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Cooking with "Tapas" by Jose Andres


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I haven't looked through the entire thread, but Rochelle, thanks for recommending sofrito for a potato tortilla which I will probably make with Carolina potatoes sold to me by Heinz, the bearded farmer whose photo is on p. 45 of the book...unless I make the gazpacho.  Reports of a few things I haven't seen here yet will come later in the week.

Meanwhile, Bryan, your dinner party looks wonderful, especially the croquetas.

Actually Pontormo: if you're serving sofrito with your tortilla based solely on Rochelle's stellar reputation...I should warn you that I think it was my serving suggestion. :smile:

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Mark: I trust you, too.

What I don't trust is food photography. The pictures do not always correlate with the recipes. This is not about using shaving cream to represent stiff egg whites; that's another matter altogether and worthy of its own thread if one wasn't started long ago.

For example, I have one book by Jacques Pepin in which full spears of broccoli appear instead of the small chopped pieces specified in a nifty form of quick preparation that was the entire point of the recipe, so the photographer's decision was particuarly unfortunate. I think the chicken on the same plate is not quite right either. Drawings are not immune either; last night I noticed a recipe for a summertime soup with cantaloupes. The pretty line drawing of watermelon wedges with seeds probably stems from the fact that the title only indicates "Melon..."

This is getting OT re the cookbook. I imagine the garnish was a decorative embellishment. Bryan made the same shrimp and raved briefly about the sauce.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Should reiterate that the romesco sauce is great and also completely unattached to shrimp recipe as far as cookbook goes (they're two completely separate recipes), and that Rochelle also thought the garlic shrimp were great. I'll try 'em again and see what happens.

mark

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The garlic shrimp is a simple dish, but I really like this version. I do think the addition of the romesco, or in my case "bootleg-as-hell-romesco," added some nice depth of flavor to go with the garlic and sweetness of the shrimp.

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I made the tortilla with potato chips tonight and served it along with pan con tomate and fresh okra cooked with corn and tomatoes in a little curry. For dessert we had the toast with chocolate, salt and olive oil. I used Uniq arbequina oil. We started out with summer corn soup from the Inspired by Studio Kitchen thread.

I will discuss the dishes I made from Tapas here.

The tortilla was very good with strong potato flavor. I used Kettle "lightly salted" chips and soaked them in the beaten eggs for fifteen minutes before making the tortilla. It is very different than a regular tortilla, both in terms of consistency and flavor. While it was delicious and easy to make, my family voiced a preference for the more traditional style. I think a lot has to do with familiarity.

The pan con tomate is easy and delicious as ever.

The bread with chocolate and salt was easy and delicious. I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, Uniq olive oil and Halen Mon sea salt. The oil and salt really balanced the flavors nicely.

All I will say here about the othe two dishes is they fit in nicely with the rest of the meal.

One of the great things about this book is that there are some fun, easy recipes as well as more challenging ones.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I think the "cheese" on the pic of the shrimp is slivers of garlic.

Though, I'm stating this from memory, not from looking at the photo.

Sofrito is not my idea, but I'm happy to take credit for all good and inspirational culinary concepts. :wink:

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Tonight's dinner is being cooked at a leisurely pace, in part because just about every surface of my small kitchen is covered and the mess spills out to the dining room, and in part because I was so hungry and tempted by the fact that the first course was virtually all done, mellowing in jars in the refrigerator, so I couldn't resist. To begin:

Tichi's Gazpacho

Since the winter when rows of orange curtains wove through the snow in Central Park, New Yorkers, at least, have known that Christo is not a lone artist, but an enterprising pair of husband and wife who psyched out the Macho Individualism of the American art scene in the 1960's and 70's and decided they'd have more success if their projects were attributed to one man. In turn, we're more inclined nowadays to give spouses credit for their influence on their beloved partner's professional accomplishments.

