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, November 3, 2015
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, October 27, 2015
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, October 20, 2015
RECIPE OF THE WEEK: GWYNETH’S CLAMS
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.
* 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, October 13, 2015
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, October 6, 2015
In this week’s episode, be on the lookout for the orujo that goes into the Galician ‘punch’ called queimada. Orujo, sometimes called aguardiente, is a spirit native to Galicia with a very high alcohol level. It’s a bit like Italian grappa or Peruvian pisco—it’s made from the leftovers of the wine-making process, the grape skins and seeds, as well as bits of branches. Strong stuff.
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Episode 103: Coasting Along in Galicia
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2015
RECIPE OF THE WEEK: CALDO GALLEGO (EPISODE 2)
This is the traditional, restorative soup of Galicia. With a little bread, you‘ve got a great meal on your hands. Maria‘s version was especially good and it‘s no coincidence that she grows her own greens.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/2 pound thickly sliced pancetta or slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice - 1 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight in water to cover - 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice - 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice - 2 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice - 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed and sliced 1/4 inch thick - 1 pound turnip greens (or other dark leafy green), stemmed and coarsely chopped
Cook the pancetta in a large heavy pot over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the beans, add them to the pot, along with enough water to cover them by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam, then lower the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are beginning to soften.
Add the onion, potatoes, and turnips and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the chorizo and greens and cook for 10 minutes, or until the greens are tender.
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Gwyneth Cooking at Home
One of the best parts about a road trip is taking what you‘ve learned and bringing it home. For example, in Galicia at the casa rural, Maria made an incredible stewed capon dish. Mario and I spoke about using the same technique – browning the bird and then braising it with flavorful liquid with different ingredients. And that‘s how my Chinese duck recipe was born! Get a very good organic duck. Cut it into 14 pieces (see Capon Grandma–Style). Prick the skin all over with a sharp paring knife. Rub with some softened butter that‘s been mixed with 3 or 4 minced garlic cloves. Sprinkle with ground cloves and black pepper. Brown the duck well in olive oil in a large heavy pot. Pour off all but a few tablespoons of the fat and add a cup each of Madeira and sake, some mirin, a sprinkle of sugar, lots of grated fresh ginger, a few crushed garlic cloves, and 2 star anise. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 3 1/2 hours, or until the duck is very tender. During the last 10 minutes, add soy sauce to taste. Serve garnished with tons of chopped cilantro and sliced scallions. –GWYNETH
Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Episode 102: Pilgrimage to Galicia
Mark’s moods swings and insatiable appetite have the road trippers stopping often as they head north to Galicia. While in Ribera del Duero wine country, Mario grills milk-fed lamb in a vineyard. While staying at a traditional county inn, Mario’s competitive edge emerges and he and Gwyneth race Mark and Claudia on the Camino de Santiago, a historic pilgrimage route. Back at the inn, Mario and Gwyneth cook dinner while waiting for Mark and Claudia to get back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfD4XtnXrDA
This week, Mark and Claudia made migas, essentially Thanksgiving stuffing Spanish style, with Javier Muñoz. Note that it‘s very good served with eggs fried in olive oil.
Serves 6 as a side dish or tapa
- 6 cups coarse dried bread crumbs - 1/3 cup olive oil - 6 garlic cloves, not peeled - 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice - 1/2 pound pancetta in one piece, cut into 1/2-inch dice - A large bunch of grapes - 6 Roasted Red Peppers, peeled, seeded, and cut into wide strips
Put the bread crumbs in a bowl, sprinkle with just enough water to moisten, and cover with damp paper towels. Set aside for 2 hours, or until the bread is evenly moistened. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir until lightly browned and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and pancetta and cook, stirring, until the meat is lightly browned and starting to render its fat, about 8 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, mix thoroughly, and cook, stirring, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Serve with the grapes and roasted peppers (peel the garlic cloves if you like, or let your guests do it).
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Mario’s Mac & Cheese
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Road Trip Diaries
“Mark and I got up early, very early, to check out Mercamadrid. It is a pretty unbelievable market. It is huge and industrial and there are different buildings for each food group. We have come mainly to see the fish, but first we need a little pick-us-up, so we stop at the workers cafeteria. It looks like a church basement, littered with napkins and sugar packets. It is smoky and the only light is fluorescent. Since it is about 6 a.m., most of the men, and everyone, it seems, is a man, are having a shot or two of orujo (Spanish version of grappa) or brandy to end their day. We have café cortados in glass tumblers and a couple of cold, greasy churros.” – MARIO