pintxoak etxean: piquillo pepper, white asparagus and goat cheese
Sometimes you're hungry but it's raining, cold, and you really don't want to leave the house. Or maybe you overdosed on mayonnaise and just can't face another barful of the stuff. That may or may not be the situation I was faced with recently, but I still wanted to at least feel like I was going out to potear. So I took matters into my own hands and made a pintxo worthy of any bar here in San Sebastián: a warm, melty mix of the ubiquitious rind-encircled goat cheese, some very typical white asparagus, and the ingredient definitely in the front running for the most delicious ingredient from this country, the piquillo pepper.
They're amazing right out of the can or jar, but warmed with a bit of olive oil and garlic they reach towards sublimity. And served with a dolled-up reduction of their juices....well. And just like any other pintxo, they're just as good after a few hours of sitting out as they are fresh.
Another simple dish that smacks of Spain.
pintxo of piquillo, white asparagus, and goat cheese (pimiento del piquillo con esparragos y queso de cabra)
- crusty bread, sliced and toasted
- 8 pimientos del piquillo, in their juice
- 10-12 stalks of canned white asparagus
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed
- 1/4 cup sherry
- goat cheese, sliced in thin rounds
Heat a bit of olive oil over high heat. Cut the asparagus on the bias, each stalk into about three pieces, and let them sit on a towel to soak up a bit of the moisture. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the asparagus, allowing them to sear on each side. Salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Wipe out pan, heat more olive oil over high heat, with the clove of garlic. Add the peppers, season, and allow them to get seared so they have color on each side. Remove peppers, then add sherry over heat and let it reduce a little more than halfway. Add the juice from the peppers (about 1/4 cup) and let it reduce until you have a slightly thicker sauce. Top toasted bread with cheese, peppers, and asparagus, (warming in the oven if necessary) then drizzle with pepper jus. Serve with parsley to garnish.