Category Archives: Fish

ROSADO, BLANCO & BOCADILLOS

March 31, 2016

Tip a glass to our few days of sunshine with the first Rosado of the season!
2015 Ostatu Rosado Rioja  70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha from 60 year old vines.  Lightweight and aromatic, with wild strawberry flavors and nuances of spice.  Very dry, it offers up a rich palate, balanced by refreshing minerality.  Fans of Provençal-style rosés will love this rosado.  Take a sip, relax, and know that summer is around the corner!
   Don’t wait to pick up a few bottles of this because the distributor will be sold out by next week.
2014 Licia Albariño, Rias Baixas ($16.99) 2014 Licia is extraordinarily tasty and fit to be quaffed on a sunny day.  Licia’s vineyards are in O Rosal and Condado do Tea, the warmest sub-zones of Rias Baixas that produce the ripest fruit.  Licia is dry and steely with bright citrus notes and a fresh minerality.   With creamy apple and quince notes offering stoniness and weight, this is a solid Albariño at a great price.   What really impressed me about this wine is its pure freshness.  It will rock in 70 degree weather, especially with a plate of shellfish or cheese.
Enjoy the outdoors while the great weather lasts, by keeping meals simple.  Make fancy bocadillos (sandwiches) with a loaf of crusty bread.  Mix and match ingredients, such as our Bruschettas (Piquillo Pepper and Artichoke or Piquillo Pepper and Eggplant) topped with a sheep’s milk cheese such as El Valle Semicurado.   Or chop green, pitted olives, mix with Spanish Bonito Tuna and alioli and spread on bread.  Slices of roasted Piquillo Peppers withBlack Empeltre Olive spread paired with Majorero goat milk cheese is divine.   Brush slices of bread with flavorful extra virgin olive oil and top with slices of Chorizo or Jamon Serrano with Manchego cheese to make a classic sandwich. Or, peruse our shelves and invent new combinations!    

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Filed under Albariño, Cheese, Fish, Food, Garnacha, Jamon, Meat, Rioja, Rose, Spain, Wine

Spanish Pantry Essentials

Not a fan of slogging through pounding rain to the grocery store?   Or don’t have time?   By keeping a few essential Spanish ingredients on hand, it’s easy to pull together a nutritious, tasty meal in a flash and save a run to the store.
Conservas are a must.  In Spain, vegetables are picked at their peak of flavor, roasted or simmered and then packed in jars or cans.   Equally delicious are a wide range of fish and shellfish, many packed in olive oil.  The oil can and should be used in recipes.
Rice is a versatile staple to have in the pantry.    Rice simmered with chorizo and jarred, roasted red peppers is delicious and quick to prepare.   If there is chicken in the frig, make a fast and toothsome rice soup with Aneto chicken broth, Spanish garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of dried lime.   Or, make a complete paella in 30 minutes with an Aneto Paella broth.   Choose from Seafood, Squid Ink or Valencian Paella; comes in easy to store tetra paks with a one year shelf life.     
In Spain, pasta called fideo is used to make a dish called fideau.   Fideo, simmered with broth in a paella pan, can be prepared in minutes by adding jarred ingredients.   For example, toss olive-oil packed Spanish tuna with strips of piquillo pepper, the oil from tuna, capers, water and pasta.
Or use Aneto Squid Ink Paella with fideo and revel in this different take on a traditional Spanish dish.   If Mac n’ Cheese is a favorite, upscale it.  Combine chicken stock with pasta and saffron; simmer until the pasta is done, then drain and stir in Manchego cheese to melt.
Gluten intolerant?    A jar of lentils, cooked with spicy chorizo makes a hearty and simple meal.   Canned mackerel or anchovies are fantastic tossed with lentils or white beans.
 
Got a freezer?  Store packages of Bilbao Chorizo, Chistorra or Morcilla for the right moment.  Scramble choistorra with eggs.  Grill chorizo and serve with de la Estancia organic polenta from Argentina which cooks in 3 minutes.  Just add grated Mahon cheese.
NEW!  Hernán products from Mexico, made by artisan producers.    Just arrived are Mole Poblano andMole Pipián sauces.   Mole Poblano is a blend of chiles and spices, tempered by an infusion of nuts, chocolate and other ingredients. Typically served on chicken or pork.   Mole Pipián contains roasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts with spicy chiles and epazote and is excellent on fish.
  Hernán Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon is now available, in powder and squares.
Brush up on Spanish with Spanish Circle on Wednesday evenings.  Held at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 4, Room 1.  Jan 13-March 16 at 6 p.m.   Free!   For more information call 206.684.0849.

