A Taste of Spain – Taste Cooks Club Challenge March 2012

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Dessert, How to, Rice, Seafood, Soup, Uncategorized

I nominated myself to contribute to Taste’s forum’s cooks club challenge this year. Each month taste has a member set a cooking challenge for the forum community. This month, my theme is Spanish. Following on from our wonderful holiday in Spain last year. I have based my dishes on specialty region dishes, learnt at a Spanish Cooking Class in Barcelona, Cook and Taste. A cooking school which was tucked away in a little alley in the historic Barri Gotic. Unfortunately we can’t obtain all of the Spanish ingredients such as cheese and their beautiful tomatoes, which are hung and can be eaten months later. However I have substituted and still ended up with a delicious dish. My faithful followers will get first view of my challenge that will go live on the forum March 1. I hoped it would be sooner. However had problems with uploading the images and needed to wait for my wonderfully patient husband to come home and help! The dishes chosen consist of Paella De Marisco (seafood paella) with Valencian origins, Chupito De Sopa De Tomate Al Aroma De Idiazabal (shot of tomato soup with idiazabal smoked cheese) and Catalana Crème the Catalan version of Crème Brulee made with fragrant lemon and cinnamon.

PAELLA DE MARISCO (Seafood paella)
While we used a stock that was already made and a paella made with meats in our class. I decided to make a seafood version. I made the stock myself, which I believe gave the dish a further depth. Coral trout was a perfect choice not only because it cost us a whole of $3.50 for a bag of three! But more so due to its pearly white flesh and delicate sweet flavour.

Fish Stock

Recipe By: Me
Serving Size: L
Main Ingredient: Fish bones
Categories: Fish, Stock, Seafood

-= Ingredients =-
1kg White fish bones/ heads
1 x onion, finely chopped
1 x carrot, chopped
1 x bay leaf
1 x handful of fresh parsley
1 x cup of white wine
2L water
Pepper to season

Wash fish and remove any eyes from fish heads as they will bitter your stock. Heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, then add washed fish bones. Stir until fish starts to whiten, add wine, water and all remaining ingredients and bring pan to a simmer. Don’t allow to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain, removing any scum that may float to the surface. Refrigerate for up to a day, freeze for up to a month.

Paella De Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Recipe By: originating from Cook & Taste workshop
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: Spanish
Main Ingredient: Prawns
Categories: Seafood, Rice/Risotto

-= Ingredients =-
8 x prawns
2 x squids ; (or cuttlefish), in rings
500g x clams and / or mussels ; (1.1 pound / 17.5 oz)
3 x cloves of garlic ; peeled, crushed
1 x tomato ; peeled, minced
6 x tablespoons of olive oil
400g x rice ; (1 pound / 14 oz)
1.5L x fish stock ; (4.4 cups)
8 -10 saffron threats or colouring
Handful of fresh herbs ie dill, parsley

-= Instructions =-
Cut squid into rings. Peel prawns and devein.
To remove the tomato skin, score the base of the tomato in a X lightly. Place tomatoes into water that has boiled for five minutes then remove. The skin should slide with ease. Chop finely or mince.
Boil stock.
Add saffron threads to an piece of alfoil folded over and wave over cooking element until fragrant. This slightly roasts the saffron and adds further depth. Be careful not to burn and check regularly. Add saffron to stock.
Heat the oil in the pan and fry the prawns until slightly cooked, only a couple of minutes max, so as not to overcook. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the tomato in the same hot oil and fry slightly. After a few minutes, add chopped garlic and fry over medium heat.
When the tomato starts to release it’s juices and brown, stir in the squid, the clams and/or the mussels.
Add the rice at this point and fry for a few minutes, until well coated. Then stir in the stock (it should be already boiling). Rice can’t be touched beyond this point!
Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for (+/-) 8 minutes, rotating and swirling the pan to distribute the heat evenly. Reduce heat to minimum and cook (+/-) 10 more minutes.
At the last moment add the prawns in a decorative pattern just to heat them up and any fresh herbs.
Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

The second dish was an amazing cold tomato soup that I haven’t made in Oz yet. As I was hoping some veteran foodies might have some suggestions on an appropriate substitute cheese. I have made it though from this recipe only in Spain.

CHUPITO DE SOPA DE TOMATE AL AROMA DE IDIAZÁBAL (Shot of tomato soup flavoured with idiazábal smoked cheese)

Recipe By: Cook and Taste cooking workshop
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: Spanish
Main Ingredient: Tomatoes

-= Ingredients =-
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
20 gram idiazábal cheese ; gr
20 ; gr of allioli sauce
2 ; desert spoons of balsamic vinegar
1 ; clove of garlic
25 ; gr of walnuts
25 ; gr of hazelnuts
olive ; oil

-= Instructions =-
Peel the tomatoes, seed and blend them together with the vinegar and a pinch of salt.
In a mortar, pound the garlic cloves, the parsley and all the nuts. Emulsify with a little of olive oil.
Serve in a cup and decorate with a teaspoon of the pesto from the mortar, a teaspoon of allioli and some grated cheese.

Crema Catalana

I love this recipe but found that the 20g they had of corn starch wasn’t enough. Unfortunately my torch had run out of gas so I couldn’t recreate the perfect crema catalana.

Recipe By: Cook & Taste cooking workshop
Serving Size: 4
Cuisine: Spanish
Main Ingredient: Lemon
Categories: Sweets, Desserts

-= Ingredients =-
3 each egg yolks
100 gram sugar ;
1/2 litre of milk ;
30 gram Corn starch
½ Lemon ; peel
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tspn vanilla
Extra raw sugar

-= Instructions =-
Blend the egg yolks and the sugar until it becomes a fine cream. Add 375 ml of milk and stir to get a good mixture. Add the lemon peel and the cinnamon.
Heat it over medium-high heat in a saucepan.
Meanwhile, dissolve the starch in the remaining milk and stir the mixture into the saucepan.
Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and set aside at first bubble.
Let it cool for a while, still stirring, and distribute it in little earthenware dishes before it cools down completely. Just before serving add some raw sugar sprinkled on top before heating it with a gas blow torch. This crystallises the sugar and gives the dessert another texture, cracking into the crema catalana.

  1. Nicky Jurd says:

    For the replacement for Idiazábal cheese you could try Manchego which is a firm, aged sheep’s milk cheese. You can get it regularly from Epicurean Gold… it’s my favourite cheese! It’s not smoked though 😦

    For a smokey cheese Vanella make a smoked mozarella called scamorza which might be a worthy substitute. It’s a much younger cheese though, you get get it at Il Convivio.

    I’d love to try making the soup! I’ll bring the cheese if you walk me through it 🙂

  2. Nicky Jurd says:

    Yeah the tomatoes are really tough actually, it seems everyone’s tomatoes are better than ours because they were also sensational in the USA.

  3. […] A Taste of Spain – Taste Cooks Club Challenge March 2012 (itsnotartitsdinner.wordpress.com) […]

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