I think this will be the last of the recipes I post from our tapas evening. We made a couple other recipes, but they were not nearly as successful. This one was surprisingly simple and lovely. Oil-poached shrimp with garlic and chilis.
12 31–40 size raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled with tails on (this was 3 small-sized servings of 4 each, but I would gladly have eaten the whole thing by myself)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small chili peppers, cut in half
Pour the oil in a small pan and add the garlic and chilis. Heat over medium until the oil is hot but before the garlic browns. Add the shrimp and cook for 60–90 seconds on each side or until evenly pink. Pour shrimp and oil mixture into a serving dish and serve hot.
You will recognize this jam as the companion to the chicken liver spread I posted yesterday. We served it two ways—the other preparation was on toasts with goat cheese broiled on top and sherry-macerated raisins.
This recipe took me forever, because I just read “cover with water” and missed the line in the recipe that actually specified an amount. So I added probably 4 cups of water and was stirring the damn thing for ages.
I had never melted sugar like this before, just BAM sugar in a pot. I stirred it constantly because I was afraid the whole thing would burn, but apparently you’re not supposed to do that? According to the internet, you just shake the pot. I didn’t have any problems with crystals forming, so I guess I dodged a bullet.
6 Tbsp + 2 tsp white granulated sugar (100 grams)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 lb. shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water (or however much it will take to drown everything)
2 Tbsp unflavored oil (canola or vegetable or whatever)
Heat sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar caramelizes. Add the shallots and garlic and coat with the caramel. Cover with water. Add oil and a pinch of salt. Boost the heat a bit and cook, stirring, until it reduces down to a jam consistency and the liquid is pretty much entirely gone.
That photo has two recipes on it, I’ll put up the shallot jam in the next few days. Brown on brown on brown, such a feast for the eyes!
Today will just be focused on the chicken liver spread. I was going to call it pate, but apparently I already a recipe by that name. Plus I have Julia Child’s recipe for chicken liver mousse. I guess I can’t try another chicken liver recipe until I get a thesaurus. The book calls this one “chicken foie gras,” but that’s way overselling it, not to mention super pretentious. This is just a good basic spread recipe—much easier than the other two I’ve posted. The taste is perhaps a little less… refined? than Julia’s because of the absence of a mega-ton of butter and cream, so you get a bit more of the actual taste of livers. Which I think can be a good thing!
2 Tbsp butter
10–12 oz. chicken livers—drained, rinsed, and trimmed of any green bits or large chunks of fat
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp freshly chopped aromatic herbs (we used tarragon, thyme, and parsley)
1 tsp white granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add livers, sherry, herbs, sugar, and 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt). Cook until the livers are cooked through (poke them apart and look inside, if they bleed, they’re not done). Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Where this cookbook gets annoying is when it assumes sizes are standard throughout the world. This recipe just calls for “1 tin of tuna.” So… three ounces? Six? Eight? Kind of a giant range there. We used Tonnino tuna, which came in a 6.7-oz. jar, but we didn’t use all of it. I’m going to recommend a 5-oz. can, but taste the mixture and adjust to your liking. (A different recipe called for “2 packets of cooked octopus.” Thank you, that is super helpful.) In the book, this recipe was served on top of toasts, which required slicing off the bottoms of each egg half. That seemed unnecessarily fussy (and probably the egg would just slide right off the toast onto your lap anyway) so we just made them as deviled eggs.
2 pickled red cherry peppers (we got ours at the supermarket olive bar, the extras are in the middle of the plate in the photo)
1 small chili pepper, minced (we used a SUPER CHILI from my garden, but any 2–3 inch red chili would work)
2–3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 5-oz. can of tuna in olive oil
1 Tbsp mixed fresh tarragon and parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Hard boil the eggs using your preferred method. Peel them and cut in half lengthwise. Mince one of the cherry peppers and cut the other into 12 strips (mince the rest if there’s any left over). Empty the egg yolks into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, tuna, herbs, and both varieties of minced peppers. Mix together and taste for seasoning.
Scoop yolk mixture back into eggs, rounding the tops nicely. Garnish with the reserved strips of cherry pepper and a sprinkle of parsley.
Mom and I made a bunch of tapas today. It was exhausting. But now I have a bunch of recipes for here! We used The Best 100 Tapas by Esperanza Luca De Tena as our guide, but we didn’t really follow any of the recipes precisely. So here is our interpretation.
10–15 white anchovies (we used Wild Planet), which I believe had 12 in the tin)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
Remove the spines from the anchovies using the tip of a knife. Try to keep them as intact as you can, but it’s okay if they fall apart a bit (see the photo at the top of this post). Place in a bowl.
Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, parsley, and tarragon. Whisk in the olive oil and add the bay leaf. Pour mixture over anchovies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24.
Cut 1/2″ slices of the baguette. Lightly toast bread (mostly just to get it warm). Remove bay leaf from mixture. Spoon some liquid over the bread, then lay anchovy pieces on top. Drizzle some more liquid and grind pepper on top.