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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Can Make Tapas at Home

First, apologies for the long drought of posts. We were out of town and ran into Internet problems that, like all Internet problems, were both complicated and too boring to explain.

Now that we're back, we can write a post we've been meaning to write since Ruth's birthday back in June.

We celebrated with a trip to Jaleo, a tapas restaurant run by José Andrés that has gotten great reviews. As we don't eat out that often, we tend to be extra-critical of bad food and extra-delighted by good food; if the service and atmosphere also deserve high marks, we're disproportionately thrilled. This was one of those meals. Everything was great, from the opening dish of olives with tiny cubes of marinated Manchego cheese to the final bowl of olive oil ice cream and grapefruit sorbet. Best of all, we figured that we could reproduce our favorite dishes back home.

Usually, it takes at least a few tries to successfully approximate a restaurant dish, but the first one we tried—poached onions with blue cheese and pine nuts—came out great. We were astonished by how easy it was.

Because this can be made ahead of time and either warmed up or served at room temperature, this would make an excellent first course. We plan to use it as part of a homemade tapas lineup (our next post, also poached from Jaleo: stuffed peppers with tapenade).

You'll notice that one of the onions in the photo looks charred. That's because we experimented with grilling half of the onions in the recipe, wondering if that would make a difference. It did seem to add flavor, though the nongrilled onions tasted great too.

Onions with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

Two fat onions
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 T. olive oil

1. Peel the onions and halve them through their centers, leaving their stem ends intact so they don't fall apart during the poaching.

2. Place them cut-side down in a deep skillet and pour the stock over them. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Let the onions simmer until the stock is mostly evaporated and they are tender all the way through—depending on the size of the onions, this can take as a long as an hour.

3. While the onions poach, toast the pine nuts and crumble the blue cheese.

4. When the onions are tender, remove them to a plate, sprinkle them with pine nuts and blue cheese, and drizzle them lightly with olive oil.

Serves four.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are back online! Jaleo is great, though a bit pricy. Great to make these on your own!