10.11 – Pintxos Domingo (uno)

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After spending 2 weeks in Spain last month, Danielle and I returned to New York with a new found love for Spanish finger food, “Pintxos,” and a strong desire to subject our Sunday Dinner crowd to our attempts to recreate. The menu became more and more ambitious as we thought through all of the amazing things we ate on the road, so I will post a digestible amount of recipes this week, followed by additional recipes in 2 weeks when I stage Pintxos Domingo Dos for my family in Rochester.

But first, to show-off my new culinary Spanish ability:

Carta:

~Entrantes~
2 types of Olives, home-curred and Spanish Imports
Gazpacho
Illegally imported Spanish sausage (ssssshh, don’t tell)
Jamon Iberico
Queso Manchego
Anchoas en aceite con ajo

~Pintxo~
Chipirones y tinta
Morcilla
Tarta de Chorizo con huevos de codorniz
Croquetas de jamon Serrano
Atun con aji picante
El hígado de oca con balsamic
Queso de cabra con miel y los higos

~Platos~
Tortilla con pan con tomate

~Postres~
Creme Catalan con los higos

~Bebidas~
Cardenal Mendoza Brandy / Solera Gran Reserva

~

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Tarta de Chorizo con huevos de codorniz
(Chorizo Tarts with Quails Eggs)

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Pastry:
* It’s best to make pastry the day before baking and chill over night
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick butter (1/2 lb), very cold
3oz Cream Cheese, very cold

Filling:
2-3 links Chorizo Picante (spicey)
24 Fresh Quails Eggs
2 tbsp butter for frying eggs

Equipment:
1 24-slot Mini muffin tin

To make dough:
In a  food processor fitted with a metal blade, add flour and salt and pulse to mix. Take butter and cream cheese directly from the fridge and cut into cubes. Add to food processor and pulse until just combined.

Turn dough out on a floured surface, and as quickly/with as little handling as possible, form the dough into a 2-1/2 ” x 6″  log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Over night is best.

To make tarts:
Spray mini muffin tray with cooking spray to ensure that tarts come out after baking.

Take dough from the fridge and using a sharp chefs knife, slice 1/4″ slices to make 24 even disks. Warm each slice for a few seconds between your hands until the dough bends without breaking apart. Gently settle each slice into the muffin tin slots to form a rustic looking crust cup.

After filling all slots, place tin in the freezer for a half hour to firm up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chop chorizo into a fine dice, about the size of bacon bits. Take tin from the freezer and spoon Chorizo into each cup until even with the top of the pastry.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until crusts begin to brown. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes then remove tarts from tin and arrange on a serving tray.

In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp butter and gently crack 12 quail eggs into the pan.

Fry 2-3 minutes until yolk is set, but sill runny.

Top each tart with one egg and repeat with the remaining dozen eggs (melt tbsp butter, then crack and fry).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Danielle recommends stabbing your egg before eating to maximize yolk-sausage coverage.

~

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Croquetas de Jamon Serrano
(Serrano Ham Croquettes)

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Filling (Bechamel):
5 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
2 cups room-temperature or slightly warmed 2% milk
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt, Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese
1/4 lb Serrano ham, minced

Breading:
1 cup flour
2 eggs, scrambled
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
kosher salt
2 cups peanut or grape seed oil (for frying)

Make filling 2-3 hours before frying to allow time to fully cool.

Croquetas are best served freshly fried, and can be kept warm for a few hours in the oven prior to serving. However, we have had luck reheating in the oven by baking for 10 minutes at 350 if you prefer to make a day ahead.

To Fill:
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir for a about a minute until you can small the flour cooking. Using a wire wisk slowly wisk in milk. Continue to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan as you do, until mixture boils (don’t walk away and leave it or it will burn and you’ll need to start over).

After about 1 minute of bubbles remove the pan from heat and mix in ham, cheese, and seasonings to taste. Let stand about a half hour on the counter to cool, then chill in the fridge at least 2 hours. Mixture should be thick like dense mashed potatoes.

To Fry:
Add oil to a dutch oven or large cast iron pot. You can also use a deep fryer or crock-pot with a fry setting if you prefer.  You should have about 1.5″ of oil in the pan, depth-wise.

Heat oil on medium while you form the croquetas.

Add flour to a wide, shallow bowl (Tin foil pie plates work nicely). Add panko to a separate wide, shallow bowl. Crack two eggs into a 3rd wide, shallow bowl and scramble.

Place wax paper on a large cookie sheet.

Working in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, place about 2 tbsp of filling in the palm of your hand and shape loosely into a ball or oval shape (like a fat mozzarella stick). This does not need to be prefect, just approximate, as you can fix the shape more easily while applying the panko.

Roll shaped filling in first flour, then egg mixture, then panko and set on wax paper to rest. Try to use one hand for flour and panko, and the other hand for the egg to avoid mixing gooey egg in the dry ingredients.

After all croquetas are formed (you should get about 20-24), place cookie sheet in fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.

Toss a piece of panko into the oil to test the heat. The crumb should immediately sizzle and begin browning. Once the oil is hot, add 4-6 croqueta at a time . Avoid over-crowding as this will drop the temperature of the oil and result in a less crisp crust and more oil retention in the dough (yuck).

After a few minutes check for a nice golden color and flip croqueta to fry the second side. When the whole croqueta is golden brown remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt to taste.

Serve warm.

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~

Creme Catalan con los higos
(Creme Catalan is like a Creme Brule – we added figs)

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6-10 ripe figs (optional)
6 tbsp corn starch
6 cups 2% milk
6 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of one whole lemon
Sugar to brule on top (optional)

Equipment:
6 heat-safe ramekins or cazuelas

Peel figs and slice into small pieces and arrange in the bottom of cazuelas.

In a small bowl, combine corn starch and 1/2 cup milk. Stir slowly until starch absorbs into a gluey, but even paste.

In a large pot, away from heat, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until they form a creamy consistency. Whisk in milk until thoroughly combined, then add a cinnamon stick and the zest of one whole lemon.

Place pot over medium heat, stirring constantly.  After a few minutes, re-stir corn starch and slowly add to pot while stirring the custard. Continue to stir until custard boils. (If you stop stirring the lack of movement will cause the egg yolks to cook too quickly, resulting in scrambled eggs. Medium heat and an attentive stir will prevent this every time.)

At the first sign of bubbles remove custard from heat and continue stirring a few minute until partially cool. Custard should to be thick and creamy.

Pour custard into prepared cazuelas over the figs and let stand until dessert. These are best served at room temperature and should not be made in advance of the night they will be eaten.

To serve, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp sugar evenly over the top of the custards one at a time and torch until sugar bubbles brown. (If you sugar all custards before torching, the sugar can dissolve into the custard and not caramelize correctly, so do it one at a time.)

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~

Results
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While delicious to eat, Pintxo are a poor choice for Sunday Dinner.  Helpings are nearly impossible to define. I have instead included quotes,which are non-scientific, and should be used directionally.

JL (napping after large amounts of food):

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“you are the pintxos master of the universe”

Nick (eating his first anchovy):

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“Still in awe about the awesomeness of Sunday
Dinner with @keresch. Fantastic food and a
great time.”

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Brad (picture not taken at our dinner party):

“in case i wasn’t clear on sunday: that was the best meal ever.”

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