>> Saturday, April 2, 2011
I have wonderful news to share: I will be a contributor to the new online food magazine Honest Cooking! I am soooo excited! And I am in great company there, with colleagues like Nancy from Spicie Foodie, Simone from Junglefrog Cooking, Joan from Foodalogue, Asha from Fork Spoon Knife or Maria Laitinen from Scandi Foodie among many outstanding bloggers. You can check my published articles anytime by clicking on the cute Honest Cooking logo on my sidebar. For my debut at Honest Cooking I have chosen a very typical dish of my hometown, Madrid, the capital city of Spain. I have lived there most of my life and though in fact I live outside Madrid since 2000, in a small town 40km to the Northwest, I am still in the same province... it feels almost the same. Choosing a dish that is representative of Madrid is not an easy task. Madrid builds upon thousands of immigrants coming from all over Spain through time, so there are not many dishes that are actually exclusively from Madrid. Just take into account that Madrid had around 1 million inhabitants in 1940, after the Spanish Civil War, and it already had 3.1 millions 30 years later, in 1970. More than triple! Everything is mixed.
Soldaditos de Pavía, meaning Pavía soldiers, are strips of desalted codfish, marinated in a mixture of lemon juice and Spanish sweet pimentón, then either coated first in flour then in egg, or in a frying batter, deep-fried in olive oil and served with a strip of roasted red pepper around them. About the origin of this funny name there are two theories: the first relates to the color of the soldier uniforms at the time of the battle of Pavia, in 1525. The second relates to the color of the Spanish hussar uniforms during the 19th Century.
(Flag image by courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
But all this lore is not as important as the recipe for this simple, tasty and healthy appetizer or tapa, found in a lot of bars and tabernas in the old quarters of Madrid. So here it comes:
Soldaditos de Pavía
Yields 4 tapa-sized servings
The most simple is to coat the strips first in plain flour (I use chickpea flour like in many places of Andalusia), then bathe them in beaten egg and put the strips straight into the hot olive oil.
Serve while still warm with a strip of roasted red pepper across them. I have used piquillo peppers here instead, as they are pretty good with anything. Enjoy the juicy, lemony, flaky goodness of the fish inside the soft crust. The perfect appetizer for a warm Spring noon with a glass of beer or Fino. Better sitting on a patio.