Rose's July Shop Watch: Brindisa
Brindisa (some products available through Ocado and Amazon)
A tapas garden picnic
This month to the country which invented sharing plates – Spain. Tapas are a way of life there: small plates of delicious appetiser dishes designed to nibble with a glass of Fino sherry in a bar, as a prelude to the main meal eaten much later in the evening. And that is what makes them perfect for a garden picnic although, in this instance, I will be making them the main meal. But, as I said last month, what we are looking for are easy dishes to dip in and out of while we enjoy the luxury of talking with friends. And nothing that involves a long distraction in the kitchen.
What is on the menu? I am going to serve gazpacho, but in smaller portions in glasses with a teaspoon. Then a platter of Spanish charcuterie: hand carved slices of Iberico ham from pigs fattened on acorns and cured for between 30 and 36 months to give a nutty aroma; some sliced, slightly smoky, chorizo and some salchichón or salami, both of these also from Iberico pigs. On the same platter I am going to scatter some Manzanilla Picante (spicy) pitted olives, and maybe some Padron peppers fried in oil (hoping no-one gets the 1 in 10 very hot ones – they are not known as the culinary Russian roulette for nothing). And I am going to toast some country bread and rub it with garlic, drizzle olive oil over and then rub again with the cut half of a tomato to make pan tomate (tomato bread), a step up from simple bruschetta.
I shall serve a wonderful summer salad of beans, tuna, peppers, artichokes and olives – a great combination and just an assembly job. Or, if it isn’t a very sunny day, I might serve a dish of warm beans with onion and sliced fried chorizo sausage. Or an alternative salad would be fresh or frozen broad beans stirred through while warm with olive oil, chopped onion, and mint, and shavings of Manchego cheese curled on top.
For my only bit of cooking, I am making a tortilla or Spanish omelette, with sauteed potatoes enrobed with egg much like an Italian frittata, which I will make much earlier in the day. Then, a dish of simple prawns, sprinkled with paprika and quickly fried in olive oil with garlic. And I will replicate the traditional dish of calçots (Catalan spring onions) with Romesco sauce by charring some large salad onions in a grill pan to serve with the sauce. The sauce is so delicious I find you can match it to almost everything from the tortilla to the prawns. And finally, two types of cheese – hard Manchego and a soft goat’s cheese called La Retorta. Serve an Albarino white wine and maybe a good Rioja for the cheese. I have given ideas for a feast so just choose the dishes you want depending on how many you are inviting.
For my inspiration, I have gone to a company who specialise in Spanish food: Brindisa. The name of the company comes from the word “brindis” to raise one’s glass in a toast, and the company certainly celebrates all that is the best of Spanish food. The company was founded back in 1988 when the knowledge of Spanish gastronomy was almost non-existent in the UK, and the company has grown and thrived, with an online shop for deliveries throughout the UK, and retail outlets and tapas bars in London. It is a one stop shop for everything good in Spanish cuisine.
While I may not be lying on a beach in the Costas, or snoozing in the shade of an olive grove, I shall be eating as if I were there.
Gazpacho 1L £4.95 or make your own
Bellota Iberico Ham Slices 50g £12.45
Iberico Bellota Chorizo Slices 100g £5.75
Iberico Bellota Salchichón Slices 100g £5.75
Padron Peppers 180g £3.45
Perello Manzanilla Spicy Olives 150g £2.49
Ortiz Bonito Tuna 112g £4.75
Navarrico Haricot Beans 720g £3.75
Romesco Sauce 200g £3.95
1605 Manchego DOP 200g £8.95
La Retorta 130g £6.45
Price and availability as at 30th June 2021