We were forced to have a lovely dinner in Spain last week.
One of the things I loved when we lived in Andorra was the veal – ternera (Castillano) or vedello (Catalan). It was ‘country veal’, left to graze in the high mountain pastures until a year old, and it was wonderful.
A veal filet was on the menu.
I ordered it.
Unlike the steaks we usually get in France, which are less than an inch thick, this was 2 inches thick, seared on the outside and rare on the inside.
It was wonderful, as I remembered..
Equally wonderful were the 3 mushroom caps that were served with it. They were crisp on the bottom, very garlic-y and a bit salty.
I’ve tried to recreate them here (the stuffed squash were just ancillary). I came very close.
I’ll keep working on it…..
Mushroom & Bacon Stuffed Zucchini
Total time: 40 minutes
- 2 small summer squash / zucchini (courgette)
- 2oz (60gr) bacon, chopped
- 2oz (60gr) mushrooms, chopped
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2oz (60gr) soft goat cheese
- Mushroom Caps:
- 4 large mushroom caps
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp course salt
- Cut each squash in half the long way.
- Using the tip of a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and a bit of flesh, leaving about 1/4″ (.5cm) all around.
- Sauté bacon and shallots in a small skillet until bacon is crisp and shallots are starting to brown.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until everything is is starting to brown.
- Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese
- Spoon mixture into squash halves, mounding slightly.
- Place squash in a baking dish, cover and bake, 400F (200C) for 20 minutes.
- Mushroom Caps:
- Sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until well-browned and crisp. Do not let it get too dark.
- Remove garlic and set aside.
- Turn the heat up under the oil until it is sizzling. Add mushroom caps, top side down, and sauté briefly.
- Turn and fry bottoms until they start to get crisp.
- Add salt to the pan, not the mushrooms, and move the mushrooms on top of the salt. Let fry a few moments longer until very crisp on the bottom – not burned.
- Remove to a plate. Add 2 squash halves and serve.
I saved the garlic chips and tossed them in the the chard – more on that tomorrow.
It took awhile but I finally remembered how to say Happy Birthday in Spanish.
It was a lovely party.
Our friend did a more traditional tapas party this year, with platters of dry-cured ham, smoked salmon, traditional tortillas, local sausages and lots more.
The party started at 8:00 – which meant that people started to arrive around 9:00 (This is Spain, after all).
As the first people started arriving, Ghengis (big brother to our two dogs) did his last patrol of the tables.
There was the usual mix of ages – from 8 to 80.
There were several tables set up on the terrace.
As to the language – a pretty good mix of English, Spanish and Catalan, with a word or two of French thrown in.
There was a whisky tasting around 2:00 am and the last guest tottered off around 3:00.
My gift of a bag of hot Asian condiments and sauces was properly appreciated, although not tasted. I don’t think he wanted to share.
For lunch the day we arrived he had made a Thai Green Chili Pork dish that he assured me was mild enough for me. He had made it specifically with me in mind.
I said that I would let mon mari be the judge.
Just before we all sat down I noticed a cluster of people around the pot, tasting.
A few seconds later I was told there was ratatouille in the microwave for me.
Apparently he had grabbed the wrong green chili paste and not only was the dish hotter than intended it was really, really hot.
Fortunately, his ratatouille is really good…. I eat it every time I’m there.
I think he makes it just for me.