In that spirit, let's acknowledge the wife of Jose Andres, praised by the chef for the divine splendor of her Andalucian version of this cold soup. Given the explicit directions for the semi-deconstructed presentation of the dish, I have to assume there's some collaboration going on here.

Earlier, Bilrus provided a photograph. I will not. I used the same type of huge white pasta bowl from Sur La Table (I am guessing), with slices of a long yellow plum tomato, some of its guts spilled out in "fillets" of tomato seeds. (I find only my plum tomatoes will stay together in a quivering jellyfish mass; larger tomatoes do not cooperate, but instead, appear ready to go into labor the way their water gushes out.) Scallion rings instead of chives. Purple slivers of shallot rather than petals of pearl onion. So-so cucumber since there were none at the market.

What I loved, especially, was the pleasure of crunching into the croutons and all the separate flavors of the discrete strands and cubes on the plate. Because the bread is fried in one piece, then broken, textures range from perfectly soggy to crisp. I also liked the little dabs of unblended Sherry vinegar, olive oil (possibly from Tunisia) and salts. Because the bread was not blended with everything else, and there was no onion other than the pieces arranged decoratively on the plate, the flavor was sweet and mild, texture, smooth rather than pulpy. Distinct. I also thought the instructions to reblend the liquifidied vegetables once they were seasoned was smart. Magic the way the soup turned from a rosy, deep watermelon red to a bright orange during that second whirr.

Less appreciated: Photograph on page 39. It's very pretty, but not the right texture. Come on, the stuff was strained! Salt could be taken down 1/4 notch and no way, no how is a slice of bread going to turn into a crouton over medium-high heat in olive oil in four minutes. Charcoal, maybe. Olive oil, 3/4 cup? Miserly and just starting to lose weight, I used half of that and could not imagine more. Well, it's now dark and I am hungry again. More later, but not nearly this much.

Albondigas con maelocotones

I highly recommend the meatballs with peaches, a dish that caught my eye because Ling and Henry Lo just held an Iron Chef competition during their first joint-food blog last week in which peaches were the featured ingredient. They are probably my favorite fruit and the season is almost over. The recipe is on page 246. Consult the photograph on page 247 and if you think the dish is pretty as is, you too should skip the parsley garnish, cut thinner slices of peaches and let them cook for more than twice the time indicated in the recipe.

I was intrigued by the call for only 1/4 of a pound of ground beef, 1/2 oz. of bread and 1 T of beaten egg (! 2/3 of a scrambled egg for breakfast tomorrow) to feed four people. I'd say three if you're serving 5-8 tapas since three little meatballs and three slices of peach just aren't enough unless your guests are Chinese and consider four an unlucky number. Spare number of flavors, only parsley, garlic and salt in the meatballs, cinnamon, toasted pine nuts, Sherry vinegar and chicken stock in the sauce made from a butter and sugar syrup used to carmelize the peaches. Surprising choice of meat, but it works. Potential for variations are endless. I'm thinking ground lamb and plums. Pork and apples.

Spinach a la Catalana

This is probably my favorite tapa at Jaleo...or up there. After making it once, I am humbled by the skill it must take to get it just right when it comes to the table. I need more patience since I added perfect baby spinach leaves with too much water still clinging to them. They should really be bone dry. The apple should not be the lesser of the two wrinkly ones bought a couple of months ago and I am sure a nice, liquidy toasted pine nut EVOO puree the consistency of tahini-lemon sauce would prove superior to a hasty smash of nuts and oil with pestle then fork.

No room for chocolate and olive oil on toast.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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1. Heated up in the oven, the meatballs with peaches are even better the second time around when the garlic in the former is subtly apparent. Please, do try this recipe.

2. Took advantage of the oven to make the toast with chocolate (El Rey, 73.5 %), olive oil and fleur de sel. Perfect toast. Salt, olive oil, rich sweet goo, crunch.

"Polvo del mar, la lengua

di ti recibe un beso

de la noche marina...

...el sabor central del infinito."

