Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Spanish Table

The Spanish Table

I have learned that whenever I use my oven I need to bake as many potatoes as can fit around whatever else I am cooking in there. I use the baked potatoes for my cheating version of a Spanish potato tortilla. This dish usually calls for you to sauté the thinly sliced potatoes in olive oil until they are completely cooked which takes about 40 minutes and requires about a cup of olive oil. Using my pre-baked potatoes I can slice them thinly and sauté them for just a few minutes before I add the eggs. I also use cheese in my tortillas which isn’t very Spanish. They make a tortilla francesa with cheese but that is something separate. I’m not too big on tradition and I prefer my tortilla de patata with cheese.

This dish is still tricky for me to cook although every tortilla I have made so far in Spain has been respectable. The trick is turning this rather unwieldy dish over so that the other side cooks. I cook it on one side with the pan tightly covered so the top of the tortilla solidifies. I think that using cheese makes it even more liquid on the top side. Flipping it before the bottom side burns is difficult because the top part can be very runny. You are also not supposed to brown the potatoes but I prefer them lightly browned so that’s how I make it. I eat the tortilla as a bocadito between two slices of fresh aldeano or peasant bread and lathered with a little of my Mediterranean oil.

I made a trip over to the Mercado de Algirós to buy olives. That’s all I was planning to buy but I couldn’t help picking up a few dried sardines. The guy at the stall told me how to prepare them and warned me that they are fairly salty, which means that they are loaded with salt. I also bought some calamari and the woman gave me a refresher course on how to clean them. I had done this before often enough when I lived in Greece but that was a long time ago. Since then, when I buy fresh squid I get it cleaned for me.

I bought a half kilo of partidas, or cracked olives (xafés in Valenciano). These are my favorite olives that I have found here in Valencia. I just found that my huge new olive container isn’t quite big enough for my entire assortment. I’ll have to eat them faster. Whatever the hell I decide to do with the squid, the olives will be a good accompaniment. That’s true with olives regarding almost all of the food here in the Mediterranean basin.

I like the idea of eating sardines almost as much as I like eating them. They remind me of when I lived on the Mediterranean before. I will probably just filet them and marinate them in olive oil. Just thinking about this food makes me want to go for a bike ride to clean out my arteries before I clog them up again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.