During this pandemic, what do you miss the most? Personally, I miss dining and travel experiences. And since we can’t really travel abroad and so many of us are still afraid to venture out to a restaurant, why not try and create a cherished experience from your own past adventures? You know there’s a photo of a fabulous meal you had, somewhere on your phone, either locally or perhaps abroad that still haunts your dreams…
So, go find a recipe for that memorable meal and go for it. Now, we all can’t be chefs but half the fun is accepting the challenge and you really could impress yourself and others. Once you have that meal dialed-in, please text or email me as I would love to find that perfect wine from our shop for you and your special moment in time.
To give you an example of a recreated experience, my husband Dustin and I made our second trip to Spain in May of 2019. On this particular trip, we stayed for a week in Madrid and took many opportunities to visit sidrerias (Basque cider bars) and the Mercado de San Miguel which is like a culinary Disneyland for foodies. Look it up. You’ll want to book a trip there as soon as this horrible pandemic is over.
One of the other highlights from this trip was having dinner at Botin, a restaurant founded in 1725. It is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. However, we didn’t plan well. We had a huge late lunch with friends earlier that day, and were seriously stuffed and dinner wasn’t even an option, but what do you do? I had made the reservation months in advance and we weren’t going to miss this opportunity.
Botin’s roasted suckling pig is famous, but we just couldn’t eat that much. Fortunately, the guy sitting next to us was also American and he decided to order it. Dustin and I had the sautéed mushrooms with Iberian ham, grilled filet mignon, black sausage and my favorite, the garlic soup with egg and ham. All of this was still more than we could finish!
We shared our dinner with a stranger and all of us had a fantastic time. Ironically, they sat us at a table nearest to the wine cellar which was dark, dusty, a little spooky and wonderful! I will never forget this opportunity and I am so happy to recreate even just a small part of it.
I found a recipe for the garlic soup and have included it here. Now what wine would I pair with it? At Botin we had a rosé of cava (sparkling) and it went very well with the soup. However, I believe it would go very well with other wines like gamay Beaujolais or a spicy garnacha/monastrell. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. Salud!
GARLIC EGG AND IBERIAN HAM SOUP (Two Servings)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp paprika (Spanish for authenticity and smokiness)
1 half a day old baguette, or the equivalent of good bread, cut into thin slices
1 liter of chicken stock (homemade is best here, but use what have of high quality)
1/4 cup finely chopped Iberico ham (prosciutto or regular bacon can be used in a pinch)
2 eggs (quail eggs are preferred but not necessary)
2 tbsp torn flat leaf parsley to serve
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Use a large sauté pan for this as it makes it easier and faster to toast the bread and poach the eggs in one batch.
Heat the oil over a low heat. Add the ham and stir until crispy. Remove and set aside. Then the garlic and stir for a minute. Next add the paprika and stir thoroughly, then add the bread in a single layer (do this in batches if using a small plan) so that the bread crisps a bit and absorbs all the lovely garlic and paprika flavor. Cook for a few minutes on each side.
Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Season to taste, then reduce the heat and make space for each of the eggs, adding them separately so that they poach in the broth. Ladle broth over each egg as they poach so that they poach evenly.
When the white is mostly set and the yolk is still runny, turn off the heat. Serve one egg per bowl with the parsley sprinkled on top.