WINES
 
2013 Narupa Alala Albarino, Rias Baixas   ($26.99)   First vintage!  Sustainably produced from a 30 year old, family-owned vineyard planted by the winemaker’s Grandfather.  The grapes are pressed by foot and fermented with native yeast.  Raised in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation, it has extended aging of one year to develop complexity.   Fresh aromatics with a hint of tropical fruit have notes of citrus and dust.   Mineral-laden with great mouthfeel and a pleasurable weight, this is a terrific expression of Albariño.   Limited availability – only 3 cases came to the state of Washinton, and we have 6 bottles.

2012 Carramimbre Roble, Ribera del Duero   

SALE!  Regular price $14.99, now $10.99  

We rediscovered this tasty gem last weekend, accompanied by a tapas assortment.  Versatile and nuanced, and it’s now 25% off!   (6 cases available).  90% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged four months in oak.  Offers up aromas of ripe blackberry, hints of earth and road tar, reminiscent of an old-school California Zinfandel.  Very smooth and full-bodied, it displays lifted notes of white pepper, tobacco leaf and mushroom.  Black fruit and mineral notes on the lengthy finish.   Decant for 20 minutes to fully release aromas and depth of flavors.

2012 Lagar de Robla Premium, Castilla y Leon ($10.99) 100% Mencia, aged about 18 months in oak.    Plush, with soft tannins and a hint of earth.   Round and smooth, Lagar de Robla is mineral-laden, with well-integrated notes of oak.   This is really good!   “This firm red is reserved, but shows depth and integration, with mulled plum, licorice, mineral and smoke flavors that mingle over well-integrated tannins, giving way to the juicy finish.”  91 points Wine Spectator

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Filed under Albariño, Catalan, Cheese, Chile, Fish, Food, Meat, Mencia, Paella, Recipes, Red Wine, Spain, Tempranillo, Uncategorized

Anchoas

The anchovy has pride of place at the Spanish table. In America we tend to shy away from these oily little fish, as much as we love whisking them into sauces and burying them in a cheesy pizza. Across the Atlantic, however, anchovies are preserved in olive oil and served whole as the centerpiece in a variety of appetizers, tapas, and light meals, or they are bundled up and tucked into green olives, my favorite method of consumption. They are eaten cold in order to coax out the glorious ocean depth of their flavor. By the same token, they are rarely cooked since heat tends to bring out that forceful, unpleasant bite that makes so many people cringe at the mere mention of anchovies.

Most common in the north of Spain where they thrive in the cooler waters of the Atlantic, anchovies are often served atop pan con tomate. A thick slice of golden toast is layered with tomato, salsa escalivada – a sauce of eggplant and roasted bell peppers – and then topped with whole anchovies.  Another typical dish is an appetizer of anchovies and olives dressed with salsa l’espinaler, a simple sauce of vinegar, red pepper, and spices.

Anchoas are not to be confused with boquerones or ‘white anchovies.’ The latter have a far milder flavor and are generally fried or preserved in vinegar and eaten, pincho style, atop a round of bread.

We have a wide range of anchovies at The Spanish Table. I haven’t yet waded through all the brands, but according to the very knowledgeable Merecedes, our Catalonian in residence, Ortiz makes the finest anchovies of all. But there’s no need to take her word for it; come in and try some for yourself!

 

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Condiments and New Wine Specials

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                               September 16, 2011      

We just returned from two amazing weeks in Eastern Europe.  The weather was scorching which made the cold pilsners taste crazy-good in Prague! DubrovIn Dubrovnik, Croatia our daily platters of grilled seafood fresh from the Adriatic were perfection. The heat, the beaches and the plates ofpescaitopescaito frito (small fried fish) made it feel almost like Spain. Now if they could just figure out rosé wines…

One thing they do really well in Eastern Europe is judiciously use great condiments. A variety of mustards on grilled sausages really takes this simple dish to the next level. We’ve got over 20 mustards at our Paris Grocery store – grab a selection for the next tail gate party! Ajvar, the eggplant and pepper sauce was served everywhere with grilled vegetables and also made a great dipping sauce for French Fries. The Spanish Table has three brands of Ajvar, and it’s finally the season to grill eggplant and zucchini. We’ve also got a large selection of tapenades made from asparagus, artichokes and of course black or green olives. Wild mushroom mousse is fantastic on crostini, and we stock Baba Ganoush, the traditional eggplant and tahini spread that is traditionally served with warm pita bread.

