Tapas time: JP McMahon’s six simple recipes

Cava Bodega in Galway celebrates 10 years in business. The chef shares his top tapas

 

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Patatas Bravas. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the bravas sauce:

400ml mayonnaise

150ml tomato passata, or homemade tomato sauce

1 tbsp PX sherry vinegar

1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika

For the potatoes:

8 rooster potatoes

Spanish smoked paprika

Sea salt

Method

1. For the bravas sauce, blend all ingredients in a food processor. Rest and chill for 1 hour.

2. Wash and chop potatoes into cubes (no need to peel). Fry at 135°C in a deep fat fryer until a cocktail stick can pass easily through.

3. Season the potatoes in a bowl with sea salt and smoked paprika. Rest for 5 minutes.

4. Turn fryer up to 175°C and fry potatoes until golden brown.

5. Season with smoked paprika and salt and serve hot with some bravas sauce.

Mussels with Almonds

Mussels with almonds. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Mussels with almonds. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Serves 4

Ingredients

1kg mussels

200g almonds

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

50g butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

150ml white wine

Handful of fresh parsley or lovage, finely chopped

50ml olive oil

Sea salt

Method

1. Wash and debeard the mussels. If any are opened, tap them lightly on a hard surface. If they don’t close, discard them.

2. Put the almonds, cumin, cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt and a splash of olive oil into a roasting tray. Mix the spices over the almonds and roast for 10 minutes in a 200°C oven. Allow to cool.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large frying pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes on a medium heat. Do not let the butter burn. Bring to the point of slight caramelisation. You should get a sweet nutty smell from the foaming butter.

4. Add the mussels, wine and a little of the salt. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 4 minutes. Give the pan a shake from time to time. The mussels are cooked when they’ve all opened up – discard any that don’t – but don’t let them over cook. Once a mussel has opened slightly, it’s cooked. It will become rubbery if you leave on the heat too long.

5. Add the almonds and parsley and cook for a further minute, tossing all the time, ensuring that the butter and wine sauce flows into the mussel meat. Season to taste with salt.

6. Spoon the mussels into four warm serving bowls. Pour over the cooking liquid and serve with some crusty rye bread.

Moorish Couscous

Moorish couscous. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Moorish couscous. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Serves 5

Ingredients

200g couscous

1 tsp dried rose petals

1 tsp ras-el-hanout

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

50g sultanas

50g dried apricots, diced

100g pine nuts

250ml vegetable stock

50g butter

1 lemon, juiced

Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Olive oil

Sea salt

Method

1. In a bowl, mix the couscous with the dried rose petals and the ras-el-hanout.

2. In a large pan, fry the onion and the garlic in some olive oil. Add the dried fruits and nuts and season with some sea salt.

3. Add the stock and allow it to come to the boil.

4. Gently pour in the couscous and remove from the heat.

5. Fold in the butter and the lemon juice, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

6. Tip the couscous into a bowl. With the aid of the fork, fluff the couscous, until it is light and fluffy.

7. Scatter the flat leaf-parsley over the couscous and mix together.

8. To serve, lSpoon the couscous onto four plates.

Tortilla and Romesco

Tortilla. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Tortilla. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Makes one tortilla

Ingredients

Tortilla:

1 Spanish onion

10 potatoes

10 eggs

Sea salt

Romesco sauce:

100g hazelnuts

100g almonds

500ml tomato passata, or homemade tomato sauce

Handful mint and parsley

30ml olive oil

15ml sherry vinegar

6 piquillo peppers

Sea salt and pepper

Method

1. To make Romesco sauce: Roast the almonds and hazelnuts until lightly brown. Mix all other ingredients with almonds and hazelnuts. Blend in a food processor until smooth.

2. To make tortilla: Thinly slice the onions and fry on a low heat until the onions are soft and transparent. Remove from heat and allow to stand. Peel and thinly slice potatoes.

3. Deep fry potatoes at 120°C until soft (a knife will pass through them without effort). Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add onions and potatoes to mix. Season liberally with sea salt.

4. In a moderately hot frying pan, heat some oil. Add tortilla mix. Lower the heat to lowest setting. Cook tortilla until brown and then turn tortilla with the aid of a flat plate. (You can also use another frying pan which is the same size. Just remember to heat it, and suitably oil it.)

5. When the tortilla is browned on both sides, take it off the heat and allow to cool completely before serving. Serve with some Romesco sauce and a crisp green salad.

Chorizo in Sherry

Chorizo with sherry. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Chorizo with sherry. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 medium sized cooking chorizo sausages

150ml Oloroso sherry

Olive oil

Method

1. Slice the chorizo sausages into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and when it’s hot add the chorizo.

3. Fry the chorizo until nicely brown on both sides.

4. Add the sherry and bring to the boil.

5. Lower the heat and allow the sherry to simmer for at least 5 minutes.

6. Serve the warm chorizo and sherry in four terracotta dishes.

Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Churros. Photograph: Julia Dunin
Churros. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the chocolate sauce:

250g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

500g double cream

50ml PX sherry

1 vanilla pod, split

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 cinnamon stick

For the churros:

500ml water

125g unsalted butter

Pinch salt

400g flour

Caster sugar, for dusting

Method

1. For the chocolate sauce: Grate the chocolate into a bowl. Pour the double cream and the PX sherry into a saucepan, add the split vanilla pod, smoked paprika and cinnamon stick and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick. Add the grated chocolate and stir until melted.

2. For the churros: Heat oil in a deep fryer to 175°C. Boil the water with the butter and salt. When the butter is melted, gradually add the flour. Mix until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

3. Pipe the mixture into long strips using a 2cm nozzle. Then deep-fry until golden (7-10 minutes). Remove from the fryer and dust with some sugar.

4. Serve the churros with the chocolate sauce in a small bowl for dipping. You can also add some berries and some chocolate ice-cream.

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