That’s all I wanted in Spain most of the time. Tapas. I woke up in the morning excited about all the possible meal options I had before me. Which tapas would I have? Where would I go? Tapas do that to a person. Tapas make you crazy! The best place in Spain for tapas is San Sebastian. Located in the Basque Country, of Spain, it is nestled between the mountains and the sea which makes it even more perfect for tapa exploration.
In Logrono, there are two or three streets filled with nothing but bars and tapas restaraunts. There is even one (my favorite one) that only sells champis or mushrooms on a baguette. Of course, they aren’t just mushrooms.They are delicious mushrooms you have never even dreamed of, drizzled with garlic and olive oil and accompanied with a cold glass of beer. They are everything and they are perfect.
Even though the tapas are the main event and I crave daily, the idea of tapas and the experience around it is what has me muy contenta! There was nothing I enjoyed more than planning a tapas date with friends. We would try and make a decision of which tapas bar to go to, sit around and select the ‘pinxos’ or tapas that normally sit on plates at the bar. It’s on an honor system normally, the waiter counts your toothpicks when you are ready to go and charges you for how many you have. I normally had quite a few! Drinking txakoli, or Basque white wine, and talking into the wee hours of the night with my girlfriends is an experience I cherish whole-heartedly.
If you want to whip up some amazing authentic tapas and have your own fiesta for some of your lucky friends, here is the first tapa of the series to impress your friends and up your Spanish street cred.
Escalivada de Veduras con Romesco
Romesco has to be by far my favorite spanish sauce, I could eat it with everything and anything. It goes perfect with vegetables though, eggplants, bell peppers, onions or leeks, squash or tomatoes, romesco is Gods gift to verduras and to us. This magical sauce goes well with seafood and meats alike.
To start, gather these ingredients:
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 ñora chili peppers
1 red bell pepper
3 plump tomatoes
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 pieces (1 oz) of crunchy bread
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
First, place the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt in aluminum foil at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. You can also add your bread in the oven so it gets crisp and golden brown. After the 20 minutes and the vegetables are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of the tomatoes.
Then, place the ñora chilies in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 15 minutes. Strain them and make sure the seeds are removed. I recommend doing this while the other ingredients are in the oven.
In your food processor pour in the almonds, hazelnuts and noras, as well as the vegetables and garlic that you warmed up in the oven. Add a bit more olive oil and a dash of black pepper. Most importantly, add the two pieces of bread to the processor as well. Be sure to tear it up into pieces, just enough to that it’s easy to blend. If anything gets stuck, just add a tad bit more olive oil to keep it going. To top it off, add your vinegar.
Blend until the ingredients are pureed together into a thick sauce and add salt.
Slice pieces of bread like in the photos above and get a nice dollop of romesco on there and spread it around. Slice peppers or any of your preferred vegetables and place atop the sauce. Here, I used slices of green and yellow peppers that I cooked in the oven for 20 minutes with olive oil and salt.
You can even serve the romesco in a ramekin or bowl and add a variety of cooked vegetables and bread on a plate for dipping.
Enjoy your tapas and come back for the next tapas recipe on the menu!