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Pimientos fritos

Sauteed sweet green peppers
Serves 4 to 6
These small, sweet green peppers from the north-westerly provinces of Spain, come into the market in spring and summer. They make a delicious appetiser and are best eaten with your fingers. But beware – one in every ten of these peppers turns out to be fiery hot! Padron peppers are available from Spanish greengrocers.

  • 400g small sweet green Padron peppers
  • Olive oil, for shallow frying
  • Sea salt

Rinse the peppers, leaving the stems intact, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Drizzle a little oil into a large, non-stick frying pan and heat over a high heat. Add the peppers to the pan and cook over a medium heat, turning frequently, until light brown all over. Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and drain them on crumpled kitchen paper. Put them on a serving dish and sprinkle over a little sea salt. Serve immediately.

Healthy tip: Green peppers are a great source of the antioxidant betacarotene, which is believed to protect against cancer, heart disease and strokes.

Albondigas

Meatballs in Garlic-Tomato Sauce

Meatballs:

  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
  • ½ pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Sauce:

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (33 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, including juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

In a 9-inch heavy well-seasoned skillet (preferably cast-iron) cook onion and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Cool mixture. In a large bowl combine well onion mixture, ground meat, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, and parsley. Form level tablespoons of mixture into balls (about 90). In skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown meatballs in batches (about 16 at a time), shaking skillet frequently so that meatballs maintain their shape and adding remaining 3 tablespoons oil as necessary. Transfer meatballs with a slotted spoon as browned to a bowl.
Sauce: In a heavy kettle (at least 6 quarts) cook garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and oregano and simmer, breaking up tomatoes. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, gently stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until meatballs are tender and sauce is thickened slightly. Transfer meatballs with slotted spoon to heated serving dish. If sauce seems thin, boil gently, stirring frequently, until thickened to desired consistency. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over meatballs. Meatballs and sauce may be made 2 days ahead. Let it cool uncovered and chill covered. reheat meatballs before serving.

Pollo con Jamon y Queso

This is a very handy little dish, it could be a large snack or have a couple for lunch with a salad. It goes well with verdejo, but really this is chicken for red wine. Good garnarcha would be my pick.

  • 4 Chicken thighs, skin off
  • 4 long slices of Jamón serrano
  • 60g manchego, 6 months old
  • Sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 180 degree. Open up each of the chicken thighs and put a sage leaf and a good wedge of cheese in the middle. Season with pepper. Wrap the jamon around the outside of the chicken and tie it up with kitchen string. Put it in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Papas arrugadas

Canarian Potatoes

  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) tiny potatoes
  • a generous amount of sea salt (like a handful)
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • Water

Wash the potatoes (small to medium) and put them in a large saucepan. Cover them with water and add course-grain sea-salt. The quantity of salt is a quarter of the weight of the potatoes - yes that's a lot of salt! Boil. Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to cook until done (this will depend on the size of your potatoes, but about 20-30 minutes). Add more water if necessary.
When potatoes are cooked through and begin to “wrinkle,” they’re done.