Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Salt-Cod in Piquillo Peppers (Pimiento del Piquillo Rellenos de Bacalao)
Me, I'm a lucky girl to have two older brothers whom I love very much...the seriously brilliant one (IBBBH*) and the stunningly genius one (IBBBJ**).
And, heck yes, I'm bragging.
Both of my brothers are tall and handsome, hard working and goodhearted. (Frankly, I find it altogether shocking we all come from the same gene-pool. I can barely balance my checkbook half the time! So really, I got nothin' on um. Plus the really disconcerting part is that our sister is actually the smart one. Scary...innit?)
The younger (I'm the youngest) is the one who makes me laugh, he is the political one, with a serious penchant for quality foods, and the older one (well, also political) is the one who challenges me to be a better person, who sits up straight, and is infinitely patient.
IBBBJ lives in NYC. Making the world a better place. IBBBH resides in Southern Spain...making the world a better place too.
I love visiting NYC to hang out with my IBBBJ. I am always beyond excited to see him and go out do dinner, so he "can show off by getting (me) something fancy."
It takes a bit more to get organized enough to haul myself across two continents. But when I do I bask in the warmth of IBBBH's wonderfulness (no, not a word...) where the main focus is always family (and, flamenco, or so it seems. Lots of Flamenco.) and eating. This is me after all. While UBBBH is not exactly a foodie - he likes his brown bread and herring more than most things - he is indulgent (if not bemused) by my obsession.
What both of these boys (okay, fine, they are men) can agree on, food wise, is this extremely classic tapas, inspired by the bounty of Andalusia.
So easy to make, so deliciously tempting. It will make your head spin for a moment. In Spain, or New York, or where ever your family happens to be.
So try it my dears, and taste the joy.
8oz salt cod, soaked in cold water for a minimum of twelve hours, and up to 24
1 sprig parsley
2 whole cloves
1 lb russet/Idaho potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup Spanish olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Black pepper and paprika
At least, 15 piquillo peppers, drained, rinsed and pat dry
½ small onion
Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and mash well.
In a sauce pan, add the salt cod parsley and cloves, and cold water, just cover the fish. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for ten minutes. When the fish is cool enough to handle, drain and flake the flesh into a bowl, removing the cloves, parsley, bones and skin.
Place the fish, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Add the potatoes and pulse again. With the motor running, add the olive oil.
Season with pepper and paprika.
Spoon the mixture inside the piquillo peppers.
Reserve any remaining filling. Season the remaining filling with finely minced onion.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Arrange the peppers in a single layer in a broiler-proof glass baking dish. Pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them. Sprinkle salt over the peppers. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes.Serve the hot peppers on a bed of the filling.
*How smart? He once co-authored a paper entitled: The Quantum Vacuum and the Cosmological Constant Problem
**How smart? He earned his masters degree at age 19.
Locally, piquillo peppers can be purchased at Surfas in Culver City, La Española in Harbor City and Nicole's in Pasadena. I have also seen them at Cost Plus, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms.
The name piquillo means "little beak". Traditionally piquillo peppers are grown in Northern Spain - GourmetSleuth.com