, stir vigorously once more, and serve.

Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rose` “Rubentis” 2009

Purple-tinged bubble gum pink color. Evocative nose of blackberry, strawberry, sea spray, and hints of lilac and goat’s cheese. The wine is a fun mouthful of fine, fresh fizz with flavors of chalky minerals, almonds, and watermelon and cleansing tart acidity. So good.

TOM CIOCCO

 

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