A few days ago Vivo hosted its first tapas night. Sam is a big fan of this cuisine and because of my background, well–we had to have this event. Sam gave me complete freedom with the menu and we both had a lot of fun making all the food.
I really wanted to keep it very traditional and at the same time be able to bring in all those flavors that mean great tapas to me. It was all about the simplicity of the food and good ingredients.
We started the meal with a refreshing palate cleanser–a bite of a pinot noir granita.
For the first course we had Ajo Blanco, a cold soup made with marcona almonds and garlic garnished with grapes–a big hit. This course also included a fun Chorizo and Potato Fritter served over a garlic aoli. Garlic was very present in this menu, no vampires were around this night! And a Tomato Confit served over Manchego Cheese was the third element of this course.
Baby Octopus “a la gallega,” octopus cooked with smoked paprika, was probably the favorite of the night and the beginning of the second course. This dish had a little spiciness and the lentil salad was perfect for cooling down your palate and continuing to the Wild Mushroom dish, in this case, chanterelles cooked in a light tomato sauce.
Probably one of the most interesting dishes we made this night was the Salt Baked Pork Tenderloin. We infused fresh herbs into the pork giving it a clean but complex touch, then served it with Serrano Ham. You might ask, “Pork with pork?” You need try it. This was a great start for the last course, I thought. I wanted a hearty but light combination of flavors, if that is possible.
We followed this with a very traditional “albondiga”–meatball with an apricot and pine nut sauce. Meatballs have always been one of my favorite “homey” dishes. In Spain they are usually served with a light beef jus and potatoes, or how I served them for this event with a sweet, very Moorish sauce. The frisée salad featured citrus and saffron–flavors that simply couldn’t be left out. A taste of them reminds me of a great afternoon in Valencia.
The meal finished with a trio of sorbets that Lori made specially for the evening.
One of the best parts of the evening was being able to circulate among the tables as the meal progressed. It was nice to get everyone’s feedback and share my enthusiasm for the dishes. Everyone was very happy with their meal and wanted to know when we’ll do something like this again. I know it will be soon. Buen provecho!