Minibar, his Washington, D.C. restaurant, which seats only six, offers 30 tapas courses. Tom Sietsema, reviewing for the Washington Post says: “The high times might begin with "sangria" you eat with a spoon and end with a strip of bacon robed in chocolate flecked with a speck of gold leaf. Along the way, a team of several cooks - focused but friendly magicians who whip up edible wonders just feet from their audience - might also hand over a cloud of cotton candy that replicates Thai curry, brilliant near-liquid baby carrots, a blue-cheese-topped almond "tart" based on almond cream and liquid nitrogen, and (hang on!) prawns served with "brioche" that's just yeast-fragrant air pretending to be bread.”
Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, buried in my cookbook collection, made an appearance for a Daring Cooks' Challenges in 2009, and a Basque-themed Concert in the Park last summer. It was time to break it out again. As I browsed through the recipes and photographs, I settled on something simple, rustic and intriguing - Sandwich of dried pork loin, Manchego cheese, and quince preserve. All of the recipes in this cookbook are simple and straightforward - none require any molecular gastronomy techniques employed at minibar!
The recipe calls for Lomo Embuchado (dried cured pork loin), something totally new to me, and quince, relatively new to me, and it gave me an excuse to visit Pata Negra Market, which specializes in the import and distribution of selected regional food and wine of Spain. Chris raided the market for our Basque-themed Concert in the Park, and I remember the delectable tapas and bottle of wine he shared that evening.
We parked in the back and walked through Costa Brava, the adjoining restaurant. Of course, we couldn't resist stopping at the bar for Sangria and a few tapas.
|Costa Brava's Tapas and Sangria|
Shrimp in Garlic and Sautéed Chorizo sausage
|Gambas al Ajillo - Shrimp in Garlic|
We made the mistake of ordering just two glasses of sangria, rather than a pitcher, especially after asking for a few extra rolls to soak up that luscious garlicky-butter left over after devouring the shrimp.
After lunch, we walked over to Pata Negra Market and perused the paella pans, deli cases stocked with sausages, meats, and cheeses, wine cellar, and shelves featuring an assortment of Spanish delicacies. We grabbed a triangle of Manchego cheese, container of quince paste, and 1/4 pound of thinly sliced Lomo, and were good to go.
We thoroughly enjoyed these sandwiches for a weeknight dinner, with a side salad, but I envision smaller bruschetta versions as tapas for a fabulous party or picnic platter.
Sandwich of Dried Pork Loin, Manchego Cheese, and Quince Preserve
8 slices rustic bread
Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 block Membrillo (quince preserve), about 12 ounces, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 pound thinly sliced Lomo Embuchado (dried cured pork loin)
1/2 pound thinly sliced Manchego (Spanish sheep's milk cheese)
Brush the slices of bread with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and toast each side under the broiler until golden. Top four slices of bread with the sliced membrillo, followed by slices of pork loin, then slices of the Manchego cheese. Drizzle the Manchego with more olive oil and top each sandwich with a second slice of toasted bread.