Story and photography by Barbara Angelakis
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New York, NJ 10014
Olives from Spain
Search through your pantry of household staple foods or open your refrigerator doors and you will surely find them – Olives from Spain. But did you know that olives can be enjoyed not only as a toothsome appetite teaser or as a condiment during the meal, but also as one of the prime ingredients utilized in preparation of the meal? Chef Seamus Mullen who heads the kitchen at Tertulia, a Spanish style restaurant located on Sixth Avenue in New York City’s Greenwich Village, has used the olive to create some exciting and succulent dishes. Chef Seamus became captivated by Spanish cuisine early in his career and has taken traditional Spanish recipes, enhanced them, and made them his own.
In celebration of the Olives from Spain promotion campaign launch, Chef Seamus was asked to craft a special menu luncheon. For a savory hors d’ oeuvres, he mixed together chopped Spanish olives, Ventresca de atún (fatty belly of the tuna), avocado, and cherry tomatoes into a savory blend, and served it over a flaxseed crisp. For a fish entrée - or his version of Salmon Salvajé en Costra de Aceitunas - he placed a topping of puréed Spanish olives on the skin side of the salmon slice and roasted it to crisp the crust while the fish remained juicy and delicious. Another superb entrée, Cordero, was grilled loin of lamb marinated with Olives from Spain and guindilla peppers from the Basque Country. But for me, the surprise of the day was the Patatas Aliñada or Spanish-style potato salad with Olives from Spain. Chef Seamus’ version is a dish of unexpected sophistication and flavor elevating the usual bland side dish to a level of culinary excellence. It was without a doubt the best I have ever tasted and from the reaction of those around me, I would guess it was the hit of the day.
Chef Seamus recipe follows:
Spanish style potato salad with Manzanilla olives
This dish is a variation on the classic potato salad with a Spanish twist. Manzanilla olives are my favorite little Spanish olives that pack a ton of flavor.
2 pounds baby potatoes or fingerlings
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 dried guindilla pepper or 1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the bias
1 bulb fennel, thickly sliced
2 TBSP fennel fronds
Fresh lemon juice to taste
1 cup Manzanilla "aliño"
For the potatoes
Combine potatoes, bay leaf, garlic, thyme and dried chili in a large pot with lots of cold water and a generous handful of kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender and cooked through, depending upon the size of the potatoes, between 15 and 20 minutes. Strain and discard aromatic spices and set aside potatoes in the fridge to cool.
For the Manzanilla "aliño"
2 cups manzanilla olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 shallot, minced
1 TBSP grainy Dijon mustard
2 TBSP sherry vinegar
1/2 cup Arbequina olive oil
Combine all ingredients and process with immersion blender until pretty smooth, but still a little chunky.
Combine cooled potatoes in a large mixing bowl with fennel and celery and season with salt and fresh ground pepper and toss to combine. Add the "aliño" and mix thoroughly. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of fennel fronds. Serve immediately or set aside in the fridge to serve later.
© December 2013 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.