This is a bit of a mish mash of different mezze & tapas dishes that I wanted to try. I bought a tin of whole roasted peppers after seeing Jamie Oliver stuff them with ground almonds, Manchego cheese and breadcrumbs for one of his 30 Minute Meals. This is a tin of Pimientos del Piquillo.
This is taken from Iberia Nature “Pimientos del piquillo (piquillo peppers) come from Navarra. These small red peppers are charred over wood charcoal or old vines, then peeled by hand, marinated in olive oil with herbs, and eventually eaten either alone, in a salad or stuffed. The flavour of canned or jarred piquillo peppers is so extraordinary Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Ferran Adrià and many other famous chefs use them. Indeed 99% of Spain’s cooks (amateurs or pros) use canned or jarred piquillos. In general, I’d never recommend a canned product over a fresh one, but in this instance I will. In the case of piquillos, the essential flavour may actually be enhanced by the preservation, and the texture is definitely improved”.
Here in Andalucia one of the most popular ingredients used for stuffing the peppers is Bacalao, (salt cod) mixed with a kind of bechamel sauce. I have been caught out before in tapas bars when we first came here thinking the stuffing was mashed potato because that is what it looks like. Also when you ask most Spanish people if something is vegetarian they say yes even if it contains fish. I have always wanted to make a my own version of this dish as it looks so appealing. I used some leftover mashed potato mixed with Jamie’s ground almonds, Manchego cheese, breadcrumbs and sherry (Jerez) vinegar to create the stuffing and used a piping bag to fill them. Much easier than trying to do it with a spoon.
Another recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while is Foul Mdammas. A Middle Eastern dish made with fava beans/broad beans, tomatoes, lemon juice herbs & spices it is a fresh & seasonal salad. The recipe came from the beautiful Orange Blossom Water . I used frozen broad beans for this recipe which I peeled after cooking but you don’t have to. I just prefer the bright green colour and don’t really like the texture of the outer skins. I topped my Foul with some crumbled Feta because I couldn’t resist.
I haven’t made Hummus for a long time which is strange because it used to be my favourite thing. I think I may have OD’d on it slightly. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it was all that I ate for a long time when we had the restaurant. I didn’t have time to eat properly so I would just grab some crackers and hummus. I, not surprisingly, got sick of it and never wanted to see it again. I think I am now ready to rediscover it’s charms as a delicious, nutritious snack high in protein, fibre and iron.
Of course you need some sort of bread on a mezze / tapas plate. Something to use as a vehicle for all the delicious goodies. A scoop or shovel, if you like, to carry the food to your mouth. I bought some Atta the other day which is a soft wholemeal flour used for making chapattis. This was the perfect excuse to debut the new purchase.
I followed the recipe on the back of the flour packet and added in the flavours from my Leek & Fennel Seed Flatbreads to spice them up a bit. So there you have it, my justification for the fabulous fusion of flavours on one plate. I’ve said it before, the southern coast of Spain is only eight miles from Morocco at the narrowest point across the Atlantic. Well that’s my excuse anyway….
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers Recipe
serves 2 or 3 as a tapa, vegetarian, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals
- 1 jar/tin pimientos del piquillo or whole roasted peppers there are 8 in a 450 gr tin
- some cold mashed potato (about 2 potatoes worth)
- about 50 gr Manchego cheese, grated
- 50 gr ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary plus extra for topping
- 1/2 tsp sherry (Jerez) vinegar (or balsamic)
- salt & black pepper
- wholemeal breadcrumbs
- olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Put the cold mash, manchego, almonds, chopped rosemary, Jerez vinegar, salt & pepper into a processor or bowl and blend until incorporated. Taste for seasoning.
Put the mixture into a piping bag (or freezer bag with a corner cut off) and pipe the mixture into the peppers until full. Put in an ovenproof roasting dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, some chopped rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
Foul Mdammas Recipe
serves 2 or 3 as part of a mezze, vegetarian. Adapted from Orange Blossom Water
- 200 gr frozen broad beans
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
- the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp preserved lemon peel, chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- parsley leaves and Feta (optional) for garnish
Cook the beans according to the instructions on the pack, drain under cold water and peel when cool enough to handle. You don’t have to peel them but I think it tastes much fresher. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the garnish and mix well. Check seasoning and serve garnished with extra parsley leaves & some crumbled Feta if you like.
My Hummus Recipe
makes about 5oo gr, vegan
- 1 tin/ jar cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed & dried
- 2 or 3 tbsp tahini paste
- the juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped preserved lemon peel (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp yemeni lemon pickle (optional)
- salt & black pepper
- sesame seeds
- chilli oil
Put everything (except sesame seeds & chilli oil) in a food processor or bowl and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt/lemon juice/tahini/olive oil if required. Hummus is such a personal thing you need to tailor it to your taste. Blend again and store in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to serve, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and a little chilli oil (or olive oil).
Leek & Fennel Seed Wholemeal Chapattis Recipe
makes 4, vegetarian
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 leeks, cut in half lengthways, rinsed and finely sliced
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes
- salt & black pepper
- 300 gr wholemeal chapatti Atta (or wholemeal bread flour)
- cold water
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the fennel seeds and when they start to pop add in the leeks, chilli flakes a pinch of salt and black pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes until the leeks are cooked and slightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Put the flour into a large bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and mix. When cooled stir the leeks through the flour to distribute evenly. Add cold water bit by bit until you have a stiff dough and it stays together in a ball. Knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Divide the dough into four balls and roll each ball out on a floured surface to about 2 or 3 mm thick. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the chapattis turning frequently until golden brown. Rub with a little oil or ghee and keep warm under a clean tea towel (or warm oven) while you cook the rest. Serve immediately.