How you know you’re not in Kansas anymore: the gentleman at the table next to you is chomping on a breaded, fried, round, bone-in cut of meat that looks like someone cut a horizontal section out of an animal’s leg. When you inquire, he tells you it is bull’s tail. Ah yes, of course.
Madrid, June 2010
This last week in Spain was filled with more culinary foibles and adventures than usual.
Though I did not accidentally nosh on pig’s ears or bull tail myself, there were ordering mishaps and forgotten dishes aplenty and an mistaken dish incident that nearly escalated into a scene in a crowded restaurant.
There are Some Things You Can’t Bring Home
Still, Madrid may be my favorite city for comida. I try to go once a year or so just to be there.
The day begins with a cafe con leche and any one of the disarmingly delectable pastries from La Mallorquina and ends with churros y chocolate from San Gines after a night on the town and plenty of tapas.
And the best part? The bill is usually on a couple euros per stop.
And Some Things You Can
On this trip, I noshed on old favorites, traditional dishes I hadn’t tried before, and yummy new creations. I’ve compiled the best of my tapeando to share with you.
Menu de Tapas de Madrid 2010
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Brie with Jam
- Goat Cheese Cakes with Caramelized Onions
- Potato Wrapped Mini Chorizos
- Ensalada Campera
- Huevos Rotos
- Pimientos de Padron
All of these dishes come together quickly, but there is more assembly required than my usual meal. Because tapas are meant to be bite-sized, a number of these dishes are made in toothpick sized portions (prosciutto-wraped brie, mini chorizos, and goat cheese cakes). But besides abundant toothpicks, you should keep a healthy amount of sliced bread on hand to balance out the cheese and meat heavy bites.
Don’t forget to serve some Spanish wine to complement the food. Rioja is always a safe bet, and the white Rioja from Marques de Carceres is always a real winner (and inexpensive). The light taste is perfect in the summer time and for that “it goes down like water; how did I drink so much?” factor. Cava (Freixenet is my favorite) and Txacoli (if you can find it) will add some festive bubbles to your gathering.
- Preheat the oven and heat the water for the eggs and potatoes for the salad.
- Chop the onions and begin caramelizing. Boil the potatoes and hard boil the eggs.
- Chop the potatoes for the huevos and the chorizo.
- Start cooking the huevos on the stovetop.
- Assemble the potato-wrapped sausage and pop in the oven.
- Cut the brie into rectangles, top with jam, and wrap with prosciutto.
- Chop the ingredients for the ensalada campera and combine in a large serving bowl
- Pan fry the pimientos and goat cheese cakes.
- Salt the peppers and top the goat cheese with caramelized onions.