Processions of wooden platforms with statues of saints labor through Spanish streets. Mournful groups of hooded figures glide alongside the floats. Saetas, which begin with a moan then descend to a lament, are sung from balconies to the processions below. Misa Flamencas, religious music sung in the style of flamenco, are performed during mass. This is Semana Santa, or Holy Week in Spain. It culminates on Easter Sunday when church bells ring and hoods are removed for celebratory family feasts of lamb or rabbit.
Our Easter Sundays were a much lighter affair. With a Southern Methodist mother and a fallen-Catholic Irish father, our traditions centered around Easter egg hunts and baked ham dinners. We celebrated the renewal of spring by eating new potatoes and planting hanging baskets. Regardless of your traditions, we hope that you have a great Easter holiday!
THE SPANISH TABLE WILL BE CLOSED ON EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 12TH. FELIZ PASCUA!
NEW THIS WEEK In November 2005, The Spanish Table self-published a paperback cookbook entitled (what else?) “The Spanish Table Cookbook”, a primer on Iberian cookware, unique ingredients and wines. Containing recipes and anecdotes compiled from newsletters we mailed out during our first ten years in business, it is a compendium of great discovories. The print newsletter is long gone due to rising costs of printing and mailing but the cookbook lives on thanks to Gibbs M. Smith, the owner for the past 40 years of Gibbs Smith Publishing. Gibbs Smith has just published a hardback, professionally edited version of “The Spanish Table” ($30.00) enriched with splashy, atmospheric photos which just hit our shelves yesterday.
Fig jam with lemon flower honey ($6.99/7 oz) Serve this with cana oveja, a soft ripened sheep milk cheese for a savory tapa.
S.A.T. El Artesano Green Fig Marmalade from El Bierzo ($8.99/300 grams) Made by hand, this artisanal marmalade contains just green figs and sugar. Eat this on your morning toast and you’ll believe you’re in Spain.
Ibsa Roasted Red Pepper Strips from Bierzo ($4.99/285 grams). We’re starting to see more foods coming from Bierzo and we received an introductory price on these peppers. We tossed them into our garbanzo and shrimp paella last weekend for a bright flavor accent. Made in the town of Carracedelo, these sweet roasted peppers are packed in olive oil and salt.
Wondering what to do with all of the colored eggs left from the Easter hunt? Turn them into a savory tapas with the following recipe from “The Spanish Table” cookbook.
Baby Shrimp Meat-Stuffed Eggs Makes 24 Tapas
½ teaspoon sweet smoked pimenton
½ cup mayonnaise
½ pound baby shrimp meat
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
12 lemon-stuffed olives, cut in half lengthwise for garnish
Combined the first 3 ingredients. Half the eggs and remove the yolks, reserving for another use. Fill the cavity in the egg halves with the shrimp mixture. Top with an olive and serve.
Cabra al Vino “Buenalba”
Move ovah Drunken Goat! The makers of Artequeso Manchego have created a new raw goats milk cheese with red wine all throughout the cheese. This mini curado has wonderful herbaceous and aromatic grape nuances. A superior quality cheese compared to the over processed drunken goat. $19.99/lb. $4.99 quarter lb
Cabra al Pimentón This vibrant orange raw goat’s milk curado has paprika permeated throughout the cheese. The surprising texture has a delicate creaminess with an even balance of acidity and salt. Hints of smoke come through on the finish with notes of rustic aromatic earth and straw. $19.99/lb $4.99/quarter lb.
Malvorosa Is a farmhouse sheep cheese produced in Valencia. It is hand made in the traditional shape of “servilleta” or cheesecloth and is smooth, buttery and full flavored with hints of butterscotch in the finish. This beautiful cheese is truly a labor of love-the cheesemaker saved this rare species of sheep from extinction, making this an exceptional find. $21.99/lb. $5.50/quarter lb.
Oveja al Romero (Rosemary Manchego) Raw Sheep’s milk cheese from the estate farm of the Alvarez Valera family, makers of Artequeso Manchegos. This mini wheel is lightly infused with rosemary and is definitely the most aromatic cheese in the case. If you love rosemary this will most likely become your favorite cheese. $ 18.99/lb. $ 4.75/quarter lb.
NEW WHITE WINES
2007 Alma de Blanco Godello, Monterrei ($13.99) The Monterrei region of Galicia is an area of steep hills, terraced vineyards and an Atlantic climate. This full bodied white is made from 100% Godello. With delicate aromas of floral and citrus, Alma de Blanco has bright flavors of peach, apricot and lemon. Crisp with lively acidity, the finish is dry with earthy notes. I’m a big fan of the Godello grape which pairs wonderfully with seafood. 89 points Wine Advocate, Value Wines
2007 Can Vendrell Chardonnay-Xarel-lo, Penedes ($13.99) ORGANIC, made with the lowest possible sulfites. A unique blend of 60% Xarello (a grape used in Cava) and 40% Chardonnay. Unoaked, exotic and crisp. A floral and citrus nose unveils a palate that is fresh with notes of peach, nectarine and dry pear. Notes of honeysuckle and orange/lemon zest with nuances of refreshing mineral and almond on the finish.
NEW RED WINES
2006 Torremoron, Ribera del Duero ($11.99) Torremoron is made from old vine Tempranillo in the tiny pueblo of Quintanamanvirgo. The winery supports most of the 105 residents of this town, who pour their TLC into every bottle. Full bodied with firm notes of boysenberry, mineral and tobacco, it is supple and well balanced. Ready to drink now, it will pair wonderfully with Easter lamb dinner. 90 points Wine Advocate, Best Value
2006 Vinedos de El Seque, Alicante ($11.99) Rioja producer Artadi is the owner of this property in Alicante, near Jumilla. Made of 80% old vine, low yielding Monastrell from the arid chalky soils of Pinoso, with a balance of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Vinedos de El Seque has a rich nose of dark currants with traces of iron and minerals along with dark chocolate. Elegant and finely balanced with hints of blueberry, its lively acidity and moderate tannins make it a pleasure to sip.
2006 La Huella de Almansenas, Almansa ($11.99)
60% Garnacha Tintorera, 30% Monastrell and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 30 year old vines. “Opaque ruby. High-pitched cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by smoky bacon, rose oil, anise and minerals. Fresh and juicy, offering sweet raspberry and boysenberry flavors along with a bright mineral undertone. Finishes fresh, clean and precise, with very good persistence. This wine, which saw no oak, was made by Ester Nin, who is the cellarmaster at Clos Erasmus. Great value.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer Limited quantities available, last year’s release sold out quickly!
2004 Fincas Don Martinho Old Vine Malbec, Mendoza ($15.99) ORGANIC Produced in an 18.5 acre vineyard planted in 1926 from ungrafted clones brought from France, Don Martino is a cult wine in Argentina. Tremendously complex, it has wild aromatics, a rich mid-palate, and an incredible silky texture. Aromas of sweet plums combine with hints of vanilla and chocolate. Slightly spicy, the mouthfeel is long and gentle. Aged in new French barrels for 6 months, it displays soft tannins and balance which finish in a lingering, rich aftertaste.
SPANISH COOKING CLASSES
Join Chef Joseba at the Harvest Vine on Saturday, April 11th at 10 AM to learn the tastes and traditions of an authentic Spanish Easter celebration. $60.00 For reservations, call 206.320.9771.
May Cooking Seminars at Taberna del Alabardero. Tuesdays from 11 AM to 1 PM which include a multi-course lunch, $40.00. For reservations and information, call 206.448.8884. http://www.alabardero.com
Have a great week!
Sharon Baden & Steve Winston
Owners, The Spanish Table
1426 Western Avenue
Seattle WA 98101
Other stores in Santa Fe NM; Berkeley, CA; Mill Valley, CA