|As the New Year begins, we welcome The Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos) who arrive today, January 6th. All across Spain, crowds turn out to celebrate the arrival of the gift-bearing kings with lavish parades and processions known as “cabalgatas”. Once Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltasar are escorted into town, it’s time for another fabulous dinner, then to bed for the little ones, so the kings can fill their shoes with goodies.
A favorite holiday dish served in Spain are Canalons, meat-filled and rolled pasta sheets. In Catalonia, these are traditonally eaten on Saint Stephen’s Day (December 26th) but they are delicious for any occasion. We carry El Pavo Canellones (pasta sheets) for $3.49. See the recipe below adapted from Colman Andrews’ Catalan Cuisine ($18.95) for Canalons a la Barcelonesa (serves 6):
The beginning of a New Year is an excellent time to reminisce about the highlights of the year that just ended. In 2011, we made several fantastic new discoveries, had great experiences and were able to bring back some long-lost favorite products:
Perucchi Spanish Vermouth in sweet, medium-sweet and extra dry.
Tarta de Santiago: Delaviuda makes a terrific Tarta de Santiago ($6.99). This almond pound cake is rectangular in shape, traditionally finished with a Cross of the Order of Santiago rendered in powdered sugar. You can’t walk down a street in Santiago de Compostela without passing shops selling these traditional cakes. Excellent with tea or coffee as a mid-afternoon snack.
Best white wine: 2010 Rogo Godello ($19.99; only 800 cases made) This is an impressively aromatic and mineral-driven white with rich pear and citrus notes, scents of honey and white pepper. Stellar with seafood.
Best red wine: From all the glasses quaffed in 2011, the wine that stood out for me was the Muga 2001 Prado Enea Rioja Gran Reserva ($57.00). The distributor is sold out but when we did inventory we found an intact wooden case. Grab a bottle for a special occasion while they last. Remember: it is only 39 days until Valentine’s Day! – Steve Winston
Best new cookbook: Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking ($35.00). Alubias Blancas con Chanterelles (White Beans with Chanterelles) is fantastic this time of year! A New York Times Notable new cookbook.
Red and black cazuelas with handles.
Authentic Sherry glasses from Spanish Bodegas.
Albo canned Fabada Asturianas & Ybarra Manzanilla Olives stuffed with Piquillo Peppers came back to our shelves in 2011.
A delicious experience last year was eating embutidos over vine clippings in Rioja at Bodegas Don Sancho Londoño.
Canalons a la Barcelonesa (serves 6):
1 onion, chopped 6 T breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced 1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tomato, seeded and grated 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 lard (or olive oil)
Olive oil 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 oz ground chicken or turkey meat salt & pepper
3 chicken livers, minced 18 canellone wrappers
6 oz veal, finely ground butter
6 oz pork, finely ground bechamel sauce
In a cazuela, saute the onion, garlic and tomato in olive oil. Add the chicken, livers, veal and pork and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Mix the breadcrumbs with the egg, then stir in the thyme and nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. Stir the mixture into the cazuela, remove from heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and drain them on cloth towels. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spoon a small amount of meat mixture down one side of each canolo wrapper, covering no more than 1/3 of its surface. Roll each wrapper into a tube, starting with the meat side. Place them seam side down in a lightly buttered cazuela. Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the pasta, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake them until the filling is heated through and the cheese has turned golden brown (about 15-20 minutes).