Quick Recipes and Easy

Bring Galicia, Spain to a Brunch Party

In the cozy northwestern corner of Spain; Galicia is nestled in a world unto itself embracing an atmosphere set in times past. The spectacular coastline to the Atlantic, its breath taking green vegetation, and the melodic skirl of bagpipes performed by men dressed in kilt-like trousers, puts one in mind of west coast Ireland. The local approach to time is: simply to delight in it and folk dance is art rich with legacy wrapped in the warmth of musical tradition. Village life is a mix of picnic-honest and alfresco-fiesta that merits the mark ‘gastronomic,’ the cuisine-pilgrimage has incredible surprises around wood-fired barbecues, open-pits, seafood, smoked paprika, saffron, olive oil, Tetilla cheese, chorizo, and fresh produce to name a few.
Seafood makes Galicia and fills it’s world with extraordinary flavors as the superlative example of tasty, but you will also find heaven served on a platter in the middle of no-where with: venison fillet roasted with fruits, crusty rye bread, salted green Padron chilies, cured Iberico ham, lacon con grelos (salted ham with turnip greens), or boar baked in wine, loved with local Albarino wine ordered at lunch and lingered over by the locals till 6-7pm.

The natural beauty of Galicia’s green scenery is made even sweeter with incredible cuisine where superior flavors revel in simplicity. Like simple sautéed Padron peppers served with fresh seafood made into a luscious brunch platter as the recipe follows below.

Galician Padron Platter
This simple lunch, brunch or dinner is fantastic for parties, a romantic dinner for two, or just a fantastic meal celebration with family or friends. All items can be located in your local supermarket or specialty store.

12 Padron pepper
1 Jar Large Spanish olives
1 basket Cherry Tomatoes, halved
8 Green onions, whole
1/2 pound un-aged Manchego or Mahon cheese, sliced into thin triangles
1/2 pound Tetilla cheese (semi soft very creamy), sliced
2 pounds large shrimp, scallops and or squid
2 lemons, 1/2 cut into wedges, 1 1/2 for juice
1/4 pound Chorizo, cut to bite size pieces
1/4 pound Cured Iberico ham, sliced
Olive oil, for serving
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded large
2 cucumbers, sliced
1/4 watermelon, cubed
1 cup Spanish almonds, raw
1 loaf Crusty bread, sliced
1 bottle of Spanish wine (Albarino if available)

1. Cook the Padron peppers as instructed below
2. If the chorizo is uncooked: sauté at low heat until done inside.
3. Clean, shred and season the lettuce with olive oil, salt and pepper; serve in small bowls around the table.
4. Clean and prepare the fruit, tomatoes, green onions and cucumbers, slice the hams, bread, cheese, and prepare almonds, olives and Padron peppers in small bowls.

5. Broiling seafood is quick and simple:
a) Wash the seafood. Shrimp can be left in their shells or: legs, shells and heads can be removed, then with a sharp paring knife cut along the shrimps back just deep enough to expose the dark vein for removal. Marinate for 1/2-1 hour with 5 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and 5 tablespoons of Albarino wine or lemon juice.
b) Preheat the broiler to 450o-500o.
c) Line a broiler pan with foil, add the marinated seafood and place the wrack 3-4 inches below the hot element.
d) Make sure to baste with the juices while the seafood cooks, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side, until seafood is opaque but not dry.
e) Pour the cooked juices into a small bowl and add 4 tablespoons melted butter and a small more lemon juice to taste, use for dipping the seafood at the table. Sever immediately.

6. Serve: buffet style where everyone shares small bowls or platters layered with the different items. You can arrange cheese slices around the tomatoes, olives and hams, or place them in individual bowls. Seafood can be arranged in a large platter for passing. Olive oil can be served in a bowl for dipping or vinaigrette bottle. Serve the wine at room temperature; removing the cork an hour before serving.

Serves: 4

Variations: Un-aged Manchego can be substituted with any firm, white, non-crumbly cheese. Mahon cheese can be substituted with Gouda or Edam. Additional fresh vegetables can be added. Balsamic vinaigrette can be added as a dipping sauce.

Sautéed Padron Peppers
Padron peppers: smaller peppers with a sweet mild flavor picked green before they turn red. These peppers are well loved tapas in Spain.
Heat 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add 12-15 peppers whole in the hot olive oil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring now and then until slightly brown and wrinkly, remove from heat, sprinkle with coarse salt, and serve in small bowls warm, or at room temperature.

Padron Pepper Sandwich
2 sautéed Padron peppers, with seeds removed
2 slices Manchego Cheese
2 slices of hearty country bread
Shredded lettuce seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper

Assemble the sandwich and add a slice of cured ham, mayonnaise and or chopped tomatoes for variations.

Effie Mor/Author, Chef

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