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Epicurean Exchange Culinary Travel departs for Catalonia, Spain on September 7. From Barcelona, we travel south to the bustling fishing port of Sant Carles de la Ràpita (actually one of the largest fishing port in Europe). From our home base, we explore the Spanish mediterranean coast; the diverse land of the Ebro Delta; the surrounding foothills and mountainous areas, and the wine regions of Terra Alta, Priorat and Tarragona, home to some of the finest wines Spain has to offer. Our eventful week is a whirlwind; hitting all the top destinations before we finish each day with festive gatherings around the table to share food, wine and our collective experiences. A once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed! I like to say, you may have been to Spain before, but not this Spain!
Click here for our 2019 Catalonian tour itinerary.
Romesco is a sauce originating from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes and fennel leaves depending on the region and what it is being served with. Most often served with seafood, escargot, grilled poultry and vegetables. Once made, the result is a rich, thick sauce, dark orange in color, and has a bit of texture and is speckled with the darker elements of the roasted pepper. It is characterized by the mild acidity, smoky elements of the roasted pepper, meatiness of the almonds and slight spice finish from the garlic and chili flakes. I am also including a tapa recipe, Shrimp and Chickpea Fritters, a perfect vessel for dipping in the Romesco Sauce! With these two recipes, you are well on your way to hosting your own Tapas and Paella Feast! If you would rather have me cater or attend a class, just let me know!
Bon profit! Que vagi de gust! (Catalan for Bon Appetit!) – Chef Charlie
Shrimp and Chickpea Fritters
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
12 ounces raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, taste
Romesco Sauce for Serving
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl, and add the shrimp, both flours, parsley, baking powder, paprika, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Gradually add 5 tablespoons water until incorporated. Set batter aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and working in batches, add 2 tablespoons batter, and cook, turning once, until golden brown and crisp at the edges, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
4 ounces Marcona almonds
10 cloves garlic
1-16 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
- In a food processor or blender, add the almonds and garlic and process until finely minced. Add the peppers, vinegar, and red pepper flakes and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until fully incorporated.
- Taste and adjust salt and seasonings (vinegar, red pepper flakes), if necessary.
Makes approximately 3 cups