Posts Tagged ‘romesco sauce’

Club Kitty – Spain – Part 3 – The Party

September 19, 2008

Ahhh…we’re back at Rachel’s house: the perfect place for an end-of-summer, harvest dinner:

Photobucket

Her new garden has really grown since we were last here.

Photobucket

The grapevines are climbing all over the arbor.

Photobucket

Photobucket

The passion fruit vine is in full bloom. (Passiflora edulis…for Miss Lilli Longstockings):

Photobucket

I’ve still got some prep to do but people aren’t arriving for a few more hours, so I’m going to kick back with my girl here and enjoy the view.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Ok, back to work. Baby Nanny has arrived and is introducing Maggie to a live Santa Barbara Shrimp:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Apron on…let’s do this.

Photobucket

First, I’m going to rinse off the quail:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I bought these quail frozen and partially deboned, 4 to a package, already split and flattened. I defrosted them overnight in the fridge and they do give up a little bit of liquid, so I like to just give them a nice rinse, dry them off thoroughly and spread them out on a sheet pan. They’re really tiny and only take a short time to cook on the grill. I just season them with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, Pimenton, and then drizzle them with olive oil and rub it all in. Prep done…just throw on the grill right before dinner.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Next, the mussels: remember the Cantimpalitos that we cut up into thirds earlier? Start to sauté them in olive oil on medium heat. I’m using a roasting pan on a gas grill as there is no stove down there by the pool. The pizza oven acts as my regular oven.

Photobucket

Photobucket

You want to start seeing the olive oil turning red with the Pimenton that is leeching out of the chorizo. Once the chorizo is getting a little brown in places and the olive oil in the pan is nice and red, remove the sausage from the pan leaving the flavored oil behind. Into that oil, add some minced shallots and garlic…I’m using a couple of big shallots and 3 big cloves of garlic for 3 pounds of mussels. Sauté the aromatics in the flavored olive oil and then add some crushed, canned tomatoes. I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes. I’m using a 28-ounce can. Mix them into the onion/garlic mixture and then add the chorizo back in and cook, stirring, to meld the flavors (excuse the blurry pics):

Photobucket

Once the sauce starts to get kind of pasty and dry looking, add some wine to loosen it up. I’m using white but you could use red too. I don’t know how much I add, just enough to make a sauce type consistency. You can always add more. Then, stir the clean and debearded mussels in the chorizo mixture and cover to steam them open.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Don’t cook the mussels themselves until the last minute. Just keep the sauce warm because mussels don’t sit very well and have a tendency to dry out and get funky. While I was working on the sauce, one of my kitchen elves, Matt, arrived. After he made us all fresh Mojitos from the limes in Rachel’s garden, I put him to work grilling lipstick peppers, and taking the casings off of Merguez sausauges and browning them up.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

We’re also grilling leeks and zucchini that have been rubbed in olive oil, salt, pepper and pimenton.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Once the Merguez sausage is browned, remove it from the pan, leaving the fat behind. Sauté one large, sliced onion and a minced clove of garlic in the sausage fat, add more olive oil if it seems dry.

Photobucket

Then, remove the onion and garlic mixture, leaving as much fat behind as possible, add more olive oil, if necessary and then add the par-cooked potatoes from earlier into the pan and cook over medium heat until crispy. Then mix the onion/garlic mixture and the sausage into the potatoes and keep warm.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

All righty then, back to those Santa Barbara Shrimp:

Photobucket

Photobucket

They’re just going to go right on the grill (still kicking..some of them), in their shells. The shells help protect from overcooking and they add a lot of flavor. After they’re done and they cool down, I toss them in olive oil, pimenton, salt and pepper and minced fresh garlic.

Photobucket

Now that Keith (The Grill King) has arrived, I’ve put him on grill duty….if I can just tear him away from rubbing heirloom tomatoes on the grilled bread.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Time to grill the quail:

Photobucket

Well, that’s pretty much it…Matt is throwing together a spinach and arugula salad with toasted pine nuts. (I meant to bring raisins for the salad as well, but alas, I forgot.)

Photobucket

To keep people from starving to death while we were all cooking, I put out some Moroccan-spiced mixed olives with chili’s and cinnamon, Marcona Almonds and Spanish wine, of course.

Photobucket

Of course, we can’t forget those bacon-wrapped dates that we roasted in the wood-burning oven until crispy:

Photobucket

Here are the finished mussels with fire-roasted tomatoes and chorizo, sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs.

Photobucket

A selection of Spanish chorizo, Serrano ham and Fuet….as well as a selection of Basque and Catalan cheeses:
P’tit Basque, Idiazábal and Garrotxa.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Let’s go check on everyone. I think we’re ready to eat. As always, it’s virtually impossible to get a good picture of both babies and adults at the same time, so I went with the adults looking good because babies don’t give a shit. Carolina holding Maggie and Rachel holding Sofia:

Photobucket

Keith and Matt are adding final touches to the shrimp:

Photobucket

God, they’re gorgeous with the grilled lipstick peppers mixed in:

Photobucket

Let’s eat! Mmmm…squeeze that heirloom tomato on the grilled bread:

Photobucket

Rip those heads off the shrimp and suck out the sweet juices….so messy but sooo sexy…yes, that’s the roe.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Catheryn can’t decide what to start on…the shrimp or the quail:

Photobucket

Mmmmmm….romesco sauce on EVERYTHING!

Photobucket

Winding down:

Photobucket

Sofia (with Daddy Kenny) is getting sleepy. Maggie is already down for the count, sleeping in her car seat by the fire.

Photobucket

Photobucket

As always, I am forever indebted to Rachel, for opening up her lovely home all the time for us to play in, to Matt and Keith for being my tireless kitchen elves, to accomplished author and occasional BabyNanny Catheryn for making sure the dingoes didn’t steal my baby, and Kenny and Carolina and their lovely family for coming to eat and play.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket