Jul 9, 2010

Spanish flavors for World Cup partying

I'm still bummed that the U.S. didn't make it into the World Cup final this weekend. But the big match-up between Spain and the Netherlands still promises to be fun spectating and has me craving Spanish flavors. Got me thinking that it might be time to make some more gazpacho and paella.

It's the perfect time of year to make the most of the fresh veggies at the farmers' market in this recipe for gazpacho from The French Laundry. I've blogged about it before, but thought this weekend would be a good time to make it again. It's really easy to make but requires a little planning — the secret to the big flavor here — you put all the veggies in a pot together overnight in the fridge and then blend them together the next day. It's amazing how much more flavorful the end result is after that time in the fridge. And be sure to make the balsamic glaze as well. It brings out all the sweetness and flavor in the gazpacho.

If you're having folks over to watch the World Cup this weekend, this grilled paella makes the perfect party food. We had it as part of an incredible feast put on by our friends, Joanne and Larry. The recipe they used first appeared in The New York Times, but I'll always think of it as their paella and remember making it in their backyard. They used chicken, chorizo, shrimp and clams, but you could use whatever meats you like. The recipe is actually fairly simple, it just takes a bit of prep a paella pan and a grill. But it's so worth the effort.

For more Spanish flavors, check chef José Andrés web site, Jose Made in Spain. These flavor combinations make my mouth water:

• Cabrales blue cheese with apples and olive oil
• Cauliflower with olives and dates
• Cold soup of Idiazábal cheese with wild mushrooms
• Galician-style chicken empanadas
• Manchego with tomato, thyme and walnuts
• Mahon cheese with quince paste
• Sautéed green beans with garlic and Spanish ham
• Seared piquillo peppers stuffed with roncal cheese
• Seared tuna belly with sesame seeds and piquillo peppers

Recipes for all of those can be found here.

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