Monday, 26 August 2013

Bravas potatoes

Fried potatoes with brava sauce (salsa brava), is probably one of the most popular Spanish tapas served frequently to wine or beer. Bravo in Spanish means wild, angry, and so is the traditional sauce served with this dish - very spicy. This dish consists of potatoes, cut into large cubes, fried until golden brown in oil and then topped with the sauce. Sometimes the potatoes are first cooked and then diced and fried. Different are also the methods of preparing the sauce. The classic one coming from Madrid and patented there in 1960, is a sauce based basically on tomato sauce and cayenne pepper. In Catalonia and Valencia, however, the sauce is often prepared with olive oil, smoked paprika, vinegar and chili called guindilla and is usually accompanied by alioli sauce made of garlic and olive oil (in Catalan all means garlic and oli means oil). Sometimes fried potatoes are topped with a pink sauce which is a mixture of spicy tomato sauce and mayonnaise.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Grilled calçots with salvitxada sauce

Calçots, one of the typical Catalan cuisine ingredient, is a vegetable similar to a young green onions, but larger and milder. It's a variety of scallion from Lleida. The calçot from Valls, Tarragona is registered as a protected geographical indication by the European Union. In January, when the season for calçots starts throughout Catalonia fiestas called calçotada are organized, during which people get together with friends and family to spend time eating grilled calçots dipped in salvitxada or romesco sauce. The sauce is prepared with roasted tomatoes and garlic, dried peppers called ñora in Spanish, almonds, hazelnuts, olive oil and sometimes bread soaked in vinegar. 

Calçots are grilled over a flaming barbecue, or - if they are prepared at home - in the oven. Before eating, the outer charred layer is removed and then the tender bulbs are dipped in the sauce. The way of eating calçots is quite peculiar: they are raised above head holding the green part. In some restaurants the customers are given bibs to avoid staining with dripping sauce.