(Pablo Neruda, "Ode to Salt.")

"Dust of the sea, the tongue receives a kiss of the night sea from you...the inward flavor of the infinite." Trans. Robert Bly

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Albondigas con melocotones

I highly recommend the meatballs with peaches, a dish that caught my eye because Ling and Henry Lo just held an Iron Chef competition during their first joint-food blog last week in which peaches were the featured ingredient.  They are probably my favorite fruit and the season is almost over.  The recipe is on page 246.  Consult the photograph on page 247 and if you think the dish is pretty as is, you too should skip the parsley garnish, cut thinner slices of peaches and let them cook for more than twice the time indicated in the recipe. 

I was intrigued by the call for only 1/4 of a pound of ground beef, 1/2 oz. of bread and 1 T of beaten egg (! 2/3 of a scrambled egg for breakfast tomorrow) to feed four people.  I'd say three if you're serving 5-8 tapas since three little meatballs and three slices of peach just aren't enough unless your guests are Chinese and consider four an unlucky number.  Spare number of flavors, only parsley, garlic and salt in the meatballs, cinnamon, toasted pine nuts, Sherry vinegar and chicken stock in the sauce made from a butter and sugar syrup used to carmelize the peaches.  Surprising choice of meat, but it works.  Potential for variations are endless.  I'm thinking ground lamb and plums.  Pork and apples.

My wife and I made this dish tonight to feed ourselves and our three hungry sons. We increased the scale of the recipe by a factor of eight. The original recipe was for tapas portions. We were making dinner portions. We used 2/3 pork and 1/3 beef and cut down on the amount of sugar that the recipe called for. The dish was indeed excellent, especially the sauce. I bought a bushel of New York peaches this past week and this recipe was a good way to use some of them. Peaches are my favorite fruit as well.

gallery_8158_790_94689.jpg

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Spinach a la Catalana

This is probably my favorite tapa at Jaleo...or up there.  After making it once, I am humbled by the skill it must take to get it just right when it comes to the table.  I need more patience since I added perfect baby spinach leaves with too much water still clinging to them.  They should really be bone dry.  The apple should not be the lesser of the two wrinkly ones bought a couple of months ago and I am sure a nice, liquidy toasted pine nut EVOO puree the consistency of tahini-lemon sauce would prove superior to a hasty smash of nuts and oil with pestle then fork.

I made this and though I don't think I got it perfect either, it was still mighty good. One thing I didn't do was make the pine nut puree. What is not to like with this dish?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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John, I kept coming back to this thread disappointed that no one else was posting and then gave up without noticing your new contributions. I'm so pleased you made the meatballs. I admit, I ate two servings at each sitting myself.

This past week I also prepared the Pimientos al ajo y vinagre de Jerez. Loved it. As a fan of meaty Italian roasted peppers as I imagine you are as well, I have to say the "silky" texture as described on page 98 was a verrrrry nice change.

If you look at my regional forum, under "Where Can I Get Stuff?" you'll see that another eG member clued me in to an excellent local source for Spanish supplies. I'll be making more.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Well, it looks like chorizo has got its fair share of attention in this thread. A few days ago, Rogelio and I met at my place to cook the potatoes Rioja-style from Tapas. Ok, Rogelio was the chef and I just a poor stager.

Anyway, this recipe is very simple and it’s a good example of how certain Spanish preparations achieve impressive results with a handful of common products. You just need olive oil –should I add extra-virgin?--, garlic, onion, potatoes –we couldn’t get Idaho potatoes as specified in the recipe :wink:--, pimentón, salt and, of course, chorizo.

gallery_10675_0_84364.jpg

So, this is the first time I was disappointed with the dishes I have tried in the cookbook, probably because I had high expectations.

My results differed quite a bit from the photograph that Pedro took here for following reasons:

1) I made half the recipe.

