If someone told me I was only allowed to make one category of cuisine for the rest of my life, I would tell them where to shove it. However, if I was really cornered on this issue, since violence is not the answer, I believe I would say, “OK, then. Tapas it is.”
First of all, I think there are, in the common lexicon, some loopholes in that choice. I don’t think I’d have to go purely with Spain. Instead, I could go with Latin and South America, for example, and maybe California, which might let me sneak in Asia on the side. And really, isn’t tapas as a concept all about small plates and small portions? So couldn’t I serve, well, anything as a tapa?
But I realize that there are purists out there who just decided to stop reading my blog. Wait a minute, purists! I lived in Spain. I understand the concept. And I do love the quite traditional Spanish tapas.
Here’s one of my favorites, an easy one that can be made ahead and reheated—in fact, it does better with that treatment—and that makes the whole house smell amazing while it’s cooking. This recipe is adapted from one I found somewhere on the Internet long enough ago that I cut and pasted it onto a piece of paper that I keep in my disorganized file of favorite recipes—if I ever figure out the original source, I’ll happily point you in that direction.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. chorizo (I used Fra’Mani Salametto Picante in my most recent batch), sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, sliced lengthwise
1/2 c. red wine
1/2 c. sherry vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. dried figs (I like white figs in this recipe), trimmed and halved
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and chorizo and stir for about four minutes, until the garlic and onion is soft and starting to brown.
2. Add the sugar and stir vigorously for approximately 30 seconds, being sure to coat all the ingredients.
3. Add the wine, vinegar, dried figs, cinnamon and cloves. Heat to a simmer and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and created a glaze for the chorizo and figs.
4. Serve immediately, or let cool and reheat for serving. I will often reheat this in a 1-quart slow cooker and just leave it on during a party so guests can help themselves.