Enrique and Natasha
It’s always fun to do a dinner around an ethnic theme. In this case, there was an additional reason, celebrating a friend’s awesome achievement. Enrique, the husband of my good friend, Natasha Zapata, had returned from his month-long walk on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The first one Enrique did, the French Way, runs from the northeast to the northwest of Spain, over 500 tough miles. Since then, he has done four other walks with different routes. This year, Enrique will do it again in September, the longest of all the walks, a north to south route that takes almost two month-long sessions.. WOW! Anyone who does even one of these walks deserves a celebration.
As Enrique is a Spaniard by birth, a dinner featuring traditional Spanish dishes and flavors was the thing. I printed the menu in Spanish, using the colors most associated with Spain, red print on gold card stock, topping it with an image of the Spanish flag. The English translation was printed on the back side.
Menu items and wines were, of course, Spanish. I had recently visited Spain, including a stop at the winery of the Marqués de Riscal where I sampled and then bought a number of tins of their wonderful paté with truffles, perfect for an appetizer. The other appetizers were fried shrimp, always welcome on a Spanish table, and Manchego cheese that, in Spain, is often accompanied with quince paste.
Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
The soup was a stunning bright red topped with salted whipped cream made golden with food dye. For the main course, I chose pork because it is popular in Spain and because Spanish farmers raise some of the tastiest, and most expensive, pork in the world; their pigs (pata negra - black foot) are free range and stuff themselves with acorns, other nuts, berries and olives. Spanish-style potatoes were a must, served along with Marcona almonds added to bright green chard.
For a Spanish dessert, most people think of flan. However, as I am not a fan of flan, I opted for an almond cake, a nod to one of Spain’s major products. As Enrique and Natasha are fans of cats, the cake sported a powdered sugar topping with cat silhouette. Chocolate ice cream - because Natasha is a chocoholic and chocolate is a great combination with almonds.
La Celebración por El Regreso de Enrique desde El Camino Santiago de Compostela.
Marqués de Riscal Paté de Hildago de Cerdo
Queso Manchego con Membrillo
Pimiento Rojo y Tomates
Asado de Cerdo
Acelga con Almendras
El Pastel de Almendra
Helado de Chocolate
Celebration for the Return of Enrique from the Road to Compostela de Santiago
Pork and Truffle Paté from Marques de Riscal
Shrimp Fried with Oil and Garlic
Manchego Cheese with Quince
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato
Spanish Style Potatoes
Chard with Marcona Almonds
Chocolate Ice Cream