Friday, August 15, 2008

A Taste of Spain and Serrano

Visitors to this blog may know that one of my new favorite food resources is La Tienda (thanks Veronica!), an incredible resource for authentic Spanish food that just happens to be about 20 minutes away from me. I have purchased several items from there and have shared some of their recipes, however until about a week ago, my budget had not allowed me to try their pride and joy- their Spanish hams. There are two primary types of Spanish hams- the Serrano, and the Iberico, the Rolls Royce of hams made from the famous acorn- fed black Iberico pigs. So far, Iberico ham has been way out of my prices range (I have to buy gas after all!), but recently, as a member of Club Tienda,I got an email that told me I could get some Serrano ham for the teeny price of $6.95, so with the Olympics looming, I thought this would be a great opportunity to try this ham at a bargain price. Serrano ham is aged for a full year, and has a deeper flavor and firmer texture than it's Italian cousin, prosciutto.

Now if you have children you know that no package is coming to your house in the summer without them calling and begging to open it, and in this case, since the ham was a perishable, I told them to go ahead and put the ham in the fridge. The ham was lovingly packed with two ice packs to keep it cold and the beautiful, paper-thin slices were vacuum packed. It had been a long day when I came home from work and so Spanish night was going to be a one-dish meal of spinach, chickpeas and Serrano ham, inspired by a recipe I saw on the great list of Spanish dishes that La Tienda has on its site.

When I opened the Serrano, I had to have a taste, and I have to say that it was everything that I had read and heard. I threw together a quick dish with garlic, chickpeas and spinach and added shreds of the Serrano and a bit of white wine, for a quick and delicious taste of sunny Spain that is quick, delicious, and healthy! I guess now the question is how can I go back to ham or even prosciutto now that I have had Spanish Serrano? Luckily, I won't have to find out since I have two more packets waiting for me in my fridge. Try it for yourself, it's a taste of Spain without an airline ticket (or the hairy guy next to you who burps throughout the flight!).


Spanish Spinach, Chickpeas, and Ham

2 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced fine
2 bunches (or 8 ounces, or three large fistfuls, depending on the scale you like best)
1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
4 ounces of Serrano ham cut into strips
1/2 cup white wine
Red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add garlic, being careful not to burn. Add spinach and stir in drained chickpeas and wine. let spinach wilt and add ham and pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with thinly sliced Manchego cheese on top.

3 comments:

Glenna said...

Okay, that meal and ham sounds so good I would have bought an airline ticket just to be able to beg scraps from your table! YUM!

hot garlic said...

Deborah! You are too cute! I love your profile pic!

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog, I really appreciate it.

I am back to go surf your yummy blog some more.

Deborah Dowd said...

Glenna- Head to La Tiendaand they willsend you some of your own to play with! And if you are ever in the Williamsburg area, you are more than welcome at my table!

Hot Garlic- Ah the wonders of having a professional photographer! I hope you will be back!