The cuisine of the Iberian peninsula was heavily influenced throughout history by its many conquerors. This dish, a popular one throughout Spain, was no doubt introduced to the country by the Moors. The key to its texture and flavors is to cook each vegetable slowly and individually. Your patience will be well rewarded!
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and crushed by hand
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the vegetables:
- 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced (for about 2 cups)
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed and diced (for about 2 cups)
- 1 Cubanelle or Anaheim pepper, stemmed and diced
- 2 medium zucchini squash, stemmed and diced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra for serving
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons grated Manchego cheese, for serving
Make the tomato sauce: Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir-fry the garlic. Add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low (your stovetop’s minimum setting) and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Make the vegetable mixture: Heat a second heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat
and, when hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and stir in the onion. Cook the onion until it becomes translucent and golden. (Do not let the onion brown.) Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and stir in the peppers. Cook over low heat, stirring from time to time. Add the peppers to the onions. Cook the zucchini the same way as the peppers. Leave in the pan. Return the onions and peppers to the pan with the zucchini; add the tomato sauce. Turn the heat to very low. Cook for 45 minutes, seasoning to taste with the salt, black pepper, and sugar.
Turn off the heat and let the stew rest for several hours to allow the flavors to develop. Reheat gently, then transfer to warmed shallow bowls. Top each serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of cheese.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from food52.com
Extra virgin olive oil is featured twice in this lovely lemon tart—in the crust and the filling. But if you’re short on time (or don’t own a tart pan), pour the lemony filling into a prepared graham cracker crust before baking.
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
For the filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3 large eggs, plus 3 additional egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F.
Make the crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl. Add the oil and water and stir until the dough forms. (Do not overwork.) Using your hands, crumble three-fourths of the dough over the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough to an even thickness in the bottom of the pan. Crumble the remaining dough and scatter it evenly around edge of the pan, then press the crumbled dough into the fluted rim to achieve an even thickness. Place the pan on a rimmed sheet pan and bake until the crust is golden brown and firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
About 5 minutes before the crust is finished baking, make the filling: Whisk the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium saucepan until combined. Whisk in the eggs and yolks until no streaks of egg remain. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan, until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 160°F, 5 to 8 minutes.
Off the heat, whisk in the olive oil until incorporated. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Pour the curd into the warm tart shell.
Bake until the filling is set and barely jiggles when the pan is shaken, 8 to 12 minutes. Let the tart cool completely on a wire rack, at least 2 hours. Remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the tart and the pan bottom, then carefully slide the tart onto a serving platter. Cut the tart into wedges, wiping the knife clean between cuts, if necessary, and serve.
Serves 8 — Recipe adapted from peteandgerrys.com
The Spanish noun adobo means “marinade.” On the Iberian peninsula, where it has prehistoric origins, adobo refers to a flavorful marinade consisting of vinegar, olive oil, aromatics, and spices. Don’t be intimidated by the long marinating time of this dish. Do, however, use a nonreactive container such as a glass baking dish or large bowl. Pork tenderloin or chicken thighs can be substituted for the pork loin.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine, preferably Spanish
- 1 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless pork loin
Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the meat and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Cut the meat into 1/2-inch slices, allowing some of the marinade to cling to the meat. Heat a griddle, skillet, or grill pan over medium-high heat. (The meat can also be grilled on an outdoor grill.) Coat the pan with olive oil. Brown the meat on all sides, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the meat is just done.
Serves 4 — Recipe from Delicioso! by Penelope Casas (Knopf, 1996)
Spain has a vibrant steak culture, a surprise to tourists with tapas and paella on their minds. Rib steak, known as chuleton (“large steak”), appears on many restaurant menus and is typically cooked over a live fire. The rub and piquant steak sauce are very versatile and pair well with pork, chicken, or shrimp. (Find jarred piquillo peppers online or in the international aisle of larger supermarkets.)
For the rub and steak:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 boneless rib-eye or strip steaks, each about 12 ounces
- Extra virgin olive oil
For the sherry vinegar steak sauce:
- 6 jarred piquillo peppers or 2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup aged sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make the rub: Combine the paprika, cumin, mustard, fennel seeds, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Fifteen minutes before cooking, generously brush each steak on both sides with olive oil and season with the rub.
Make the steak sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water. Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over low heat. If not serving immediately, transfer the sauce to a covered jar or bottle and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 5 days. (Shake to re-emulsify if the sauce separates.)
When ready to cook, set up a grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.(Alternatively, heat a grill pan on the stovetop.) Grill the steaks on one side for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn with tongs and grill 5 to 6 minutes more for medium-rare. Serve with the warmed steak sauce.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com