Chef José Andrés is known for his masterful mix of traditional Spanish cooking with an avant-grade flair. At his restaurants like The Bazaar by José Andrés, Tres by José Andrés, Bazaar Meat, and more, his innovative small plates come across as deliciously complex in flavor as they do in appearance. But at home, Andrés insists that anyone can make exceptional tapas with a few basic ingredients and a little bit of love. Below, Andrés shares three favorite recipes from his bestselling book, Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen.
Padron Peppers with Tetilla Cheese
24 fresh Padrón peppers
8 ounces Tetilla (Spanish cow’s milk cheese from Galicia), cut into 1 1/2 x 1/2 inch thick strips
2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt, to taste
With a paring knife, make a slit down the center of each pepper from the top to the middle, being careful not to split them. Slide a strip of cheese into each slit and squeeze the pepper closed around it.
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan or cast-iron griddle until hot and just smoking. Brown the peppers on each side, turning every 30 seconds until the cheese melts. The peppers should keep some of their crunch, so do not let them cook for too long. Transfer the peppers to a plate, season with sea salt, and drizzle with olive oil before serving.
Figs in Sweet Malvasia Wine
2 cups sweet Spanish Malvasia wine
1 1/4 teaspoo unflavored gelatin powder
4 ripe and firm Black Mission figs
1/4 Cup fresh mint leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
Warm 1/2 cup of the wine in a small pot over low heat, then add the gelatin and let it dissolve in the wine. Do not let the wine boil. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of wine. Pour the wine into four large shallow soup bowls and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until a gelee forms on the bottom of the bowl.
Meanwhile, zest both oranges and set the zest aside. Slice off the top and bottom of each orange. Using a sharp knife, cut down the sides of the oranges to remove all of the peel and pith. Slice along the sides of each membrane and pull out the segments.
Cut the figs into quarters. Arrange the fig quarters on top of the wine gelee. Arrange the orange segments on top of the figs and garnish with the mint leaves and lemon and orange zests.
Basque Tapa of Olive, Anchovy, and Guindilla Pepper
8 Guindilla peppers (pickled Basque peppers) or other mild, long pickled peppers
4 anchovy fillets
8 pitted Manzanilla olives (large green olives also known as Spanish olives)
4 boquerones (white anchovy fillets packed in oil and vinegar)
Push a pepper three-quarters of the way onto a small skewer or large toothpick. Next, spear an anchovy and then an olive onto the skewer, pushing them close to the pepper. Repeat with three more peppers, anchovies, and olives. Then skewer the peppers, boquerones and olives in the same process.