Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas, fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli, are heaven. They’re one of my favorite tapas and the ones at Inopia were some of the best I ever had.


Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Something Special About This Week’s Episode

Gwyneth, Mario and Michael Stipe enjoy an out–of–this–world meal of tapas at Inopia in Barcelona. Watching the episode, you might not be able to grasp the amount of tapas they ate: a long ceramic dish of olives–delicious little malagueñas–is brought out first. Then a boda (literally a wedding) of anchovies, both salt–cured and vinegar–cured. Pan con tomate, of course. Then icy–cold bacalao on crunchy bread (pan de aire, which translates as “bread of air”) with olive paste. Next, perfect wedges of green but sweet tomato with tuna belly and scallions. And then jamón, seared tuna, fried gambas (shrimp), tiny fried mullets (“this is my favorite, because I have to work,” says Michael), and anchovies infused with lemon, dredged in flour, and fried. Gwyneth says she’s full and I tell her she’s only started to see the edge of full. We’re not done yet, not even close. Out come baby cuttlefish cooked a la plancha; croquettas de jamón made with Ibérico ham; eggplant with cane sugar; patatas bravas; spiced lamb brochettes; torta Cañarejal cheese; pineapple with lime zest and molasses; strawberries with black pepper and sherry vinegar caramel; finally, small glasses of homemade red peach wine. Michael perfectly renames it: “I’m going to call this place Utopia.”

Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Mark and Claudia loved these gambas (shrimp). Rafa explains that he cooks the gambas on a bed of salt because it preserves their moisture and keeps them juicy. Whatever the reason, his were some of the best. Claudia eats only the shrimp bodies, and Mark loves the heads – like Jack Sprat and his wife, they make a good team.

Serves 2 to 3
* Coarse sea or kosher salt
* 1 pound large head–on shrimp in the shell

Heat a plancha or large cast–iron skillet over a hot grill fire or medium–high heat until hot. Spread a 1/4 inch–thick layer of salt on the plancha (or in the skillet). Lay the shrimp on the salt and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with plenty of napkins.

Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mario Batali Heads to Barneys

Chef Mario Batali has joined forces with Barneys New York for a book signing and party to celebrate the publication of Spain… A Culinary Road Trip , the companion book to his celebrated public television series with Gwyneth Paltrow Spain… on the road Again.

Come join us Wednesday, October 29th from 6–8pm where Mario will be signing copies of the book, which was published by the Ecco imprint of HarperCollins. Wine will be provided by Frexienet and Barneys in–house restaurant, Fred’s, will be serving Spain–inspired Mario concocted appetizers from the book.

See you uptown!

Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018

BLOG: Mark on Juan-Marie Arzak

For some reason, Juan–Marie Arzak (whom I know loves me like a brother), decided to start calling me ‘Grumpy’ (or, as he pronounced it, ‘grahmpy’) when we visited him this time. (I suspect he was prompted by some of the grumpy crew members.) In any case, it was – as usual – an amazing visit to his restaurant, incorporating a fantastic lesson in making pil–pil, one of the truly miraculous dishes of Basque cuisine, a fun trip to the port, a sampling of a few of the local pinxos bars, and of course a quiet meal at Juan-Marie’s restaurant at the end of the day.

When I got home, I made this sort of rough shrimp equivalent of pil–pil, with similar flavors but fewer challenges.

Roasted Shrimp with Herb Sauce
Makes 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 cup parsley (thin stems are okay; discard thick ones)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds shrimp, in the 20 to 30 per pound range, peeled
1/3 cup shrimp, fish, or chicken stock, white wine, or water

1. Preheat the oven to 500dgF. Combine the garlic and oil in the container of a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the scallions and parsley and pulse until the mixture is minced. Toss with the shrimp, salt, pepper, and chilis.

2. Put the shrimp in a roasting pan that will accommodate them comfortably. Add the liquid and put the pan in the oven. Roast, stirring once, until the mixture is bubbly and hot, and the shrimp all pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Posted Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dueling Breakfasts

At the Marqués de Riscal Hotel & Vineyard, Gwyneth and I had a funny breakfast together. She had yogurt with honey on the side, fruit, and coffee with soymilk. I, on the other hand, had torta del Cesar cheese, tongue terrine, eggs, sausage, thickly sliced rye bread with olive oil and crushed tomatoes, melon, and espresso with sugar.


Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Boquerones are the great Spanish white anchovies pickled in vinegar and stored in olive oil. Since they’re not preserved in salt, like most anchovies, they don’t have the intense saltiness usually associated with anchovies. Instead, they’re mild and tender. Great on pan con tomate or just a toothpick!


Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Mark and Claudia ate these in a pintxo bar in San Sebastián with Juan Mari Arzak. This is one of the easiest ways to prepare mushrooms, but it is also decadent and impressive. The Basque Country is known for its mushrooms, and you find this dish in pintxo bars all around the region.

Serves 4
* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra–virgin olive oil
* 1 pound porcini or mixed wild mushrooms, cut into 1/8 inch–thick slices
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 4 large eggs
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium–high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nicely browned and softened. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Fry the eggs sunny–side up in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Transfer to a cutting board and cut away the whites from the yolks (discard the whites). Spoon the mushrooms onto four plates and sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper. Make a little space in the center of each portion of mushrooms, and nestle the yolks in the mushrooms. As you eat, mix the yolk with the hot mushrooms to create a rich, silky sauce.

Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What’s in My Suitcase: The Joy of a Uniform

It’s very easy to pack when you wear the same thing everyday. Throw a few pairs of Crocs in the bottom of your bag, some funky colored socks and shorts, a stack of crisp button-down shirts, a vest or two, and you’re good to go!”


Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018

BLOG: Bitty in Basque Country

“I’d been in Bilbao before, and wasn’t impressed. Just goes to show what an idiot I can be: This trip was amazing. It wasn’t just that Mario and I got to eat tapas at like four different places in an hour; it was that they were all in the same plaza, and they were all good. (I went back con mi amor the next night.)

Hanging out with Gehry wasn’t bad, either, though I didn’t get to see the museum. I did, however, get to taste grilled caviar in the Basque countryside. Not bad.”


Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018


There are large billboards all over Spain shaped like bulls and painted black – huge silhouettes looming over the highways. It’s fun to count how many you pass on the long drives. We nicknamed them ‘bullboards.’ –CLAUDIA

Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Frank Gehry and Mark Bittman on Matazh Brei

Frank Gehry and Mark Bittman chat about Matzah Brei at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Episode 104: Landmarks, Legends and the Lap of Luxury

Gwyneth and Mario meet up with architectural legend Frank Gehry for a tour of the Bilbao Guggenheim. Meanwhile, Mark and Claudia head into the woods where they discover the ultimate grilling restaurant. The foursome reunite at the Gehry-designed Marqués de Riscal Hotel and Vineyard in Rioja wine country. Gwyneth and Claudia opt for oppulent spa treatments while Mario and Mark sneak back into Bilbao to spend a boys’ night out eating and drinking.

Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2017


When the cast of Spain on the road Again ate at Casa Pintos after meeting the mariscadoras in Cambados, Gwyneth was inspired by the chef‘s use of laurel, bay leaves, in the steamed clams. When they got to the Vintona Winery, she volunteered to make everyone her special clams, with enough garlic to clear your sinuses. The healthy slug of Albariño is key.

Serves 4

* 2 pounds berberechos or other clams, scrubbed
* 1 head garlic, cut in half across the bulb
* 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves
* 1/2 bottle Albariño (or other good Spanish dry white wine)
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put everything in a deep skillet, cover tightly, and steam over medium-high heat until the clams open (yes, it’s really that easy).

Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tarta de Santiago

Tarta de Santiago is the almost too-sweet, perfectly nutty tart that hails exclusively from Santiago de Compestela. Mark, Claudia and I watched how the tarts are made at the factory–it‘s no more than thin pastry shells filled with a mixture of ground Spanish almonds (the best almonds!), eggs, and sugar. The finished tarts are powdered with sugar and slices practically beg for a strong cup of coffee. –MARIO

Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2017