Pintxos Party!

Food, friends, wine, and laughter are an integral part of the Basque culture. The Basque live to eat, and love to share their incredible cuisine with strangers and old friends alike.

There is a rich culture in the Basque area of the Spanish Pyrenees that has a long history. In modern times it is well known for the incredible food and Michelin-starred chefs that have taken the style and ingredients of the countryside to the world. An abundance of seafood, produce and premium meat typically characterizes the food of the area, along with simple but innovative pairings that highlight the high quality of the ingredients and care of the chefs.

Not only is the area rich in premium provender, but the style of eating; wandering from bar to bar in search of a sip of wine and the perfect morsel of food is quintessentially Basque, and for most North Americans, a novel concept.

The pintxo is often known as the Basque version of tapas, but it is slightly different. Whereas tapas are small dishes that are usually served to be shared, a pintxos (literally translated as ‘skewer’) is just that – a one- to two- bite morsel pierced by a skewer to be enjoyed while standing at a bar, happily chatting with friends. A Spanish canapé, if you will. The ritual of wandering from bar to bar in search of the next flavourful mouthful and splash of wine is not exclusive to pintxos; there are other items to delight in, including bocadillos (which are little sandwiches), and montaditos (small bites of food served on bread), which work to soak up the copious amounts of wine often imbibed over the evening.

This festive experience, while native to the Basque area, is a fantastic idea for a cocktail party. This season, throw your very own Pintxos Party, where guests can mingle, snack and sip while enjoying the flavours of the Spanish countryside.

One obstacle to throwing such a soiree is the necessary ingredient list, which is not as easy to source in the frigid north as it is in the sunny Spanish countryside. Fear not; local online purveyor Lola and Miguel have an incredible selection of authentic Spanish ingredients that will help to make this menu a cinch. From 24-month aged jamon Iberico to smoked paprika, they offer competitive prices, a fully stocked larder, and speedy delivery for all of your Iberian food needs. They also have a fantastic recipe section for more inspiration.

Feel up to throwing your own Pintxos Party? We have put together a starter menu, which can serve up to 10 people – just be sure to keep the vino flowing!

Menu

Pintxos – Small skewers

Roasted Garlic Patatas Bravas with Chorizo Iberico

Although patatas bravas are typically served fried with an aioli, this recipe takes the typical inspiration and makes them the base of the pintxos, topped with perfectly smoky chorizo Iberico

Octopus with Caperberries and Fingerling Potato

Probably one of the most tender expressions of octopus around, the mild flavour pairs perfectly with the briny caperberry

Montaditos – Bites On Bread

Buttered Sardinillias

Although olive oil is most typically used in Basque cuisine, this iteration uses butter to bring out the richness of the delicate sardine

24-Month Jamon Iberico with Don Bocarte Anchovy Filets

This is probably the simplest iteration, but only because the ingredients are such super-stars on their own, no fuss is required.

Recipes:


Roasted Garlic Patatas Bravas with Chorizo Iberico

Ingredients

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes

1 head of garlic

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided

¼ cup of white onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup of parsley, chopped

100 grams of Fermin Chorizo Iberico sliced into 10 slices

Method

Preheat oven to 400F

Cut off the top third of the head of garlic, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and wrap with tin foil. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes

Remove the garlic from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the softened roasted garlic cloves from the bulb and place in a large glass bowl

Line a 9 inch  by 9 inch baking dish with parchment

Peel the potatoes and slice into very thin rounds using either a mandoline or vegetable peeler

Set a sauté pan over medium heat

Add the remaining olive oil and onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Next add the sweet and hot paprika, cayenne and salt and sauté for another minute

Pour the spiced onion mixture into the glass bowl containing the roasted garlic and stir or whisk thoroughly. Add in the potatoes and coat evenly with the spiced paste

Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil

Roast at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 10 minutes

Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours

Slice into 10 even squares, sprinkle with chopped parsley and skewer a slice of the chorizo Iberico atop it

 

Octopus with Caperberries and Fingerling Potato

Ingredients

4 Fingerling potatoes

1 120 ml can of Cambados Octopus in olive oil

10 bite sized pieces of red onion

10 Olmeda Spanish Caperberries

1 teaspoon of fine olive oil

Method

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes

Remove the potatoes from the water and let cool fully

Once cooled, slice the potato into 10 even rounds

To assemble, skewer a caper, slice of onion, piece of octopus and potato and serve drizzled with olive oil

 

Buttered Sardinillias

Ingredients

1 125 ml can of Cambados Small Sardines in olive oil

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature

½ teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

10 slices of baguette

Method

Drain the sardines of the olive oil

Take 5 sardines and slice them in half length-wise, so you are left with 10 filets

Chop the remaining sardines roughly and combine with the softened butter, salt and lemon juice

Spread the buttered sardine mixture onto the baguette slices and top with the sliced sardines

 

24-Month Jamon Iberico with Don Bocarte Anchovy Filets

Ingredients

10 slices of Fermin 24 Month Jamon Iberico

10 Don Bocarte Anchovy Filets

10 slices of baguette

Method

Remove the anchovies from the oil

Brush each of the baguette slices with a small amount of the oil from the anchovies

Adorn each baguette piece with a slice of the Jamon Iberico and one anchovy filet

Camille Llosa
Camille Llosa is a freelance writer and editor who is food-obsessed. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from Sheridan College and her work focuses on finding the connections between our everyday common experiences and how they can impact our life, wellbeing, perception, and purpose.

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