Well, it’s been a few weeks but Helen and I are still banging on about Barcelona. It really was a superb city – every street was a piece of art.
It was also my first introduction to the tapas bar. They ranged in quality when we strayed from the the aforementioned lists but some of it was excellent. There was one in particular that we visited a couple of times in the Gothic Quarter. It was manically busy and cramped but great fun. Quite how the owner (we presumed) managed to keep track of all the plates flying out was anyone’s guess. Maybe he didn’t? I’ll try and get the name of the place.
It’s a great way to eat: you sight-see, you sit, you eat a little, you have a drink and repeat. No bloating three course dinners making you feel like a nap – people still do though of course.
So we’ve had a few tapas style dinners since but this dish is more an inspiration born from some of the flavours we had. Pork and tortilla are ubiquitous of course, but I also really liked these small padron peppers. I managed to find the delicious little suckers in a certain UK higher-end supermarket. Unfortunately they were also at a higher-end price…
fThe ribs were cooked the night before and literally fell off the bone. Seriously, I know that’s generally BBQ nirvana, but when they’re sticking to the grill and falling apart in your hand the novelty wears off a little. The were slow cooked in a mixture of tomato, stock and orange and paprika, which I then kept, reduced and blended to make a superb sauce.
Definitely one to try. May I also add, the plates were not my idea.
For the ribs:
- 8-10 ribs if you’re hungry
- Juice of 1 large orange
- 1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 500ml chicken or pork stock.
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 sliced onion
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 good pinches of sea salt (and more to taste).
- Black Pepper
For the tortilla:
- 1 green pepper
- 1 medium sized onion
- 2 new potatoes, sliced thinly
- 4 eggs, beaten
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- A good pitch of salt
- Ac couple of handfuls of Manchego cheese
- Olive oil
For the peppers:
- 20 or so padron peppers
- Olive oil
- The night before:
Preheat the oven to 140°C/280°F
Add all the rib ingredients to a hob proof pot and bring to a simmer. I added in half of the juiced orange to add a little more flavour.
Put it in the oven for 2 hours. Check it with an hour to go to make sure it hasn’t dried out, but it should be OK with a lid on.
I tend to just turn the oven off and go to bed, letting it sit in the sauce until I need it the next day. You may want to put it in the fridge once cooled in the morning.
If you do put it in the fridge, just heat the pan contents through a little on the hob before you try and take the ribs out or they stick firmly. They are pretty fragile.
Remove the ribs and put them on a plate. Blend the sauce thoroughly (again you may need to heat it slightly first) and bring to a simmer. Let it reduce if too watery or add a little more stock if too dry to blend.
For the tortilla, simmer the potato sliced briefly and drain. In a frying pan, fry the onion, and green peppers to soften. Add the potatoes, egg and paprika. Cook the base then add the cheese and grill/broil to finish it off. Keep warm.
Put the ribs on BBQ if you can. I have a gas one with some lava rocks in that does a decent jobs of replicating the charcoal Webber. Other wise you can put them in a hot oven to sear. Cook them until coloured well.
Mean while, simply fry the peppers in a little oil and season with sea salt.
That’s it. Delicious.