Category Archives: Recepies

Classic Chestnut Stuffing

This classic chestnut stuffing is cooked inside the turkey. Although there are many proponents of cooking the stuffing outside the bird, which makes it technically a ‘dressing,’ this meat-rich mixture lends itself to the old school method of cooking within the cavity. As it roasts, the juices of the bird enrich the stuffing, while the stuffing infuses the turkey with aromatic depth. The result is utterly divine. Just remember that a stuffed bird cooks more slowly than an one without stuffing.

This recipe, adapted from 18th century English food writer Hannah Glasse, makes enough stuffing for a 12-14 pound turkey.

Ingredients:
1 lb vacuum packed peeled chestnuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 oz thick cut bacon, finely diced
liver from the turkey, finely chopped
1 oz butter
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
¼ tsp ground mace
8 oz ground pork sausage meat
salt and pepper

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion, bacon, and chopped turkey liver for about 10 minutes, until the onion looks transparent and everything is turning gold.
2. Tip the contents of pan into a large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

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Pumpkin a la Española

Sometimes we cook with intention – pouring over recipes, shopping for obscure ingredients, carefully preparing the dish, and triumphantly serving it to a table of effusively complimentary dinner guests. But let’s face it, these occasions are rare. In my house, the majority of our meals are haphazard, scrounged together from whatever lies in the fridge and is in imminent danger of wilting or spoilage. If those carrots are beginning to lose their crispness, I’ll grate them into a carrot salad flecked with raisins and walnuts and slick with olive oil, lemon, and honey.  If that zucchini loses its luster, I’ll throw it into a frittata with a handful of sweet corn from the freezer and that last nub of craggy parmesan lurking in the depths of the fridge. Unglamorous perhaps, but the result is generally warm, tasty, and sustaining.

Occasionally, these haphazard dinners have truly gratifying results.  Yesterday my fridge was bare save for an aged pumpkin, a little chorizo, and a wedge of Manchego.  I also had a bag of paella rice in the cupboard. Hmmm, what to do? In no mood for culinary finesse, I simply stuffed the cheese, meat and rice into the pumpkin with a clove of chopped garlic, added some chicken stock, and shoved it into the oven.  Ya esta!

The pumpkin came out of oven soft, plum, and golden as a setting sun, brimming with a mélange of flavor-rich rice, melty cheese, and chunks of toothsome chorizo. Although it cannot claim any Spanish origins, I christened this dish ‘pumpkin a la Española’ in honor of its main ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 small pumpkin, about 3 lbs.
1 3oz. semi-cured chorizo sausage (such as Bilbao or Riojano), chopped into bite-sized discs
¼ lb Manchego, grated
½ cup bomba or other paella rice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1-1 ½ cups chicken stock (1 ½ cups if using bomba rice, 1 cup for other paella rice)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut around the stem of the pumpkin and remove. Scrape out stringy center and seeds.
2. In a bowl, mix the rice, chorizo, Manchego, and garlic. Stuff into center of pumpkin, no more than 2/3 full.
3. Heat the stock to boiling and pour into center of pumpkin. Mix into contents with a spoon.
4. Replace lid and bake pumpkin until flesh it tender and rice is cooked, about 2 hours.

– Rachel Adams

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Cataplanas and Flor de Pingus

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                       December 8, 2011

Two Hours FREE PARKING at the Market from December 1 – 15, 2011, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.! To qualify, PARK in the Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Avenue from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. SPEND at least $30 at Market businesses and VALIDATE  your parking ticket and receipts at the Market Information Booth at 1st & Pike prior to returning to your car, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Our first trip to Iberia in September 1985 took us through southern Portugal’s Algarve region. Populated by fishing villages with expansive sandy beaches, it is paradise for both beach goers and seafood lovers. This is where we first ate Clams Cataplana, a dish made with pork and clams in a copper steamer catthat latches shut to keep all of the juices inside.  

We have our own cataplana at home that we experiment with, and the shop just received a new shipment of them in four sizes.   Last week we made a fantastic combination by sautéing 1/2 an onion, one clove garlic and 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms in 3 Tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. cat sea  Then we added 1 pound of fresh clams in the shell, 1 pound of large prawns, 1/4 cup of sliced jamon serrano and 1/4 cup sherry, stirred it all together and latched shut the cataplana. In 10 minutes it was ready. We sprinkled some parsley on top and served with crusty bread to soak up the juices. Yum!

