Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tapas and Rosè

If summer won't come to England we're just going to have to pretend, and what better way to pretend than to eat tapas and drink chilled rosè?

It has been a dreadful summer so far. Grey skies, low light levels, floods and only a brief break in the clouds once in a while. I almost hold myself responsible. I bought a barbeque back in early June and I think it's rained ever since.

Well, we finally had enough and decided to just pretend that it's summer and decided to go Spanish with a few tapas inspired dishes.

Patatas Bravas - simple but effective. The missus (A) found a great recipe from the 'perfect' Felicity Cloake. The potatoes are roasted rather than fried. We've been having a lot of roasted new potatoes recently, by themselves with a gargantuan amount of salt they are insanely delicious. With a smoky tomato sauce and a creamy garlic mayo they are equally moreish and more suited to a tapas style tea. They were tremendous.

Another tapas staple - Padron Peppers. There can't be many things easier to cook. Put padron peppers into hot oil, cook until they blister, sprinkle over sea salt in obscene amounts, eat.

Squid is another favourite. We had some delicious cuttlefish recently at Bravas, a cool little tapas bar just off Whiteladies Road but which would not look out of place in Barcelona's back streets. The Spanish waiter lending it an even more authentic feel. We couldn't get our hands on cuttlefish, but did get some baby squid from the fishmongers on Gloucester Road. Simple seems to be the way with tapas so we just fried the squid and then squeezed over a load of lemon juice.

Our fourth dish wasn't strictly speaking tapas, but we simply had to include chorizo in some way and this chorizo and chicken liver salad from Tom Parker-Bowles seemed like a very nice way to do that. We get great chorizos rosario from Murray's on Gloucester Road. They release a fabulous oil when fried in a hot pan. When cooked, remove the sliced chorizos and add the chicken livers which have been dusted in seasoned flour. 3-4 minutes in the pan and the livers are done, crispy on the outside, smooth in the middle. We added them, the chorizos and some chopped mange tout to some salad leaves. The salad alone would make a great meal.

To complete the meal we went for a spanish rosè or rosado - Marques des Rojas from Averys. Made from Syrah (Shiraz) grapes it has a hint of spice which goes nicely with the chorizo. It's a deep pink, and could probably pass for a Pinot Noir in colour, and retains plenty of body so it pairs nicely with a range of food. It complemented all of our dishes - patatas bravas, squid, padron peppers and the chorizo salad. Versatility like that is really unusual, and would be hard to find in anything other than a rosado.

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