Monday, June 15, 2009

Let's go for tapas!

Bread with tomato

I must confess something: I have never gone to bars for tapas. Yes, I have been living for almost ten years in Spain; yes, some of my favorite ingredients are typically Spanish (like the olive oil, and I enjoy oilves and beans as well), but I have not had my "tapas" experience yet. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I live near Barcelona. Another thing I must confess: although "Chronicles of a Russian vegan girl living in Barcelona" is written in the header of the blog, I don't live in Barcelona city, but in a town 45 minutes from it. But nobody knows where is Cunit (do you?), so I wrote Barcelona and I didn't bat an eyelid. Did I cheat? Maybe, but just a little bit. Well, as I was telling, I live in Barcelona, where there is not as traditional as in other places of Spain to eat tapas. One of the main rules when you go to eat tapas, is that you don't go to just one bar, but to many. But nowadays people have so little time that a quick tapa is common too.

Why I am talking about tapas? First of all, because I have wrote about Russian food and even Polish food, but never Spanish food (and I am living in Spain!). And when it's about Spanish food, tapas are as ineludible as paella, bean stews or Iberian ham (unfortunately, many traditional Spanish dishes are not vegetarian friendly, but can be adapted easily. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Spanish wont't agree to substitute Iberian ham on their sandwich with seitan or tofu). A lot of recipes can be classified as "tapas", from gazpacho to "pinchos" (little snacks on cocktail sticks), not forgetting Spanish omelette, croquettes or just canapés. The important thing is that they are served in small portion, so you can taste many different tapas.

And the other reason why I am writing this post is because I decided to participate in another blog event (can one become addict to blog events?): The june edition of "Waiter, there is something in my....", which theme this time is tapas. This time the event is hosted by Spitton Extra. The event started in January 2007, and is hosted in rotation by Spitton Extra, Passionate cook and Cook sister.

I thought about going creative, and create some very imaginative and unusual tapa (maybe veganazing some non-vegetarian tapa. What about chickpeas "spanish" tortilla?), but finally I decided to do the easiest but one of the most autenthic tapas: bread with tomato. It's as easy as it sounds, but more delicious than you can imagine. If you go to Spain, you will have difficulties to find some Spanish who puts butter on its sandwich. In fact, "buttery" sandwiches where a bigger headache for my classmates when we went to England on a school exchange than the language (at that moment, I was not vegan yet, so I had no problem because butter is widely used in Russian cuisine). Instead of butter Spanish use olive oil, and now that I am vegan is one of the things I like the most about Spanish cuisine. But I don't want to entretain you more, so here you have the recipe. Enjoy! =)

I also chose that tapa because is typically Catalonian. They call it "pà amb tomaquet", and it's the base of all the sandwiches (not only in Catalonia). But you don't need to make a sandwich because it's so tasty that it is usually eaten alone. It's very important to choose high quality ingredients: the best bread is the called "pan de pagès", a rustic bread, which is slightly toasted. An extra virgin olive oil, dense and fragant is also crucial. But I wanted to go further and I topped my "pan con tomate" (in Spanish) or "pà amb tomaquet" (in Catalonian) with baked red bell pepper. The best would have been the "piquillo pepper", a smaller red bell peppers which come from Navarra, but any would work.

Bread with tomato and baked red bell pepper

Serves: 2

- 2 slice of rustic bread

- 1 tomato, halved

- 1 clove of garlic, halved

- a few slices of baked red bell pepper

- extra virgin olive oil


1. Toast each slice of bread and rub them with the garlic.

2. Rub them as well with a halve of the tomato: it must be "juicy". Splash with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

3. Put a slice or two of baked red bell pepper on top and enjoy =)

Pan con tomate y pimientos asados

Hace 2 porciones

- 2 rebanadas de pan rústico

-1 tomate, partido por la mitad

-1 diente de ajo, partido por la mitad

-unas cuantas tiras de pimiento rojo asado

-aceite virgen extra

1. Tuesta cada rebanada y frótalas con el ajo.

2. Frótalas también con el tomate: tiene que ser jugoso. Rocía con un buen chorro de aceite de olive y añade la sal.

3. Pon una tira o dos de pimiento rojo encima y disfruta.


iRaw said...

This looks delicious and your photos are amazing! I love red bell pepper, especially roasted or grilled, it's so very good. And I'm glad to be able to leave comments now!!

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