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Spanish Basque Nibbles for a French Wine Group Assignment - Whoops!


When I looked at the list of 2019 topics for the French Winophiles, I was excited to see French Basque as a topic. I fixated on the 'Basque' part of that because I love that area and completely blitzed on the 'French' part when I went to buy the wine. I picked up wine from the Spanish part of Basque country and, then, went even further and selected recipes from the Spanish part as well. Whoops.

Since I needed a do-over with wines from the correct part of the Basque region and a geographically appropriate menu, for August's Winophiles, I decided to share the Spanish bites and sips we had now. Early.


I served Papas Bravas (previous recipe here) which are a family favorite. Then I tried a few different pintxos, small finger foods served at bars and taverns throughout the Basque Country. Bear in mind that both are my interpretations, so not traditional.

Ganba Brotxeta serves four with 2 skewers each

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet bell pepper, cored and thickly sliced
  • 1 Spring onion, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed
  • 1/3 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 C + 1 T olive oil 
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 slices of jamon, halved lengthwise

Procedure
In the bowl of a food processor, combine peppers, onion, and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in garlic, vinegar, and oil (2/3 C). Pulse until emulsified into a thick vinaigrette. Place peeled shrimp in a rimmed dish and pour vinaigrette over the top, reserving 4 T for serving. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Thread a shrimp onto a wooden skewer, then a slice of jamon, and a final shrimp. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper.

On a griddle or in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 T olive oil until the oil is very hot. Carefully place the skewers in the pan. Sear until the shrimp takes on a golden color, approximately 1 minute. Flip the skewers over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer skewer to a plate and serve with reserved vinaigrette.

 Piparras serves four with 2 skewers each

I read about these skewers and was immediately entranced with the mixture of briney and vinegary flavors. I opted to use my pickled quail eggs and add a pop of creaminess with a fresh mozzarella ball. So, again, these are not tradition, but certainly Basque-inspired.

Ingredients

  • 8 pickled quail eggs (my recipe here)
  • 8 pickled peppers (piparras are traditional)
  • 8 anchovies, oil reserved from the jar or tin
  • 8 wedges of fresh tomato
  • 8 small mozzarella balls
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Also needed: skewers, pickled mushrooms for serving


Procedure
Skewer the ingredients. I did: quail egg, pepper, anchovy, tomato, then mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer skewer to a plate and serve drizzled with a little of the anchovy oil over the top. 


I paired this dinner of Spanish Basque nibbles with a Spanish Basque wine: Camino Roca Altxerri Txakoli 2017. I'll tell you more about that soon!

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