2) I chopped the onion finely as recipe advises and cooked it in my enameled Dutch oven until it really did caramelize (turning from gold to mostly brown), though I did not let the garlic darken as much as requested first. I also followed the recipe's proportions for ingredients, so I used only half of a very large sweet onion. I think I would have preferred more onion, less caramelized since the pieces were too dark and wizened by the time the dish was completed.

3) Again, re proportions, there should be more potato and less chorizo.

4) I took instructions to reduce the sauce seriously, so I waited until the liquid was moving in the direction of syrupy, or at least quite thick. This I liked, but the chorizo didn't. Therefore the sausage tasted a bit boiled.

Potatoes and sauce were particularly nice. I also did not use Idaho, just the wonderful bright yellow ones I pick up for too much money at the farmers market. Forgot the starch-release tip here, but I think my darker, thick sauce really penetrated the potatoes which must have been too fresh to turn to mush despite the long cooking time. Instead the color merely penetrated deeper into their flesh. :cool:

The hot chorizo (Spanish, no preservatives) was not at all "hot" to my taste, just deeply flavored. I think I will enjoy the remainder in smaller diced portions in another dish with potatoes (and eggs most likely). However, eating a double tapa-portion as a main course proved a bit too rich for little ol' me. Really better in a smaller portion with bread to sop up sauce and a good red wine to challenge the fat--which I also did without. I was planning on making a fig and raspberry clafouti for dessert, but needed fresh unadorned fruit instead.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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So, this is the first time I was disappointed with the dishes I have tried in the cookbook, probably because I had high expectations.

My results differed quite a bit from the photograph that Pedro took here for following reasons:

1) I made half the recipe.

2) I chopped the onion finely as recipe advises and cooked it in my enameled Dutch oven until it really did caramelize (turning from gold to mostly brown), though I did not let the garlic darken as much as requested first.  I also followed the recipe's proportions for ingredients, so I used only half of a very large sweet onion.  I think I would have preferred more onion, less caramelized since the pieces were too dark and wizened by the time the dish was completed.

3) Again, re proportions, there should be more potato and less chorizo.

4) I took instructions to reduce the sauce seriously, so I waited until the liquid was moving in the direction of syrupy, or at least quite thick.  This I liked, but the chorizo didn't.  Therefore the sausage tasted a bit boiled. 

Potatoes and sauce were particularly nice.  I also did not use Idaho, just the wonderful bright yellow ones I pick up for too much money at the farmers market.  Forgot the starch-release tip here, but I think my darker, thick sauce really penetrated the potatoes which must have been too fresh to turn to mush despite the long cooking time.  Instead the color merely penetrated deeper into their flesh. :cool:

The hot chorizo (Spanish, no preservatives) was not at all "hot" to my taste, just deeply flavored.  I think I will enjoy the remainder in smaller diced portions in another dish with potatoes (and eggs most likely).  However, eating a double tapa-portion as a main course proved a bit too rich for little ol' me.  Really better in a smaller portion with bread to sop up sauce and a good red wine to challenge the fat--which I also did without.  I was planning on making a fig and raspberry clafouti for dessert, but needed fresh unadorned fruit instead.

This dish, along with many other apparently simple dishes from Spain, is trickier than expected. I mean, you can easily get good results, but to take this dish to another level --and I assure you it can get to that level of excellence-- you need to master the dish through repetition and good sourcing. Neither were we completely satisfied with the results we got. They were good, but by no means excellent. BTW, the version with the smoked chorizo worked the best.

I guess we'll have to keep trying.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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First of all, this is the thread that compelled me to join eGullet in the first place--detailed photos of preparation? in depth discussion of the impact of your choice of olive oil? people who know and love one of my favorite cookbooks enough to cook their way through it? What's not to love?

I talked the husband of a friend, who's also an avid amateur cook, into a "cookoff" from this cookbook. We each picked three recipes, invited a bunch of friends over, and competed. I made the Chicken and Garlic, the mushroom confit, and the Papas Bravas (I don't have the book in front of me, so recipe names may be confused).

