As a fan of the Gastronomía de España, I try to enjoy good Spanish food whenever I get the opportunity. There are a couple of terrific and authentic tapas restaurants in southwest Florida, which I take advantage of when time and my travelling schedules permit. I’m also a bit of an amateur chef-at-heart and will scour the web for regional dishes that are flavorful but not too challenging to prepare.
Here’s a good tapas dish from noted Spanish chef Jose Andres that I found on the Vibrant Rioja website at www.vibrantrioja.com
These chicken wings are moist and flavorful and a cinch to make. Serves 4.
Pollo al ajillo (Chicken with Garlic)
10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 chicken wings cut in half at the joint
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Manzanilla sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
“Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a knife. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame, add the garlic, and sauté until it is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the chicken wings, and sauté until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and sherry. Stir the mixture well so the oil and sherry emulsify, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 1 more minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.”
If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, you can substitute a ¼ cup of sodium-free chicken broth. I use my homemade turkey stock that I make after Thanksgiving and freeze in single serving containers for just such an occasion (see my “Talking Turkey (Stock)” blog from November 26).
For the Manzanilla Sherry, I used Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana. We carry it at ABCFWS and it’s a relative bargain at $14.99 per bottle. It also is a terrific match with this dish. Serve it ice cold at about 45°F.
Jim Greeley, Wine Supervisor, SW Florida