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El Cookbook de Barcelona

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Written by Heather Jones   
Sunday, 30 August 2009
ImageOne of the great things about today’s chefs and restaurateurs is their ability to bring the rich complex flavors of more exotic cuisines to the good ole U S of A.  Like Italian food before it, Spanish food and more interestingly Spanish Tapas are all the rage. Restaurateurs Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer have managed to bring that incredible food and dining tradition to the residents of Connecticut with their six “Barcelona” restaurants that are heralded as being the closet you will get to Spain without a plane ticket. 

 

With this new cookbook we get a real inside look at what has become a favorite nightspot for many.  Not only is the book filled with some of the restaurants best dishes, and the history behind their conception, but it’s also a love letter to Spain and Spanish culture.  The authors talk about their many trips to Spain and what the food in the real Barcelona is like.   There is even a primer on Spanish Wine.

ImageAlways looking for ways to use my overabundance of Summer Scallops thanks to my fisherman brother-in-law.  I had to try the Citrus Seviche (see recipe below); the marinade for this dish was really good, especially if you’re fortunate to get your hands on some really sweet oranges as I was.  I would use it again with other seafood in a heartbeat (I’m thinking Lobster). 

I also tried the Goat Cheese with Mojo Verde (see recipe below) because Goat Cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. In fact, I love goat cheese so much I could eat it plain - no crackers, no bread. But the Barcelona Goat Cheese with Mojo Verde just begs for a piece of nice crusty bread.  I’m surprised it actually made it out the kitchen as I couldn’t stop sampling it. 

If you’re looking for a nice introduction to more authentic Spanish cuisine or ideas for Tapas then look no further than the Barcelona Cookbook.  And if you live near one of the locations, do go check it out and let us know just how wonderful it is. 

Citrus Seviche

From The Barcelona Cookbook by Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2009

Seviche is not Spanish, but we had a chef a number of years ago named John Strong who came to us from a Cuban-fusion restaurant and made wonderful seviche. It fulfills a lot of requirements for a restaurant such as ours: it is exotic, easy to pick up, and uses extra shrimp when gambas' sales are slow. The orange rounds out the citrus and keeps the dish from "overcooking," which is what lemon and lime will do over time. The better the quality of the seafood you use, the better the seviche will taste.

Serves 6

Shrimp and Scallops

  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
  • ½ Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound pink or white shrimp (21-25 count) 
  • ½ pound giant dry scallops


Marinade

  • Juice of 4 oranges
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 whole oranges
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 whole lime
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, very thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, thick stems removed, leaves and small stems finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1. For the shrimp and scallops: Put the carrot, celery and onion in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by an inch or two. Add the sherry, bay leaves, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for about 40 minutes, adjusting the heat up or down to maintain the simmer.

2, Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. Slit each along the inside curve and rinse under cool running water.

3. Remove and discard the muscle from the scallops and cut each scallop in half horizontally.

4. Drop the shrimp into the simmering broth and blanch for about 4 minutes, or until opaque. With a slotted spoon, lift the shrimp from the broth and lay on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool.

5. Drop the scallops into the simmering broth and blanch for about 3 minutes, or until opaque. Lift the scallops from the broth and lay on the baking sheet with the shrimp. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until cold, or for up to 24 hours. There is no need to cover the seafood.

6. For the marinade: In a small bowl, stir together the orange, lemon, and lime juices.

7. Remove the skin from the whole oranges, the lemon, and the lime and, holding the fruit over the bowl to catch the juices, cut between the segments. Remove any white pith and then drop the segments into the juice.

8. Add the bell peppers, tomato, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro to the bowl and season to taste with salt.

9. Add the chilled seafood to the marinade. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours to allow the seafood to "cook" in the marinade.

10. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve in chilled bowls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Goat Cheese with Mojo Verde

From The Barcelona Cookbook by Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2009

This is a great dish to make ahead for parties as it keeps for as long as four days, although we admit it tastes best on the day it is made. It's flavorful, inexpensive, and exotic. When done right and allowed to sit at room temperature, the goat cheese softens so that it can be spread on toasted baguettes or crackers. After that, the brilliant green of the mojo verde starts to fade. It still tastes good the next day.

Serves 6

Goat Cheese Logs

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ¼ bunch fresh chives
  • Two 8-ounce logs goat cheese
  • ¼ pound cream cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Mojo Verde

  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • ¼ medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice (for less heat, scrape out the seeds and membranes first)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baguette slices, flat bread, or endive spears, for serving


To make the goat cheese logs: Strip the leaves from the thyme, parsley, and rosemary sprigs, discard the stems, and mince the leaves and the chives.

In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook or the paddle attachment and set on medium speed, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, and minced herbs. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Lay a sheet of plastic wrap about 1 foot long on a work surface. Using a rubber spatula, scrape enough of the cheese mixture along the plastic wrap to make a strip about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide. Roll the plastic wrap around the cheese to form a log about 6 inches long. Pinch and twist the ends to seal.

Continue to make logs with the cheese mixture until you have used all the mixture. You should have 2 to 3 logs. Refrigerate the logs for at least 2 hours and for up to 4 days.

To make the mojo verde: In a mixing bowl, mix together the bell pepper, onion, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice and mix gently. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir well.

Using dental floss or a small, very sharp knife, slice the goat cheese logs into 18 rounds, each about ½ inch thick. Arrange 3 rounds on each of 6 serving plates to form a triangle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mojo verde on top of each round of cheese. The tapas can be prepared up to this point and left at room temperature for up to 2 hours or refrigerated for up to 6 hours. Let them return to room temperature before serving.

Serve with the baguette, flat bread, or endive spears.

About The Barcelona Cookbook

Image It's tapas with a Mediterranean and Latin twist. This 224-page treat celebrates food, wine, and entertainment that is the heartbeat of the lively yet completely warm and inviting famous Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar in Connecticut.

Available from Amazon.com
 

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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