The Chicken and Garlic, to which I added the dried chanterelles mentioned in his note, were amazing--and especially so the next day when I reheated it... the flavors had deepened and mellowed and we were literally spooning up the mushroom/garlic/oil juices. I've made it several times since and, while it's never quite reached that nirvana-like state again, it is a keeper of a recipe.

The Mushroom Confit was also amazing--again, especially so the next day. I too am usually sceptical of art-director-arranged photos in cookbooks (although the pictures in Tapas were what originally drew me to the book), but my mushrooms looked almost exactly like the photos. I served them in a glass bowl and they glowed in the mushroomy olive oil, just like in the photo. Alas, I didn't take any pictures of my own.

The Papas Bravas were okay. People seemed to like them, and I liked the technique of the sauce, but I didn't have actual pimenton (couldn't find it here in Denver), which I think took away from the final product. I've since acquired two different pimentons from Dean & DeLuca and I intend to try again.

I can't say much about my competitor's dishes, b/c he pretty much refused to follow any of the recipes--I think he looked at the pictures and decided to make something that would look like the photo, but wasn't necessarily composed of the same ingredients. So his dishes were tasty, but hardly a good representation of what Jose's recipes could do.

I love this cookbook and can't wait to try some of the other recipes, particularly the tortilla.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Bekki, welcome to eGullet!

I am so glad you chose to join because of this thread and really appreciate your first post here, as well as Pedro's response to my own. Your cook-off sounds fun. Sorry your competitor was such a spoil-sport, but that is the way it goes with recipe consultation. It's interesting to see that a number of us are finding so many of the dishes improve with age. (I had a little of my last attempt left, enough to incorporate into an impromptu lunch, and was very pleased by the depth of the sauce.) Thanks for recommending the chicken and I hope to read more of your impressions here!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Hi, Bekki. You will definitely notice a difference using pimenton. It has a very distinctive taste. My grandmother was an amazing cook and when I was growing up in Madrid I relished her cooking. I tried over the years to recreate some of her recipes in the US. Never seemed to work. Until I picked up a tin of pimenton de la Vera at seafood store in Bethesda. I can't explain it any better than to say that I found pimenton was often that thing, that missing something, that flavor that makes her recipes (and those in José's book!) taste right.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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Hi, Bekki. You will definitely notice a difference using pimenton. It has a very distinctive taste. My grandmother was an amazing cook and when I was growing up in Madrid I relished her cooking. I tried over the years to recreate some of her recipes in the US. Never seemed to work. Until I picked up a tin of pimenton de la Vera at seafood store in Bethesda. I can't explain it any better than to say that I found pimenton was often that thing, that missing something, that flavor that makes her recipes (and those in José's book!) taste right.

I agree completely with this. Pimenton has nuances and characteristics that completely distinguish it from high-quality Hungarian paprika. They're essentially 2 different ingredients and using Pimenton really has a profound impact on the final product.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as pimenton goes, oh well. I knew there was something else I should have picked up when I traipsed out to the suburbs to buy my other Spanish ingredients.

Despite the use of Hungarian paprika, I have to say I am profoundly impressed by my first taste of home-made sofrito! It's the end of tomato season, so this was made with not the greatest plum tomatoes. Even so, a recipe in which caramelized onions dominate is always something I would appreciate. This is so rich and jam-like, I could imagine spreading it room temperature on a thick slice of toast, rubbed with a raw, cut clove of garlic and drizzled with olive oil first if you'd like.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Recently made Octopus with Olive Oil, Pimenton, potato and a copper penny or more correctly a variation on the recipe. We used Spanish canned pulpo so had no need of an additional copper penny. It was good, although I added a little too much pimenton.

