WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
Hola Ibiza! How fun this next week is going to be...
No, this island isn’t all about partying! Well not for us anyway…it seems to be all about glorious Spanish food. Oh my, where do I start? I think I'll start with the best food ever invented - TAPAS! Morsels of goodness, dripping in flavour and served in such a way you feel like you are just sharing small snacks with friends.
Originating in Spain, traditional tapas are small plates of food that are served between meals. Tapas apparently came to be after King Alonso 10th was so sick he could only stomach small portions of food after sips of wine, once he recovered he declared that no wine should be served unless it was accompanied by food. Seems legitimate right? There is another version that makes a little more sense as no one should be drinking on an empty stomach anyway!! It is said that peasants couldn’t afford both food and wine so cut the portion sizes down and you’ve got tapas! Small amounts consumed throughout the day would keep the energy levels up between bigger meals, yes, please!
Tapas are served in bars and is not considered a meal in itself, small plates of any food - from nuts, olives, and assorted cheeses to roasted meats and stews, are to be served with wine and eaten with friends. I love the idea that this is a kind of meal that is to be eaten with friends, the sharing of food forcing you to be social and to share, definitely my style of eating. Shall we start with a few tapas staples…
Potato & Mozzarella Croquettes
- 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- Kosher salt
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium tomatoes (3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
- 1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Vegetable oil, for frying
In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 20 minutes. Drain and let cool. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Stir in the mozzarella and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 8 oval croquettes and transfer to a plate. Cover and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and sauce, 8 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the mustard, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Dredge the croquettes in the breadcrumbs, tapping off the excess. Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg mixture to coat, then dredge again in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs adhere.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil. Working in 2 batches, fry the croquettes, turning, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve with the tomato sauce.
Bacon Wrapped Date + Chorizo
- 1 small Spanish chorizo sausage (about 2 ounces), casing removed
- 24 Medjool dates, pitted
- 12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise
Slice the chorizo crosswise into thirds. Halve each piece lengthwise, then cut each half into 4 lengthwise strips to make a total of 24 small sticks.
Tuck a chorizo stick into each date and pinch the dates closed. Wrap a strip of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick.
Place the wrapped dates in a large skillet, seam sides down, and saute, turning, until the bacon is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Lamb Meatballs with Mint
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 cup tomato puree
In a bowl, mix the lamb with the egg, bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon of the mint. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls.
Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet. Add the meatballs and fry over moderately high heat until browned all over (about 4 minutes). Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of mint and puree.
Return the onion puree to the skillet. Add the broth, tomato puree and meatballs and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Credits: Recipe via Food&Wine.com, supporting Ibiza images from Pinterest.