NEW PRODUCTS AND OLD FAVORITES BACK IN STOCK 

Calasparra rice is back in stock! ($8.99/kg.)   Named after the province where it is grown in Murcia, southeastern Spain, this special strain of rice has its own Denominación de Origen.   Calasparra is grown in mountain valleys, unlike Valencian rice which is grown in coastal areas. These conditions produce a hard grain rice which takes a few minutes longer to cook and requires more liquid. Its nutty taste and firm texture offer up a subtle difference in rice dishes. It’s especially delicious in mushroom rice dishes. Lomita is a smaller and more affordable version of the pure acorn fed, 100% iberico, cured pork loin. We think it’s better than Jamon Iberico! The Iberican pigs roam free on 400,000 hectares of Dehesa (acorn tree forest) in the province of Cordoba, Spain. The acorn trees that grow here are the Encina (Holm Oak), considered to have the sweetest acorns in Spain.

Larsa San Simon – We’re excited to introduce a new brand of this traditional smoked cow’s milk cheese from Galicia. Larsa San Simon does not come in cryovac which allows it to develop naturally. The cheese has a drier paste and wonderful woody, smoky note reminiscent of an artisanal Idiazabal.

2012 Spanish and Portuguese calendars are here ($14.99).   With seasonal photos from all over each country, it’s the next best thing to being there.

Juego de Loteria games are back in stock! Learn Spanish words and numbers while you play this Mexican bingo game.

NEW WINES 

2003 Marti Fabra Selecció Vinyes Velles ($9.99) SALE! Regularly $19.99. “Aged 10 months in French oak, the unfined/unfiltered 2003 Marti Fabra Seleccio Vinyes Velles (70% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Tempranillo, and equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits a rich, sweet perfume of black cherries and earth, an elegant attack, medium to full body, good depth as well as ripeness, and a long finish.” 90 points Wine Advocate

2009 Dacu Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana ($9.99) Produced in Extremadura from the second largest D.O. in Spain, it is also one of the least known wine regions. The cool nights in this 1837 foot-high vineyard enhance the bright fruit flavors, and the 2009 vintage is marked by concentrated black fruits and licorice notes. Balanced and dry, it finishes with notes of tobacco and earth. This is all-around delicious!

2006 Celler Ripoll Sans Closa Ballett, Priorat special price $29.99 (regular price $45.00!) Mark Ripoll Sans of Celler Ripoll Sans gave us a Jeep tour of his Gratallops family vineyard in May and ushered us into his infinitesimal winery. He produces less than 20,000 bottles per year and makes three wines: Black Slate Gratallops, Closa Batllet and a white wine made of escanyevcuran, a native grape that is practically extinct. 2006 Closa Batllet is a serious red wine with sweetly ripened fruit, characteristic of the warmer weather in 2006. Made of 65% Carineña, 20% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot and Syrah, it is explosive, full-bodied, structured and balanced. Notes of black cap berries, tar and dust lead into a lingering finish which is dry and mineral-driven. This is an amazing price for a profound wine! Only 4000 bottles made.

The Wine Spectator featured the wines of one our favorite Rioja producers, Cune Imperial in the October 15, 2011 issue. We’ve got the 1996 Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja in stock ($72.00) which is “Dark red. Bright, spicy cherry and redcurrant on the nose, with sexy oak spice, leather, anise and coffee accents. Silky, broad and sweet, with the vibrant red fruit flavors building with air. The supple tannins blend nicely into the wine’s rich cherry and currant flavors while conferring structure and focus. There’s a load of flavor here but the palate impression is elegant and graceful. Concentrated, suave and long, a late note of cigar box providing even more interest. Absolutely lovely right now, this should hold for some time to come.” 93 points Stephen Tanzer

1998 Cune Imperial Reserva Rioja ($51.00) is “Highly nuanced, quintessential Rioja aromas of plum, strawberry, cherry, mocha, minerals and tobacco. Firm and quite dry, with sinewy flavors of plum, minerals and tobacco leaf. Solidly structured Rioja, finishing with dusty tannins and a minty note. With time in the recorked bottle, this put on weight and sweetness, showing a very pure strawberry flavor and considerable elegance.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer 

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Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Red Wine, Travel

Octopus and Rosado

pulpo g 

Pulpo a Feira, Galicia Spain     

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                             July 8, 2011       

The drum roll for Spanish rosados has been beating loudly around here, especially now that summer is here. And this week, the New York Times even took up the subject, although they omitted a couple of our favorite light and crisp rosados: 2010 Muga rosado ($12.99) and 2010 Amestoi Rubentis ($18.99).