 New shipments of holiday foods and gifts keep rolling in!  Yesterday, 11 pallets from Spain were delivered. We now have Peces Mazapán Figures, Tarta de Santiago (almond cake turrón), Spanish Judión beans (giant, creamy white beans that are excellent in a broth with chorizo).  New cazuelas with handles in red or black; Churro Mix and churro makers; Quijote brand chorizo and salchichón, sold individually or packaged with a cazuela and 5 new styles of green quijglassware.

 

 

 

 

 SPECTACULAR NEW WINES

2010 La Cana Albarino, Rias Baixas ($16.99) “Pungent aromas of citrus pith, beeswax and minerals, with a deeper note of pear skin coming out with air. Taut and spicy, with very good density and a distinct pungency to its flavors of candied citrus fruits, pear and lemon zest. A suggestion of licorice builds with air and carries through the broad, supple, energetic finish.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

2007 Muga Reserva Rioja in 375 ml bottles ($14.99) Great stocking stuffer! The full bottles of 2007 Muga Reserva will appear as soon as the distributor sells out of the 2006 vintage. The 2007 Muga Reserva has “powerful cherry and blackberry on the nose, with alluring smoked meat and licorice notes and a suggestion of candied rose. Full, fleshy dark berry and bitter cherry flavors are lifted by a gentle mineral note and are supported by silky tannins. Gains sweetness on the persistent finish, which features an exotic note of resiny, cured tobacco. This is the only wine that Muga commercialized from the 2007 vintage.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

Arriving Friday Dec 9th2008 Cautivo Rioja ($11.99) This tastyand value-priced Rioja was a customer favorite in October and quickly sold out. Fortunately we were able to get another 5 cases that are arriving tomorrow. 2008 Cautivo Rioja is versatile, balanced and clean. Loaded with bright and juicy red fruit, it has a hint of smoke and tobacco. It’s paired well with everything we’ve thrown at it, especially cured meats and cheeses. This would be an excellent party wine! 

2009 Flor de Pingus, Ribera del Duero ($90.00) “The 2009 Flor de Pingus (3000 cases produced) is 100% Tempranillo and spends 14 months in a mix of new and used French oak… a primary perfume of pain grille, mineral, spice box, incense, and blackberry. Locked and loaded with remarkable concentration and depth, this mouth-coating lengthy offering manages to incorporate some elegance into its powerful physique. It will drink well for 30-40 years.there is no doubting that the 2004 and the 2009’s are the greatest wines of [owner] Sisseck’s career. Flor de Pingus is one of the great values in winedom.” 95-98 points Wine Advocate

El Maestro Sierra VORS Amontillado 1830 ($90.00) The exact age of this solera is impossible to determine as the wines have been here for as long as the bodega owners can remember. The barrels themselves were built in 1830 and have been used for aging sherry ever since; what is known is that the freshest 14 butts of this wine have spent at least 50 years aging in the solera system. This wine is ethereally light and profound with a seemingly never-ending finish.   Medium bodied, very dry, with notes of butterscotch and pungent green olives, “…Vinos Viejos Amontillado is racy and intense and would work well with lobster bisque.” 92 points Wine Advocate

We now have 375 ml bottles of Rare Wine Madeiras ($32.00). Choose from Charleston Sercial, New York Malmsey, Boston Bual or Savannah Verdelho.

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Spanish Vermouth and Asturian Cider

 

vermouth 

It’s time for Spanish Vermouth!

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                           June 15, 2011      

 Perucchi Vermouth from Spainhas finally arrived — we’ve been working to bring this in for months. Made in Badalona, it comes in two styles: a dry and smooth red vermouth with notes of baking spice and a sweeter white style, redolent with ginger and cardamom flavors. Excellent in cocktails (see the Sherry-Martini recipe below), or served neat. $19.99 each

 

Sparkling Trabanco Poma Áurea Sidra de Asturias  ($16.99) is produced through the Méthode Champenoise with secondary fermentation in the bottle, utilizing only indigenous yeasts. In the glass, exuberant aromas of apples mingle with an earthy component reminiscent of the natural aromas of the cider house. Bone dry on the finish and very festive in the glass. 

