Earlier this month I was introduced to Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica. Why I haven’t gone out to eat on the westside more often – I don’t know. But that’s what friends are for (or at least partially for). Needless to say, everything I sampled just put a smile on my face. My hands-down favorite item of the menu was their sobrasada con tronchon. Right after we left the restaurant I began thinking of how I could replicate this wonderful, tasty morsel.
Fast forward a week or two to Allan’s wine & cheese party. Cheese you say? That obviously means a visit to the awesome Cheese Store of Silverlake! Along with the cheese we brought to the party, I was able to score some tronchon.
As fate would have it, my USC Young Alumni trip to Spain got canceled. However, my dad’s travel agent (and guess she’s now also my travel agent) was able to book me a new and even longer trip for July. My hearts a-poundin’ in anticipation. So what must I do in preparation? Make some tapas!
Unfortunately, my local Ralph’s doesn’t carry sobrasada, but I was able to use Portuguese linguica instead.
Linguica, thinly sliced
Tronchon, thinly sliced
French baguette, thinly sliced
Preheat oven at 350° F. Place bread slices onto baking sheet and toast 5-10 minutes. Place sliced linguica on the toasted bread, then the tronchon. Drizzle with honey. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy warm.
My army of yumminess, pre-oven melting. I had to use an olive loaf (La Brea Bakery) since all the French baguettes were sold out. I definitely could taste the olive, but it didn’t detract from the taste of the meat & cheese.
To continue with the tapas theme, and to fill my stomach, I also made albondigas en salsa de tomate. I had these almost a year ago at a friend’s place, but he uses the most wonderful salsa española. All three recipes are from The Cuisines of Spain cookbook. I wasn’t really in the mood for onion and carrots, but the salsa de tomate recipe that’s found on the same page sounded delicious. Verdict? The salsa de tomate is a winner. I guess when paired with balls-o-meat, nothing can lose.
Albondigas en Salsa de Tomate
1 slice white country-style bread
1/3 cup milk
1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
all-purpose flour, as needed
olive oil, for frying
3 cups Salsa de Tomate (below)
In a shallow bowl, combine the bread and milk and let soak for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the beef, garlic, and onion and mix thoroughly. Add the soaked bread and any remaining milk, the egg, parsley, and salt to the meat mixture and mix well.
Roll meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) then lightly roll and coat with flour. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and fry, turning frequently, until cooked. Serve in salsa de tomate.
Salsa de Tomate
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more if needed
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute, stirring often, until golden (about 15-20 minutes). If you need more olive oil to cover the onions while cooking, add more but try to use as little as possible. Add the tomatoes with their juice, water, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until very soft.
Remove sauce from heat and let cool slightly. Blend briefly with immersion blender or regular blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.