Ten wines are tasted and reviewed in the article Roses of a Different Color; we stock six of them, including the Best Value, 2010 Parés Balta Ros de Pacs ($12.99). We also stock the 2010 Borsao ($7.99); 2010 Olivares ($8.99, which is almost sold out), 2010 Cune ($12.99 – the article reviewed the 2009 vintage but trust me, the 2010 is much better), 2010 Chivite Gran Feudo ($8.99) and 2000 López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosado ($22.99). 

A fantastic dish that we ate repeatedly on our May trip to Spain is Octopus Galician style (see recipe below). In Galicia, it is called Pulpo a Feira and elsewhere in Spain, Pulpo a la Gallego. And, we carry the traditional wooden plates that this dish is served on. This is excellent served with a Spanish rosado.

Planning a wedding or large event? We’ve got wines in all price ranges and will help you choose the perfect beverages, including Spanish sparkling wines. 10% discount on a case of 12 wines or more.

Spanish Sips and Bites Tasting, Tuesday July 19. This is a drop in tasting between 6-8 p.m at Pintxo,  2207 2nd Avenue, Seattle  206.441.4042. Cost: $10 per person.

Hosted by Pintxo Seattle and special guest Lucia Ramos, of Spain’s Frontaura winery. Join us for four savory pintxos matched with delicious wines from Toro, Rueda, Penedes, Rias Baixas, and Cava. Lucia is coming with photos, stories, tasting notes, and maps that show the rich history and spectacular range of Spanish wines. All wines tasted are available for purchase at The Spanish Table – orders placed at the event will receive a special 10% discount.

As this event is limited to 25 guests, please call Pinxto to reserve a place:  206.441.4042

NEW PRODUCTS 

melamineMelamine picnic ware in Spanish yellow and blue pattern, and clear wine glasses. Spanish Style by Kate Hill ($11.99) is a beautiful trip through interiors of historic haciendas, private homes, art studios and designer hotels all over Spain. This book is an excellent gift for designers and an armchair escape to Iberia. 

 

RECIPE:  Pulpo a Feira  (serves 6)

 1 octopus, approximately 3 pounds*  

2 quarts water, boiling

2 medium waxy potatoes, peeled, boiled and sliced

2-3 oz extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked Spanish Bittersweet Paprika

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Gently boil octopus in salted water for 40 minutes to an hour, until octopus is tender. Remove from water and cool, then slice into bite-size pieces. Place the cooked potato slices on a platter and top with a piece of octopus. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then sprinkle salt and pepper and a light dusting of paprika over the slices and serve. 

  matiz g* Fresh octopus can be hard to locate but we’ve often found it at Seattle Fish Company in West Seattle. An even easier option than cooking a fresh octopus is to use a 4 oz can or two of Matiz Gallego Octopus in Olive Oil.

 

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Filed under Fish, Food, Rose, Travel

Serpis Stuffed Olives; Great Riojas

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                 February 23, 2011
It was fantastic to see all of you who came in last Saturday for our cooking demo! We fired up a large butano and the 85 person paellera to make Fideuá, which is similiar to paella but uses pasta instead of rice.  We love this dish because it tastes quite different from paella, especially if you serve it with alioli, and it’s another great use of your  paellera! For those who couldn’t make the demo, here’s a copy of our recipe, which can be adjusted for fewer servings:

Fideuá (Valencian Pasta)   Serves 60   

1 cup olive oil

5 each onions chopped

1 head garlic chopped

5 lbs Rockfish fillets chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 bottle white wine

½ gram saffron

6 tbs La Vera smoked pimentón dulce

4 jars Tomate Frito

12 quarts clam juice

5 kilos fideo noodles

10 lbs cooked salad shrimp, whole

Heat olive oil in 40 inch paella pan. Sauté onions, garlic & rockfish for 2 minutes. Stir in wine, saffron, pimentón, & sofrito then add clam juice. When clam juice comes to a boil, add noodles. Return stock to boil and cook until noodles are done and liquid is absorbed (12 minutes or so?). Stir in shrimp meat and heat. Add water if necessary.

