Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Al Fresco food: Spanish kebabs with patatas bravas
Food just tastes better outside. I don't know if this can (or should) be scientifically proven and I don't know if it is really down to the food, but there's something about eating outside which never gets old. Even on a cold, cold day, the mug of soup that you hold in your hands to thaw your fingers tastes more like it is doing you the world of good than sat inside drinking it. It's a more satisfying experience, for me, anyway.
Luckily this is not about cold weather food, for Summer was well and truly ensconced chez Lola and Finn (and indeed the whole of Blighty) this weekend. Whilst the neighbours were giving their guests food poisoning at impromptu barbecues, I decided to cook these kebabs on the griddle inside, not because I don't trust Phill and his barbecue skills (for he is really rather good) but because we were woefully ill prepared in the barbecue and charcoal department. Whilst it might have been nice to have had these sizzling away outside whilst I was busy doing other things, I still think these were tasty, and more importantly Lola and Finn agreed wholeheartedly. The fact of the matter is that I will eat most things, and Lola and Finn won't. Clean plates signifies a massive thumbs up.
I am in the process of clearing out the freezer and using up the stuff that has been in there for longer than it probably should have been. A scour of the back of the freezer revealed turkey breast chunks and some pouting fillets. I figured that with a marinade to juzz them up, a nice salad and some accompanying patatas bravas, this would be a meal that would make room in the freezer and make us feel content and very summery. Success all round.
Spanish kebabs with Patatas Bravas
For the marinade:
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
1 tbsp pimenton (paprika). I used 'picante' for a little heat
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped parsley (I used the stalks - more flavour!)
30ml red wine or sherry vinegar
30ml good olive oil
I marinaded 400g turkey breast chunks and 350g of pouting (cut into chunks) with this amount of marinade. You can obviously pick the meat/fish of your choice
Skewers, soaked in water.
In addition, I used some red onion and cherry tomatoes on my kebabs
For the Patatas Bravas:
500g good quality new potatoes. I used Exquisa, a waxy yellow variety
A couple of glugs of olive oil
salt and black pepper
A tin of chopped tomatoes
a few dashes of tabasco sauce
pinch of chilli flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp pimenton picante
1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a suitable non reactive bowl.
Add your marinade to the meat. (I marinaded the different meats separately). Marinade for a few hours at least.
If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for a few minutes to ensure that they don't set on fire whilst on the griddle.
To make the Patatas Bravas: Peel and chopped the potatoes into even sized pieces, between 1 and 2 cm in size.
Put into a roasting tin and then add olive oil. Coat the potatoes thoroughly in the mix and then liberally apply salt and pepper. Give the potatoes a quick stir once again. Place in a hot oven (220c) for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes yield easily when pierced and are beginning to colour a little at the edges. Give the tin a shake a couple of times during cooking to ensure that the potatoes are evenly cooked.
Start to cook the bravas sauce whilst the potatoes are in the oven. Pour the tinned tomatoes into a sauce pan, add some salt and pepper and cook on a high heat until the tomatoes have reduced a little and the sauce has thickened perceptibly. Add the other ingredients, stir to combine and continue to simmer the sauce for a further 10 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning. The sauce should be tomatoey with a latent kick.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, assemble and cook your kebabs. Thread the meat onto the skewers, ensuring that each piece of meat is of a similar size so that the kebabs cook evenly. I alternated by putting meat, then vegetable.
Place the kebabs onto a hot griddle. You might need to add a smear of oil to the griddle so that the kebabs don't stick. Also bear in mind if you have a combination of meat and fish, that fish will cook far quicker and meat will need to rest. Cook the meat ones first, and cook the fish ones whilst your meat kebabs are resting.
Rotate the kebabs to ensure even cooking. My turkey breast kebabs took about 8 - 10 minutes to cook, the fish, about 5 minutes.
Plate up the kebabs, transfer the patatas into a bowl and either pour the sauce over the patatas or, if you have smaller ones, serve the sauce separately. Lola and Finn adore these potatoes without sauce, not unsurprisingly. The bravas sauce is for the grown ups really.