The Spanish Sips and Bites  tasting is sold out, but the restaurant has given us a few slots for Spanish Table customers. Call us at 206-682-2827 or send an e-mail to seattlewine@spanishtable.com if you’d like to attend.

Date: Tuesday July 19, between 6-8 p.m at Pintxo @ 2207 2nd Avenue, Seattle 206.441.4042. Cost: $10 per person 

Spanish Sips and Bites is hosted by Pintxo Seattle and special guest, Lucia Ramos, of Frontaura winery. Join us for four savory pintxos matched with delicious wines from Toro, Rueda, Penedes, Rias Baixas, and Cava. Spain is home for Lucia and she 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.

NEW WINES – A Spanish winemaker in Washington – no bull!

Idilico Wines is named after  a famous bull that performed in the 2008 Barcelona Corrida. Idilico performed so magnificently, with such bravery, that it was spared from the matador’s sword, something that very rarely happens. 

Idilico’s owner, Javier Alfonso, comes from a family of viticulturists in Spain’s Ribera del Duero. Javier himself lives in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, having come here to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. As so often happens, one thing led to another. Javier now has an American wife and in the course of exploring the magnificent wines of Washington, they began making his own wines using Spanish varietals grown in the Yakima Valley.   

2009 Idilico Garnacha, Yakima Valley ($20.99) displays an old-world heritage and a refined character, very reminiscent of a Spanish Garnacha. Made with fruit from a Snipes Mountain site near Yakima, it’s 12 months in neutral French oak lend aromas of smoke and spice. On the palate, ripe red fruit, chocolate and mineral notes have lift and persistence. Velvety tannins on the finish bring you back for more of this harmonious red. We simply had to bring in this wine when we heard about Javier and tasted his delicious red! Only 74 cases made.

We also carry 2010 Idilico Albariño, Yakima Valley ($20.99), a fresh white with notes of ripe stone fruit, citrus and a zesty finish. 

Sherry-Martini

 2 ounces of Vodka
1 ounce Valdespino Amontillado Sherry
1/2 ounce dry Spanish Vermouth 

Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Give the shaker a good shake for about ten seconds. Pour contents of shaker into a chilled glass with two Ybarra Anchovy Stuffed Olives. If you enjoy your martini a bit on the dirty side, add a splash of olive juice from your container of anchovy stuffed olives.

 

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Easter Eggs and Semana Santa

Ready For Feria de Abril, Sevilla   

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                                  April 21, 2011

Not unusually, my Easter celebrations as a child involved hunting for colored eggs. My Dad liked an excuse to give us money, so he’d write prices on a few eggs, hide them, and the finder could redeem them for a quarter or even a dollar!  Later that evening, we’d sit down to a baked ham and scalloped potato dinner with my extended family. Easter in Spain is one of the most somber and dramatic holidays, especially during Semana Santa. Sevilla and many other cities shut down for the week proceeding Easter and religious penitents march in processions through the streets until Easter Sunday. The music of Semana Santa is as serious as its subject, the crucifixion. The central song is the Saeta. Sung from balconies to the processions of penitents below, it starts with a moan, descends into a lament and ends in a groan. Often grouped with this music is Misas Flamencas, flamenco music which is performed in a religious context.    Two weeks later, Sevilla completely switches gears and closes down again for the Feria de Abril, a joyous week of music and dancing Sevillanas, one of the most glorious events of the year!   One of my best trips to Spain was to the Feria with my dance class… a week of dancing, tapas, and non-stop fun with an exceptional group of flamenco afficiandos.

WINES 

2009 Señorio de Garci Grande Verdejo, Rueda ($15.99) This fresh white has aromas of pear and green apple with hints of anise. There’s a noticeable weight on the palate, along with flavors of melon, citrus and herbs.   The zesty finish is clean and long. Delicious! 

