Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spain: Why We Love Those Little Tins in Our Pantry

This dish exploits the Spanish infatuation with canned seafood. They do a marvelous job of cramming superb fish into cans; tuna, sardines, anchovies, but also octopus, and all packed in olive oil! Let’s admit that imported canned seafood is expensive. But it’s worth it and it’s always there waiting for you in your pantry when you are hungry.

Octopus Tartine w/salad of romaine
Ingredients per person:
1 slice baguette cut on the bias (the tartine)
1 can octopus packed in olive oil (preferably Ortiz)
1 clove of garlic, sliced
Grey salt
1 tsp of Piment d’Esplette or other good Spanish pimento (aka paprika).
Lemon juice
Chopped flat leaf parsley

Begin by addressing the baguette with a serrated bread knife, “bon jour Monsieur baguette.” Turn the baguette on its side and make a long bias cut giving you a slice about 8” to 10” long, with one thin end and one thick end. Lightly toast in the oven and set on a serving plate.

Open the tin and drain the olive oil into a pan set over low heat. Add the garlic to color lightly and then add the octopus. Stir in salt, piment and lemon juice. Continue to cook until heated through. The octopus will already be quite tender. Finish with chopped parsley.

Carefully pour the pan juices over the bread on its serving plate. Spoon the remaining contents of the pan onto the bread. E’ voila!

Romaine salad

1 heart of romaine
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
Fresh thyme
Fresh lavender
Salt and Pepper

Slice romaine crosswise into 1” ribbons. In a pyrex measuring cup combine the dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Dress the romaine. Serve on the side.

Source information: This all sounds very easy but quality tinned Spanish seafood can be difficult to find. I’ve found to be extremely reliable in quality and variety.

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