Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Tapa of Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce (Champinones al Ajillo)

Common in tapas bars throughout Spain, this mushroom appetizer can be served on its own as a tapa or as a side dish with beefsteak. It can be made up to a day in advance: cover, refrigerate, and reheat. Add the lemon juice and parsley just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 small dried red chile, crumbled, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, cut in half
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or fino sherry
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Step 1

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and chile or red pepper flakes. When the garlic begins to sizzle (about 30 seconds), add the mushrooms and turn the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring, until they sear and begin to sweat, then sprinkle them with salt and add the white wine or sherry. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to cook, stirring or tossing in the pan from time to time, until the mushrooms are tender, five to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, taste and adjust seasonings, and remove from the heat. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve hot or warm in small ceramic dishes, or serve on a platter with toothpicks stuck into the mushrooms.

Serves 8 as part of a tapas spread or 4 as a side dish — Recipe adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Low-Carb Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas)

Albondigas (Spanish meatballs) are a popular offering in tapas bars. They differ from Italian meatballs in their seasonings and smaller size—about an inch in diameter. Serve on toothpicks.

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20 lean-to-fat ratio)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Crumbled pork rinds (chicharrones), as needed
  • Grated Manchego and chopped cilantro, for serving

For the tomato sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 15 ounces tomato purée
  • 3 ounces Spanish sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 2

Combine the ground beef, ground pork, onion, minced garlic, the eggs, cilantro, pimentón, Manchego cheese, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, adding pork rind crumbs to firm up meatballs. (Start with 1/2 cup.)

Step 3

Form into 24 small meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once. Set aside.

Step 4

Make the sauce: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add two garlic cloves and the red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the sherry, tomato purée, and salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Step 5

Return the cooked meatballs to the pan, baste with the sauce, and simmer for 15 minutes. Top with more cilantro and shaved Manchego, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and serve on a small plate.

Serves 4 to 6 as a tapa — Recipe from tasty-lowcarb.com

Padrón Poppers

In Spain, Padrón peppers (now widely available in the US) are often sautéed in olive oil, then salted and served as a tapa. But they can be stuffed, too, as this riff on jalapeño poppers proves. Although their twisted shapes make them more difficult to stuff, shishitos can be substituted for Padróns.

Ingredients

  • 12 fresh Padrón peppers (handpick the largest and the straightest)
  • 2 ounces very thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces grated Manchego cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced chives or scallion greens
  • 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easier clean-up. Lay the ham slices on the parchment and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until beginning to crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer the ham to a cutting board. Let cool, then chop or crumble into small pieces. Set aside. Reserve the baking sheet; you’ll need it for the poppers.

Step 2

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Using a sharp knife, slice the peppers in half lengthwise, preserving the stems, if possible. Use the edge of a metal spoon to remove the seeds and ribs.

Step 3

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, the Manchego, chives, and chopped ham. Fill the pepper halves with the mixture using a spoon or a piping bag. In another bowl, combine the panko with the olive oil. Dip each popper into the panko, filling side down. If necessary, press the panko with your fingers to make sure it adheres. Dust each popper lightly with pimentón.

Step 4

Arrange the poppers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the peppers have softened and the panko is golden brown. Let the poppers cool slightly. Arrange on a plate or platter and serve immediately.

Serves 4 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Antipasto Bites

For a carb-free version of these colorful, festive skewers, replace the cheese tortellini with cherry tomatoes, marinated mushroom caps, or pepperoncini.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon,
  • divided use
  • 9 ounces fresh cheese tortellini
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls, such as Ciliegine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper akes
  • 4 ounces sliced salami
  • 1/4 pound roasted red peppers,
  • cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 14 ounces marinated artichoke hearts,
  • drained and cut into bite-size pieces
  • Large brined green or black olives, or a mix

Directions

Step 1

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot of boiling water. Cook the tortellini according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Step 2

Season the cooked tortellini with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix to combine. Set aside.

Step 3

Marinate the mozzarella: Add the mozzarella balls to a small bowl along with the Italian seasoning, hot red pepper flakes, and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Mix to combine and set aside.

Step 4

Assemble by threading one piece each mozzarella, salami, roasted red pepper, tortellini, basil, artichoke heart, and olives on skewers.

Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from delish.com