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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pollo Al Ajillo

Yet another iconic Spanish dish that I have been meaning to perfect for quite a while but could never find the right recipe.  I was thinking about making my own video for this dish but the one above freaking nails it. I made one slight variation in that I drained almost all of the oil before I added the spices and garlic.  Most of the people I know—and they are almost all Valencianos—complain that this dish is too oily—and that’s saying a lot for Spanish folk.  I have made this two times before and I had the same complaint, thus I learned my lesson. It’s not like my version is going to make it into the Weight Watchers cookbook but it’s a hell of a lot lighter than most recipes I have studied. Besides, in Andalucía pollo al ajillo is almost always served with fried potatoes so who are we kidding?

OK, this isn’t just the fried potatoes talking here, this is one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever made.  The white wine I am drinking with it isn’t exactly dissuading me either (just by accident it is from Cadiz—pretty much ground zero of Andalucía).  One thing I really notice in the finished product is the great rosemary I picked just this afternoon.  We are lucky now that it is flowering in August which adds even more zest to this humble herb.

Maybe it helped a bit to be jamming out to El Bicho—the coolest flamenco fusion in Spain—while I was cooking.  I have to say that I really did this Spanish classic justice. Now I know why this is so popular.  I have to admit that I used frozen potatoes but the next time I’ll do it all from scratch (but it’s not like the frozen potatoes are bad if you do them right, and I did them right). Damn,  we eat well here in España.

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