OUTSTANDING OLD RIOJA GRAN RESERVAS

Last week I wrote that our store manager Isaac Rivera had turned 30, which was a mistake. I should have done the math, because on his birthday he opened a 1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial Rioja, produced in his birth year. He was blown away by its exceptional balance, vibrancy, soft acidity and dusty earth notes. Happy 29th birthday Isaac!

There’s been a buzz here at the shop about Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especials, ever since we scooped up an amazing deal on 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1991 vintages. Professional duty demanded that we taste them all to make sure they lived up to their potential, and they absolutely do! These are exceptional classic Riojas, gracefully aged, each reflecting the individuality of the vintage. Fans of traditional Riojas should not pass these up!

SPECIAL OFFER: BUY ONE BOTTLE OF EACH MONTECILLO GRAN RESERVA (’81, ’82, ’85 AND ’91) AND RECEIVE A WOODEN GIFT BOX, FOR THE ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICE OF $130.00.

1981 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($50.00) Impressive liveliness in this 30 year old wine. Notes of balsamic, dried cherry and cigar box; elegant with silky tannins. “Complex aromas of plum, red berries, cinnamon, tree bark, pepper and bacon; autumnal in the style of a mature syrah yet still fresh. Less sweet in the middle than the 1982 but more penetrating, with lovely clarity of flavor. Finishes with firm, slightly drying tannins. For tasters unfamiliar with fully mature classic Riojas, this would be an excellent starting point.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($60.00) From an excellent vintage, the 1982 exhibits nuance and impressive complexity. Vibrant and savory, with notes of smoke, mushroom, leather. “The superb 1982 Gran Reserva Seleccion is from a great Rioja vintage. The wine was aged for nearly four years in French barriques and bottled in 1987. It exhibits a deep red-brick color and a sexy nose of earthy minerals, smoky tobacco, spice box, cherry, and red currants. This is followed by a nicely structured wine with elegance and a certain stateliness marking it as a classic example of old-style Rioja. This splendid effort should drink well for another decade.” 93 points Wine Advocate

1985 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($45.00) Initally the 1985 seemed to be the lightest wine of the four, but it gradually opened up with air, and was even better the following day. “Mature aromas of strawberry, meat, leather and truffle. Old-style, slightly funky Rioja flavors of pungent strawberry, leather and baking spices; lovely acidity gives the wine a juiciness and impressive inner-mouth lift. Reminded me a bit of an old Graves. Finishes juicy and long, with a slight dryness. A very idiosyncratic and satisfying example of a fully mature Rioja” 89 points Stephen Tanzer

1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($40.00)  A more modern style, its expressive bright fruit has a beautiful taut balance. “The 1991 Gran Reserva Seleccion, from a difficult vintage, is nevertheless an outstanding effort. It spent 46 months in French barriques before being bottled in 1996. Dark ruby in color, the wine emits a lovely perfume of spice box, tobacco, and cherry. With considerable stuffing consisting of wood, mushrooms, currants and cherries, and a long finish, this deceptively powerful wine can be enjoyed for another 5-7 years.” 90 points Wine Advocate

These new items arrived a few hours ago! 

El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Chorizo Picante; El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Jamon; El Serpis Banderillas

Helios Organic Seville Bitter Orange Fruit Preserves 

Quely Picos, from Mallorca  Rafa Nadal’s Favorite!

Rafael Salgado Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Gullon brand Maria Crackers and Choco Sticks

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Filed under Events, Fish, Food, Recepies, Red Wine

Sensational Flavors

As a youngster I grew up eating home-grown vegetables and home-cooked meals. Fortunately my mother, grandmother and sisters were all excellent cooks and my father’s garden was so bountiful that even our neighbors had enough fresh vegetables to stock their freezers. My fascination with flavors and quality ingredients sprang from these roots and even today, I eagerly await every meal!  With travel came discoveries of astonishing new ingredients and my palate began to yearn for more than fried chicken and tuna noodle casserole. Now that our stores have extensive selections of inspiring cookbooks, there’s no reason to cook the same dishes over and over!   (Paella excepted.)

Last night Steve turned to Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook “Saffron Shores” ($12.99) for a sensational Tunisian Fish Ball Tagine. The fish balls were light, delicately flavored and satiating on a chilly night. Give them a try!

JANUARY SALES ON SELECTED PRODUCTS – WHILE THEY LAST!

