Tuna toasts are tempting for the tummy

Published 12:06 am Saturday, March 14, 2015

We had to spend the night on our way back from Morocco in Madrid. No time for doing a lot but we reserved a hotel in town near the Prado. The Prado is Spain’s best known museum and by one writer the greatest collection anywhere of paintings by the European masters, and the place to enjoy the great Spanish painter, Francisco de Goya. And the museum in free after every evening! But after spending all day going to the airport, waiting in the airport, flying, collecting bags, customs, etc., we felt like a drink and something to eat after checking in to our hotel. The clerk suggested tapas, near the Plaza Mayor, a short walk away. The Calle Cava Baja is just a short walk south of Plaza Mayor and “fills each evening with mostly young, professional Madrileños prowling for chic tapas and social fun.” We headed out all bundled up in the chilly winter Madrid. We were early for the bar recommended by the clerk but found one nearby and sat at a window table near the bar and ordered two glasses of tinto (red wine) and settled in to think about which tapas to order and to watch the crowd. Of course, we had a bowl of aceitunas (olives) to munch on.

The Spanish eat their main meal in the afternoon and dinner quite late—for us. But tapas are eaten at all times. They come in a ración (full portion, dinner plate size), media-ración, tapa (snack-size portion) and a pincho (bite-sized portion) or a pinchito (tiny pincho). We chose one tapa to share, then another—then another glass of wine and more olives and another tapa. It was all we needed. We had a tortilla which in Spain is a potato omelet. We had to have jamón (a prosciutto-like ham that’s dry-cured and aged) served on a bocadillo (baguette sandwich). Caramelized onions were another good toping along with cheese.

I came home and found my old tapas book and did some interesting recipes which I would like to share. It is a great way to have dinner and eat less at the same time.

From the book Incredibly Easy Tapas, 2008 by Publications International, Ltd.

Herbed Tuna Salad Toasts

Makes 24 appetizers

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon coarse-grain mustard

¼ cup olive oil

2 cans (6 ounces each) solid white tuna packed in water, drained

2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and grated

3 green onions, finely chopped

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper

24 (1/2-inch) toasted French bread slices

Smoked paprika or paprika

For vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar and mustard. Slowly add oil, whisking constantly.

Combine tuna, eggs, green onions, capers, oregano, thyme and garlic in medium bowl; season with and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over tuna mixture, stirring gently to blend. Cover; refrigerate two hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

Spoon tuna mixture onto bread slices. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Note: The tuna mixture can be prepared up to one day in advance. For the best flavor, remove the tuna mixture from the refrigerator 30 minutes before assembling the toast.


Chorizo and Caramelized Onion Tortilla

Makes 36 squares

¼ cup olive oil

3 medium yellow onions, quartered and sliced

½ pound Spanish chorizo sausage (about 2 links) or Andouille sausage, diced (I used Andouille)

6 eggs

Salt and black pepper

½ cup chopped fresh parsley (I used cilantro since that is what is in my garden.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook, covered, 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to low; cook, uncovered, 40 minutes or until golden and very tender. Remove onions from skillet and set aside to cool.

Add chorizo to skillet. Cook five minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until just beginning to brown. Remove chorizo from skillet; set aside to cool.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add onions, chorizo and parsley; stir gently until well blended. Pour egg mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn oven to broil. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until top just starts to brown.

Transfer pan to wire rack; cool completely. Cut into squares or triangles; serve on wooden toothpicks cold or at room temperature.

Note: The tortilla can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated until serving. To serve at room temperature, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.