Yes, I miss Spain. Bad. Especially the food, of course. Food cost less and be much better than here in the USA. Ah, the cheese, the wine, the cured pork products are what I long for the most. I just tell myself that is not the healthiest way to live. Yeah, right.
We had some friends over for dinner before their trip to Barcelona. Only appropriate to show them what I learned while living in Catalunya/Catalonia. And more importantly, to make my gluten-free versions of the food taunting me every time I looked at them at the local tapas bars. Mostly, the Catalan standard of pa amb tamaquet (pan con tomate, bread with tomato) and the ubiquitous croquettas that looked that fried goodness that would drive me into one of those suppression dreams. You know, the dreams where you're knowingly eating gluten-filled foods, knowing you'll get sick. Then you wake up with your heart pounding, panicked.
I'll take it from the top of the plate, going clockwise. The famous pa amb tamaquet (Saveur Magazine's #1 food of this year). While in Spain, I really wanted to make my bread with a touch of flax seed meal that was not available there; which gives a rustic quality. One bonus of living in the USA. The tomato on top is simply a grated tomato innards with salt and olive oil. Then trinxat, a staple of Andorra and Catalunya. Thanks to Eric Ripert for the recipe. Trinxat is a potato, onion, and greens (kale, mustard greens, chard, etc) cooked in rendered bacon fat, mashed into a cake and pan-fried, then topped with bacon. Ah, croquettas. Yum. This variety I used chorizo and a super thick almost solid bechamel sauce made with potato starch. Formed into small cigar shapes, coated with egg wash, then a light coating of ground up seasoned potato flakes before frying. They taste so much like cheese sticks, but with no cheese. Melt in your mouth good. Finally gambas con alioli - shrimp with mayonnaise and garlic sauce. The shrimp sauteed with garlic, salt, and lemon. The sauce seasoned generously with garlic powder and spicy paprika.
Upon my friends' return from Barcelona, I had to ask them what they thought about the food, and about the restaurants they went to based on my recommendations. They claimed that my pa amb tamaquet was the best they had. Yes, it's true. Gluten-free can be better!
The Sensitive Epicure