Spain is a country full of romance, history, passion, and delicious food. While meat & fish may take centre stage, the recipes that do have vegetables are still ones to please the palate (and thankfully the pocketbook!)
I was lucky enough to spend my gap year at university living in the hustle & bustle of Madrid. It was such a life changing experience! My first time in Europe, away from everyone i knew, to really find myself as they say. I couldn’t have dreamed up some of the stuff that went down, and it definitely had a lasting impact on me. I was able to also travel throughout Spain, Greece, Turkey, & Italy with a pitstop to Amsterdam in the mix. Absolute insanity…and way too many photos to even put up! As I share more recipes from The Med, I will post up any ‘good’ ones I can find 😉
Tapas are essential to spanish life, even more so to a madrileño. I was able to experience tapas all over spain actually, and although my options as a non meat/fish eating member, were still delicious, depending on the place of course! I selected some to serve for an easy date night with the hubby. Super simple, all it takes is some planning 🙂
Tapas Date Night
Tip* Serve this with your favourite red wine or sangria for an authentic taste 🙂
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 small aubergines (eggplants), washed & topped and tailed and thinly sliced with a mandolin
- 1 bag of spinach, washed and big stems taken out (if you like, my husband is a picky eater so I have to)
- 4-6 large potatoes 500g, washed or peeled then diced into whatever size you like, as long as it is even
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- runny honey
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Chives, to serve
- 1 tbs red pepper flakes
- 1 tbs sweet smoked paprika
- lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F. Put a roasting tray with 2 tbsp olive oil into the oven and leave to heat for 5 minutes, then take out, toss your potatoes in the hot oil, and bake for about 45 minutes until crisp and golden. Remember to check every 15 minutes or so and give a shake to ensure even roasting. Take your aubergine slices and put on a wire rack or colander, pop a paper towel under them, and salt those bad boys to get the bitter juices out. This will also simplify the frying portion. This should take 30-40 minutes. Rinse the salt off, pat down with paper towel to dry the slices, and set aside to fry later.
- While the potatoes are in there doing their thing, get your brava & aioli sauce on the go so it can cook down enough to taste perfect with the roasties. Put 2 tbsp oil into a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat, and cook the onion for about seven minutes until golden and soft. Put in the chilli, and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and smoked paprika and stir well. Bring to the boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until thick and dark. Take off the heat, add 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Feel free to add in more of the sweet smoked paprika if you want a richer flavour.
- To make the aioli, put the egg in the small bowl of a food processor along with the 1 clove garlic and 1tbs sherry vinegar. Add 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil and whizz until incorporated, then drizzle in the rest of the olive oil with the motor running, until you have creamy mayonnaise-style sauce. Season to taste. (You can also use a hand blender, but it’s harder to drizzle and beat at the same time.)
- Get a small pan out and fill with some frying oil. I used coconut oil because it is the healthiest with a high heat, but feel free to use olive oil as well. Test it out by using an old bit of bread to make sure the temperature is right.
- Get a frying pan out, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil & saútee the spinach down. Season with your sweet smoked paprika (a dash or two will be more than enough), the rest of the garlic, and salt & pepper.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle with a little salt. Spread the tomato sauce on to the plates, put the potatoes on top, then add a dollop of aioli and a sprinkle of chives, & serve immediately.