One of the standing jokes in our house is to do with how Michael wouldn’t let us have tapas in the Bocceria on our honeymoon in Barcelona, because he didn’t trust it. Oh how I laugh about it now. Not. Still, I don’t go on about it. I just look at him every time it’s mentioned by food critics, friends – everyone – that the Bocceria does the best tapas in Barcelona and raise an eyebrow. That’s all it takes. He knows.
I’m not going to give a recipe for all the tapas pictured here but instead I’m going to pick out a couple of the more authentic dishes and, I think, more interesting. Prawns, patatas bravas, tortilla – they’re all pretty standard and as for the broad bean tapas above, unusually for me, I nicked that from Ramsay’s latest book.
The two recipes I’m going to give from our tapas night are the chicken livers (which no-one apart from me ate but they should have – the look of them puts people off but they taste delicious) and the giant stuffed squid. First up, the chicken livers. The recipe is simple – a pound of chicken livers, one medium onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a dash of madeira, oil for frying and salt.
Prep the livers but snipping off any connective tissue and set aside. Finely chop the onion and garlic and saute gently in a little oil and enough salt to season generously. Add a good slug of madeira and reduce it back down until the liquid has gone – you want the flavour not the volume. The madeira adds a beautiful sweetness. Finally add your chicken livers and cook over a medium heat for five minutes, stirring all the while. That’s it, done. You can sprinkle a bit of parsley over the top if you have it.
Again, this recipe is simple uses only a few ingredients: 4 giant squid tubes (a good fishmonger should be able to source them for you), 6 merguez sausages, a medium onion, 4 cloves garlic, oil, salt, a thick slice of bread, enough milk to soak it and one tsp smoked parika. Squeeze the insides out of the sausages and set aside. Put the bread into a bowl and pour enough milk over it to just cover, don’t drown it. Saute the onion and garlic in a little oil and a 1/4 tsp salt. When they’re soft add your paprika and cook through for a few more minutes.
Put the sausage meat in the pan and cook through. Use a wooden spoon and continually break it up so you don’t end up with big lumps. Allow to cool and then work the soaked bread through it until everything is thoroughly combined. If you have parsley around add a big, finely chopped handful. Divide the mixture into 4 and stuff into the squid tubes using a teaspoon. Don’t overfill them. Secure the ends with a toothpick and bake in a medium oven (gas mark 4) for 10-15 mins. To serve, cut them into 1 cm slices. Some of the filling will escape but don’t worry about that. It’s not meant to look neat!