In July of 2009, my then roommate (it was her Napa wedding I went to recently) and I traveled to France and Spain to take cooking classes and see the sights.
According to my old old blog, the class in Barcelona was the morning after the opening night of the U2 360 Tour so I probably not on my “A game” cooking wise. The class was traditional Catalan cooking. The first dish was the Spanish Tortilla. A Spanish tortilla is more like a quiche and less like the Mexican food of the same name. You will need an 8″ frying pan, and a 12″ frying pan. Pictured below is our instructor. Feeds 4.
- 4 large potatoes cut into 3/4″ size, salted
- 1 medium size onion. coarsely chopped
- 3 large eggs
- olive oil
Swirl some olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and onion, and fry until golden in color. Place in colander to drain oil.
Beat eggs in a bowl and add salt to taste. Add potatoes and onion to eggs. Place smaller frying pan on high heat and add a tbsp olive oil. When hot, pour egg mixture into pan and spread evenly using a wooden spoon. Lower the heat, place a plate the size of the pan upside down over the pan, and with both hands, flip the whole thing over so that the plate is now underneath the pan. Place the pan back on the stove, and slide the tortilla back into the pan. Allow to cook a minute, then repeat flipping process. Keep flipping until tortilla is golden in color, and firm when pushed with a spoon. May be served immediately, but is best if allowed to sit for 1 hour to overnight.
The main dish we made was Fricando, or veal with mushrooms. This dish can also be made with frank steak. There are two components you must make first: a picada, which is used to enhance flavor, add color, and to thicken, and a sofregit with is a fundamental component of Catalan cuisine that is used in almost every dish.
- roasted almonds
- roasted hazelnuts
- pine nuts
- GF tea biscuits (or stale bread or bread sticks)
- fried GF bread
- you may also add brandy, saffron, parsley, chocolate, herbs, etc…..
Put one ingredient at a time in a mortar and pound with a pestle until everything is ground into a paste.
- 2 onions, minced or sliced
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- olive oil
Put olive oil in terra cotta dish, paella pan, or saute on medium heat. Add onion, and cook until translucent. Add garlic and the tomatoes. Lower hear and cook until carmelized. After you make the sofregit and picado, you can begin the veal with mushrooms, or “fricando.”
- 1 1/2 lbs veal cut into 1/4 inch slices
- mushrooms of your choice, cut in 1/2
- onion, finely sliced
- 2 red tomatoes, seeded
- olive oil
- GF flour to dust
- bouquet garni (leek, celery, and parsley tied with twine)
- veal broth
- brandy or dry white wine
- terra cotta dish (available at tienda.com) or saute pan
Lightly salt each pice of meat individually and toss in flour. Put olive oil in frying pan, and place on medium heat. Add meat and brown lightly on each side. Transfer meat to a terra cotta dish, reserving oil. Fry onion in oil until golden. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni, and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and veal broth, and let it reduce. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry the mushrooms with a little garlic and olive oil. Combine the sofregit, tomato mixture, mushrooms, and meat in terra cotta dish. Cover, and cook over low heat for 1-2 hours. When it is done add the picada.
I don’t have the best picture of this, but it is the one at the end of the table.
The highlight of the trip for me, the foodie that I am, was the market, or Mercado. It was a foodie paradise! I bought a pound of manchego (my favorite cheese in the whole wide world), a pound of Serrano ham, and a baguette (this was back in my wheat eating days), and ate it for breakfast all week. Needless to say, I came home a little bloated.