Also recently made variations on Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples. The latter recipe I actually made twice over this past weekend. I made it for the first time Friday night using the recipe proportions from the book and wild boar tenderloin that I had in the freezer from D'Artagnan. I didn't use Golden Delicious apples, though. I used Belle de Bosque apples, which are a bit tarter. This recipe is a keeper. On Sunday we hosted a pot luck party for our neighbors. I redid the recipe using pieces sliced from a whole pork loin and scaled the recipe upwards by a factor of ten. I have to say that it came out really well and it was a big hit. Unfortunately, my photos of either recipe did not turn out so well and don't add to the discussion :sad: .

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Just wanted to add that I recently bought Tapas and am really, really enjoying it. I live in Thailand, where cookbooks are very expensive, and it came down to a toss up between Tapas and Les Halles Cookbook. I'm not a big meat eater, and was put off by the pages and pages dedicated to beef in the latter, and like many in Thailand, don't have an oven, so it was an easy choice!

Interestingly, many of the ingredients Andres mentions are available here in Bangkok, and I've already made a few dishes. When I get a chance I'll document my meals and share them here.

It would be great if Mr Andres could provide some more imput here as well!

Austin

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I'd like to ask how many people who own the book have made the croquetas. Personally I love the bechamel filling and have found others that do, too. But other people have been turned off by the somewhat unfamiliar texture. I grew up thinking croquetas were based on creamy pureed potatoes but many Spanish croquetas aren't made in this way.

My croquetas are largely similar in texture to ones I've had in decent Spanish restaurants so I'm not sure it's a matter of deficient technique. Has anyone else had a similar experience of diners not being accustomed bechamel filled croqs?

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Hi, Bekki. You will definitely notice a difference using pimenton. It has a very distinctive taste. My grandmother was an amazing cook and when I was growing up in Madrid I relished her cooking. I tried over the years to recreate some of her recipes in the US. Never seemed to work. Until I picked up a tin of pimenton de la Vera at seafood store in Bethesda. I can't explain it any better than to say that I found pimenton was often that thing, that missing something, that flavor that makes her recipes (and those in José's book!) taste right.

So far, my application of pimenton has been limited to standing in my kitchen, opening the jars, and inhaling (I need a support group--Hi, my name is Bekki and I'm a pimentonoholic... :blink: ), but I hope to have some time next weekend to actually use the stuff in a recipe. I'm also trying to figure out what do with my heavenly-scented smoked sea salt, but that's another thread...

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I'd like to ask how many people who own the book have made the croquetas.  Personally I love the bechamel filling and have found others that do, too.  But other people have been turned off by the somewhat unfamiliar texture.  I grew up thinking croquetas were based on creamy pureed potatoes but many Spanish croquetas aren't made in this way.

My croquetas are largely similar in texture to ones I've had in decent Spanish restaurants so I'm not sure it's a matter of deficient technique.  Has anyone else had a similar experience of diners not being accustomed bechamel filled croqs?

First time I hear about croquetas based on potatoes. But, hey, I'm Spanish.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I'd like to ask how many people who own the book have made the croquetas.  Personally I love the bechamel filling and have found others that do, too.  But other people have been turned off by the somewhat unfamiliar texture.  I grew up thinking croquetas were based on creamy pureed potatoes but many Spanish croquetas aren't made in this way.

My croquetas are largely similar in texture to ones I've had in decent Spanish restaurants so I'm not sure it's a matter of deficient technique.  Has anyone else had a similar experience of diners not being accustomed bechamel filled croqs?

I've had bechamel-filled croquettes (Japanese-style) and the only "pasty" ones I've ever had were the bad/cheap ones, or the ones served too cold (not necessarily served cold, but colder than such a croquette should be served). A properly made one is never pasty, but creamy, light, and smooth. Maybe some of those "decent Spanish restaurants" are providing decent croquetas, but "decent" is very different from "good", "great", or "amazing". You might want to take a look at helenjp's method for chicken cream croquette. I've not tried it, but it's very much in-line with what I've seen on TV from the cream croquette experts (I'd go wtih the slightly thinner sauce, though, and take greater care with chilling it).

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