2006 Abadia Retuerta Rívola, Sardon de Duero ($15.99) This isn’t a new wine on our shelves, but the 2006 vintage is so tasty that we bought up a quantity before it runs out. 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet, Rívola brims with juicy red and black fruit.  Notes of cedar, spice and herbs are given lift by abundant minerals. Full-bodied, with firm tannins from 12 months barrel aging,  this savory red has a fresh and lingering finish. Highly recommended!

Special wines arrived today!

2006 Aalto, Ribera del Duero ($58.00) Aalto is a partnership between Mariano Garcia, renowned former winemaker at Vega Sicilia and Javier Zaccagnini, former President of Ribera del Duero’s governing body. “Sexy, highly complex bouquet of blackberry, blueberry, truffle and smoked meat, with a sexy floral undertone. Weighty yet graceful, offering sweet dark berry flavors and suave candied violet and clove qualities. Impressively fresh and focused wine, with strong finishing spiciness and a lingering note of dark berry preserves-and drinking well right now.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer

2006 Aalto PS, Ribera del Duero ($120.00) “The glass-staining 2006 Aalto PS was aged for 32 months in 70% new French oak. It emits a super-expressive aromatic array of pain grille, crushed stone, lavender, spice box, and blackberry. Firm and structured on the palate, it has a boatload of intense, succulent, spicy fruit, ripe tannin, and impeccable balance. Drink this lengthy, powerful effort from 2016 to 2036.” 96 points Wine Advocate

2007 Chryseia, Douro ($50.00)  The 2003 Chryseia was one of the best Portuguese reds we’ve ever tasted, and thus when we were offered a case of the spectacular 2007 vintage, we jumped on it. It sold out so quickly that we got the only case in the Northwest from the first shipment. Another shipment may arrive in the future, but don’t wait if you love powerful, complex, Portuguese reds! “Pure and brambly, showing fresh, up-front aromas of raspberry and plum, with flavors to match. There’s a well-defined minerally essence to this, followed by a long finish of vanilla and cream, with hints of French roast. Drink now through 2014. 2,965 cases made.” 93 points Wine Spectator

EVENTS

Friday April 22 is Earth Day. The Pike Place Market has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy for Picnic For The Planet. 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

Flamenco de Raiz, direct from Spain, performs at Kirkland Performance Center on April 29 and 30th, and on May 1 at Sleeping Lady Theater, Leavenworth WA. Don’t miss this if you are an afficiando of flamenco puro!

RECIPES

Brightly dyed, hard-boiled eggs have to be disposed of after the Easter egg hunt. Spanish tapa bars show great inventiveness in creating the gourmet hard boiled eggs. Alioli or romesco sauces can be mixed with the mashed yolk of a hard boiled egg and then used to refill the white. A sprinkle of smoky La Vera pimentón, paprika made in Spain from red peppers dried slowly over oak wood fires, and a dusting of minced parsley add the finishing touches. Here is something, actually two things, a little more complex because we use the whites for one tapa and the yolks for another.

BABY SHRIMP MEAT STUFFED EGGS

Makes 24 tapas

¼ teaspoon Sweet smoked pimentón

½ cup Mayonnaise (commercial or homemade)

½ pound Baby Shrimp Meat

1 dozen Hard-boiled eggs

12 Lemon stuffed olives, cut in half lengthwise for garnish

Combine the first three ingredients. Half the eggs and remove the yolks. Fill the cavity in the egg halves with the shrimp mixture. Top with a lemon stuffed olive. ¡Ole!

EGG YOLK-ROMESCO MONTADITOS

At this point you are looking at a dozen left-over egg yolks. Use them to make Montaditos, two dozen little open faced sandwiches.

12 Hard-boiled egg yolks

¼ cup Romesco sauce (commercial or homemade)

½ cup Alioli  (garlic mayonnaise – commercial or homemade)

pinch Salt

grind Black Pepper

24 slices Small Baguette

24 Ripe olives, pitted (optional)

2 tablespoons Minced Parsley (alternative)

In a large yellow mortar, mash the yolks, romesco and alioli into a paste. Cover each of the bread slices with this mixture. Top with an olive or sprinkle with minced parsley.  

One more!  Click Basque for chef Gerald Hirogyen’s shrimp and egg skewer recipe.

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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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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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