Tomato and Chorizo Salad and 11 Things I Learned in Sevilla

Mr. F and I spent the beginning of 2011 fulfilling our dream of travelling around Europe. We spent a lot of our time in different parts of Spain – hitting the major cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia and spending a larger chunk of time in Sevilla and San Sebastian.

This time last year we had just arrived for a month-long stay in the Southern city of Sevilla in Andalucía. Not knowing much about the city or the region, our 5 weeks there were full of new discoveries.

11 (mostly food-and-drink-related) Things I Learned in Sevilla:

  1. Sevilla is the hottest city in Europe. Don’t go there in summer, the Old City is essentially an oven and will cook you.
  2. You will never regret spending money on jamón.
  3. Siestas are totally necessary. By 3pm, the sun is at its hottest and the only thing you will want to do is nap. Plus, everyone else is doing it.
  4. Sangria is for tourists. Don’t order it unless you want to drink straight sugar with a hint of cheap wine.
  5. Don Simon pre-made sangria is one of cheapest alcoholic beverages you can buy in a Spanish supermarket.
  6. Shop for food at the mercado not the supermercado.
  7. The tapas crawl is a spectacular invention.
  8. Do not buy Spanish wine that is not D.O. or D.O.C. certified. If it doesn’t have the Denominación de Origen Calificada stamp on it, it is very possible that you are drinking vinegar that may or may not get you drunk.
  9. City-wide bike hire systems are awesome when properly executed. (Sevilla 1, Brisbane 0.)
  10. I can pack a mean picnic.
  11. Chorizo should be involved in most things. (Technically not learned in Sevilla, but reinforced.)

Jamie Oliver, bless him, prepared this salad in an Andalucian field. I made it in my kitchen and it still turned out pretty well.

For some bonus authenticity: pronounce it choreetho like the Spaniards and Jamie do!

Tomato and Chorizo Salad
adapted just slightly from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

– 3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used cherry)
– 1 small red onion, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
– 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
– 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
– 1/4 cup basil, chopped
– salt and pepper
– 1 chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds
– 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Combine chopped tomatoes, onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, parsley, half of the basil and a bit of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add chorizo and cook, tossing occasionally until the chorizo it deeply browned and the natural, orange oils have been released. Add the garlic to the pan and toss quickly. Turn off the heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 20-30 seconds. Finish off the pan with the last tablespoon of white wine vinegar and let simmer in the pan for another minute.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo and garlic from the oil and pour over the salad. Reserve oil for later use (Jamie suggests using it with some chicken.) Scatter salad with remaining basil and serve with crusty bread.

Jamie also suggests serving this with a small glass of sherry, I say a large glass of Rioja, D.O.C. of course.

Chili: Always a Good Time

Veggie-Packed Black Bean Chili

It’s been unseasonably rainy and cool in Sydney lately, save the beautiful weekend that just past. Since it’s expected to carry on like this for another month (I don’t think this has anything to do with Ground Hog’s Day, but I can’t be sure) – it’s best to just happily embrace it.

At least undesirable weather gives me an excuse to cook hearty meals that make staying inside a little more fun. And let’s face it: a big pot of chili is always a good time!

Don’t worry, I have a garnish that will make the meat lovers come around to this otherwise vegetarian chili. A generous sprinkling of crispy chorizo on top of this colorful chili will kick it into omnivore territory and add another layer of smokey flavor.

Good tortilla chips, avocado and a nice sharp cheddar are strongly encouraged as additional garnishes.

Veggie-Packed Black Bean Chili
(Serves 4-6)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 large (5 small) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium sized red pepper, roughly chopped
1 medium sized green pepper, roughly chopped
2 cups squash or pumpkin, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce
3 cups of cooked black beans
1 cup of corn kernels (canned or frozen and thawed works)
1 can (1 1/2 cups) of diced tomatoes
1 cup water
Salt
1 chorizo sausage, finely diced and browned in a pan until crispy (optional)
In a large pot with a lid, heat olive oil over a medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for about 3-4 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add peppers (both red and green) and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant, stirring often. Add squash and carrot, cook for another 2 minutes.
Add spices and stir to coat the onions, pepper, and pumpkin and cook for 1 minute. Pour black beans, corn, tomatoes, and water in the pot and stir to combine everything well and season with salt, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
Cook covered for 30 minutes, stirring gently every five minutes or so. Test the squash, if tender then you’re good to go, although this does benefit for sitting covered and warm for an hour or so and then re-heating when ready to eat.
For meat-lovers chorizo garnish: place diced chorizo in a dry pan heated over a medium-high heat. Let cook until the oils are released and the chorizo is deep golden brown. Scatter over individual bowlfuls along with any other garnishes desired.
Notes:

  • Butternut squash is particularly good for holding its shape. For tips on pealing and dicing your squash, here’s a Food52 video.
  • If I have leftover roasted squash on hand, I’ll use that instead – cut it into 1-inch chunks and add to the pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • If I can’t find chipotle peppers in Adobo (like when I’m in Australia) I use 2 tablespoons of smokey BBQ sauce.

Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Pesto

+ Green Veg-Packed Pasta with Chorizo

I feel like sometimes I don’t let broccoli live up to its full potential.

This, however, is not about one of those times.

I had a big bunch of steamed broccoli sitting in a Tupperware container in my fridge, which I had the vague intention of throwing into salads over the next couple of days. But something just didn’t feel right. I decided I needed to do something special with that broccoli.

Pesto is special. So are dips. And so is roasted garlic. Let’s do it, I said (to myself, in my head). Let’s blend that broccoli with soft, sweet roasted garlic cloves, salty Parmesan, fresh basil and some spicy chilli flakes and find many glorious uses for this combination.

So I did. And it was (glorious).

I spread my broccoli pesto on toast with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan. I had it on some crackers with a slice of tomato and little hot sauce. And I put it on spiralini pasta with peas, wilted spinach, and crispy pieces of chorizo – which was possibly the most excellent use to date.

I still have yet to try it on a baked potato, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or as a topping for some grilled fish – but I’m looking forward to all those things!

Broccoli & Roasted Garlic Pesto/Spread
– 1 1/2 cups of broccoli, steamed
– 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
– 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
– 6-8 roasted garlic cloves (outer husks removed)
– pinch of red chili flakes
– salt & pepper

To steam broccoli: place in vegetable steamer over boiling water and cook covered for 4-5 minutes, until soft but still bright green.

To roast garlic: Take an entire head of garlic and cut off the base (the woody end). Place on an oiled  piece of aluminum foil (big enough to wrap the garlic in) and stand the bulb upright on its newly trimmed bottom. Loosely wrap the bulb in foil and place on the oven rack.  Bake for 35-40 minutes in a 200 C/400 F oven until your garlic cloves take on a caramelized color. Squeeze garlic out of their dry husks to use.

For pesto: Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree. If it’s too thick, add a little more olive oil. I kept mine on the thicker side, so it was more of a spread to start out with.

This should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or you can freeze it in small portions and thaw as needed.

Green Veg-Packed Pasta with Chorizo
I didn’t include amounts here, as I think you can judge how much of each ingredient you’d like. I will say that I used about a cup of  fresh spinach for each serving. I also ended up topping my pasta with only a tablespoon or tablespoon and a half of the diced chorizo. Because it’s so flavorful, I don’t need very much – but that’s just me. 
What you need:
– Pasta (I used a spiral kind, because I thought it would catch the flavors more)
– Peas, cooked
– Spinach
– Broccoli Pesto
– Chorizo sausage, diced into small pieces
– Parmesan, grated, to garnish

Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes, until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, brown the chorizo in a medium pan over a medium-high heat (no need to oil the pan, the chorizo has enough fat going on). Once browned (about 5 minutes) remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan add a little olive oil and wilt the spinach down over a medium heat (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and add broccoli pesto and peas.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss pasta in the pan with the pesto, spinach and peas – adding a little pasta water to thin the pesto out and help the sauce stick to the pasta. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, to prevent from making it too watery.

Serve in bowls with diced chorizo and grated Parmesan on top.

Two Ways With Red Cabbage

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I’ll admit, cabbage is not the most exciting of subjects. But I find red cabbage, with its vibrant purple color and crunch, fun to use. (Maybe my child-like love of bright colors is playing too big a roll in creating meals, but whatever. Eating the rainbow is good for you.)

I received half of a head of red cabbage last week in my veg delivery so I thought I would try out a couple of different recipes to share with you. Both were satisfying in different ways. The first way is fresh, zingy and light with lime juice and crunchy peanuts and the second is a warm savory-spicy affair.

You excited yet? Let’s not dawdle then. I present to you, red cabbage: two ways.

Red Cabbage, Apple, Lime and Peanut Slaw (serves 4 as a side)
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Lime and Peanut Coleslaw Recipe

1/4 of a large red cabbage, very thinly chopped or shredded
1 pink lady apple cut into matchsticks
2 handfuls of coriander chopped
1 jalapeno finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

For dressing:
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing ingredients over the mixture and toss well to combine. Top with chopped roasted peanuts to serve.

Just-Wilted Red Cabbage with Chorizo and Onion (serves 2)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small brown onion, diced
1/4 cup diced chorizo (I used cured chorizo because we had it in the fridge.)
1/4 of a red cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
salt&pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan. Cook chopped onion on a medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes until it’s beginning to brown. Add chorizo and paprika and continue to cook for about 4 more minutes. (If you’re using fresh chorizo, cook a minute or two more until browned and crispy.)

Add shredded cabbage and bring the heat down to low. (You can add a tablespoon of water or two if the pan looks a little dry.) Cook covered for 5 to 6 minutes until cabbage has begun to wilt and soften but still retains a little crunch. Cook for 2 more minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Serve warm or at room temperature with a little fresh parsley or basil.

This one is even better if it sits in the fridge overnight – it softens and takes on more of the rich and spicy chorizo flavor.