No matter where you are, taking advantage of your local food markets, butchers, and mongers is a cheap walk in the park. Yesterday I made a quick trip to the local market in Girona, and after spending only 15 Euros, here are my findings: a two course meal to include a bottle of Cava. Please give these Mediterranean recipes a go. Try to find the freshest produce and healthiest looking animal(s). And whatever you do, don't forget the Cava.
Langoustines in Cava or Escamarlas en Cava, serves 2
- 10-12 Langoustines (the brighter their orange colour, the sweeter the meat)
- 1 handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 handful of chopped fresh basil
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled, kept whole
- Half-glass of Cava
- Fresh baguette, cut into pieces
Place chopped herbs in mortar and pestle and bash, while slowly drizzling in 75 ml of the oil. Keep bashing until you create a herb oil that is green and liquid enough to drizzle. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle just finely chop the herbs and mix together with the oil.) Set aside.
Heat a saute pan big enough to hold the langoustines (otherwise you can do this in batches). Place remainder of olive oil in the pan and onto high heat. When olive oil is hot and fluid, add the garlic clove and sizzle and infuse in the oil for one 30 seconds. Add the langoustines, cooking and turning for one minute. Add the cava and continue cooking for one and a half minutes.
Grab a large plate. Drizzle some of the herb oil all around the plate. Place langoustines on the plate and serve with bread. The only way to eat these babies is with your hands. Divide the langoustine in half at the thorax with thumbs and forefingers. Peel away the shell along the tail, albeit with care, as they can be spikey. The tail meat is very sweet. After that, suck the liquid from inside the head. You won't be disappointed.
Divine Catalan Potato Salad, serves 2
- 2 large waxy potatoes, skins intact, and cut into ½ cm cubes
- ½ salad or several spring onions, chopped finely
- 1 large red pepper, cut into ½ cm cubes
- 1 small tin of black eyed beans, drained, rinsed
- 1 tin of tuna in oil, drained
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- ½ tsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
- 1tsp honey
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper
Place the potatoes in a saucepot with enough water to cover. Bring the potatoes to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes until cooked. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
When the potatoes are cool, in a medium bowl, add the potatoes, beans, onion, red pepper, tuna, mayonnaise, honey, paprika, lemon, and salt and pepper. Mix together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours in order for the ingredients to marinate nicely. Garnish with a dusting of paprika and serve as a starter or with a main course.