Monday, July 11, 2011

Quick Apps

I’m not talking iPhone or iPad Apps (even though I’m an Apple geek– and the original is hosted on a MobileMe server), BUT I am talking appetizers.
My aunt, uncle and cousins were coming over to meet my brother as he was in town for less then 18 hours. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my time in the kitchen while they were here as I had such little time with them anyway! So, quick and do ahead appetizers and wine was the way we went.
Now, if there was a direction in cuisines my husband had to go in, he would choose Spanish first and foremost. So, that is the way we went last night.
We served:
Queso Manchego with Membrillo (pronounced kay•so, mem•bree•yo)
Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese
Jamón Serrano wrapped Scallops with 
Romesco Sauce (pronounced ha•mon say•rra•no)
And here are the recipes…Queso Manchego with Membrillo (pronounced kay•so, mem•bree•yo)
The queso (cheese) and membrillo are both store bought. Either serve the slabs and have your guests cut their pieces and eat as they go, or cut small cubes, stack a piece of cheese and piece of the membrillo and serve with a toothpick.
Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese
Either roast red peppers yourself or buy a bottle (which is what I did) and any soft goat cheese. Wrap the peppers around the goat cheese sprinkled with black pepper and some smoked Spanish paprika or red pepper flakes. 
Jamón Serrano wrapped Scallops with Romesco Sauce
Now this was the star of the show for me… and Señor Español or my husband! 
A vegetarian version for this would be to spread the Romesco Sauce on small toasts, drizzle with good Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a few thyme leaves. Layer any hard Spanish cheese with it and it will blend beautifully.
Makes 12 scallops
Makes 2 1/2 cups of Romesco Sauce
25 minutes
  1. 1.Step 1, Make Sauce, DO AHEAD: In a small saucepan reduce 1/4 cup dry white wine, 4 sun-dried tomatoes and 1 peeled garlic clove until wine is reduced by half. Remove, let cool.
    Blend cooled wine mixture with 
    3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 firm or toasted white sandwich bread, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup whole almonds, 1/8 cup hazelnuts and 1/8 cup pine nuts.Season with salt.  Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.Click here for a dozen things to do with the Romesco Sauce.
  2. 2.Step 2, Scallops, DO AHEAD: In a baking tray wrap 8 slices of jamón serranoaround 12 scallops. Some slices may be broader than the others, so you may need to cut those in half lengthwise.
    Brush lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Cover and chill. Can be made 4 hours ahead.
  3. 3.Step 3, Broil: With the rack in your oven set to the highest level, broil the scallops, 2 minutes on each side or until opaque in the center and jamón is almost crisp. Arrange scallops on platter and top each with a small dollop of the Romesco Sauceand a few thyme leaves.

    Cook’s tip:
    Remove the muscle (or ask your fish monger to do it for you) from the side of the scallop before cooking. Do this by simply pulling it off with your fingers, it runs up the side of the scallop.

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