3 liters El Toro Pure Olive Oil $9.99

Miguel & Valentino brand Guindilla Peppers $.99 

Ferrer Dried Wild Mushrooms $4.99/ 15 gram jar

 Golden Peppadew Peppers $.99/14 oz 

Ferrer White Gazpacho $.99/24 oz

NEW WINES 

2009 Las Colinas del Ebro Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta ($11.99) This crisp white has notes of chalk and crushed seashell with a zesty citrus finish. “Laid-back aromas of yellow apple, pear, melon and lemon thyme. Silky and modestly concentrated, with fine-grained honeydew and pear flavors and a light kiss of herbs. Tightly wound for the variety, finishing with good bite and lingering herbacity.” 88 points Stephen Tanzer

2000 Bodegas Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva ($22.99) This spectacular rosé is excellent all year long but perhaps best in the cooler season when its savoriness is a divine match for rich meat or poultry dishes. In yesterday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov describes Viña Tondonia Rosé as “pale, coppery, complex wine that compels you to smack your lips at the tactile pleasure of rolling it around in your mouth. Jamon Iberico please!”

2009 Tapiz Malbec, Mendoza ($11.99) Tapiz has inviting aromas of violets which compliment smoke, raspberry and plum cake notes. Hints of vanilla, menthol and incense give added complexity on the palate. Elegant with a velvety, persistent finish, it is also a terrific value!

2008 El Pecado, Ribera Sacra ($84.00) The 2008 El Pecado is produced by winemaker Raul Perez, who makes some of Spain’s most prized wines in the cool, green D.O. Ribeira Sacra of Galicia. His reds, made from the Mencia grape are reminiscent of top shelf Burgundy. The precision and elegance of these wines is astounding. Prized for their quality as well as their rarity: 115 cases of 2008 El Pecado were produced and only 16 cases were sent to the U.S. “The 2008 El Pecado is 100% Mencia from Ribera Sacra and offers up exotic, kinky aromas of mineral, incense, Asian spices, lavender, boysenberry, cranberry, and black raspberry. On the palate it is satin-textured, intense, complex, and stylish.” 95 points Wine Advocate

2006 Alion, Ribera del Duero ($90.00) The latest release of Vega Sicilia’s Alion has just arrived! “Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven scents of redcurrant, raspberry, spicecake and dried rose, with a smoky overlay. Juicy and precise, offering lively red fruit flavors and a suave floral pastille quality with aeration. Weightier on the finish, where the floral note lingers with authority and persistent spiciness.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer, 94 points Wine Advocate

GREAT MEATS

Zoe Meats Chorizo: A perfect balance of pork, fat and pimenton, it contains no nitrates/nitrites. This überlicious chorizo is a favorite of our Spanish customers. We carry a small 8oz version or you may buy it sliced, but we recommend the larger chorizo for the best value. $25.99/lb

Lomo Embuchado – This domestic lomo is a dry-cured pork loin that is very popular in Spain as part of a traditional tapas course. Always extremely lean, this cured meat is marinated before aging with an array of spices including garlic and paprika bringing out the full flavor of the pork. $34.99/lb

Upcoming Flamenco shows: This Friday and Saturday evening at Taberna del Alabardero: Don’t miss Manolo Leiva. Click here for details.

TUNISIAN FISH BALL TAGINE

In Spain, Sephardic fish balls, (called albondigas) were seasoned simply with parsley and maybe a little cheese, then fried and served with tomato sauce. Tunisian Jewish fish balls are more highly seasoned. To hold the fish together, most cooks use fresh bread crumbs. The fish balls may be fried or poached, then simmered in fish broth flavored with tomato puree, and served with couscous. Some recipes use chopped tomatoes and peppers in the broth.

Serves 6 TO 8

FOR THE FISH BALLS:

1½ lbs mild white fish, such as cod, sole, sn apper or bass

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely chopped

½ Teaspoons kosher salt

½ Teaspoon harissa (try the rose petal harissa)

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

4 Slices stale bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry, or 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Olive oil for frying

TOMATO SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, minced

6 Tablespoons tomate frito, or 4 tomatoes, chopped

2 Cups fish broth or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Couscous for serving

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To make the fish balls, bone and finely chop the fish. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the fish with all the remaining ingredients except the egg and oil. Mix well, Add the egg and mix until smooth. Dipping a spoon and your fingers in cold water, remove a sample of fish paste and roll into a ball. Fry in a little olive oil and taste and adjust the seasoning. Form the rest of the fish paste into I-inch balls. Either fry now, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat ½ inch oil over medium-high heat and fry a few fish balls at a time until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the fish balls and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over couscous, sprinkled with parsley.

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