Thursday, May 24, 2012

Manchego Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes with Toasted Walnuts and Thyme

Wednesday is farmers market day. We have a great one 4 blocks away from home that is open every Wednesday– and shopping at a farmers market is way more fun than an impersonal grocery store. It was also perfect timing as we had some very special guests coming for dinner that night itself– my fabulous aunt from Brazil, her daughter (also fabulous) and niece (whom I just met and is no less fabulous!). 
Several items on the menu were repeat recipes, such as the Chorizo with Wild Mushrooms, Lobster Paella, and Dulce de Leche Brownies. This was a quick last minute tapa that I added to the menu, inspired from José Andres's book, Made in Spain. His recipes are always YUM and you can never go wrong with it. 

Andres' recipe asked for the tomatoes to be grated, skin discard (the traditional way it's done in Catalan) but since I only had cherry tomatoes in stock, I roughly crushed them using a mortar and pestle. The recipe also asked for rosemary, but I used thyme instead. It's easy to make these swaps if you follow Mario Batali's simple saying: What grows together, goes together. Thyme and rosemary are both herbs used frequently in Spanish cooking. 

1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4lb manchego cheese (or any hard Spanish cheese), cubed to bite-size pieces
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 tbsp Spanish extra virgin olive oil
4–5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Using a mortar and pestle roughly crush the cherry tomatoes to release the juices.
  • Toss the tomatoes with the cheese, toasted walnuts, olive oil and thyme.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

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