Lunch for Ramiro

A lunch to remember my father-in-law.

Chorizo cooked in cider.

Ensaladilla Rusa, Spain's version of Russian potato salad.

Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus practically make themselves.

The Husband Cooks: stuffed squid.

Blue cheese and walnut spread with endive.

I say pa'amb tomaquet, you say tomato bread.

My father-in-law, Ramiro Calvo, El Gallego, would have been 85 years old on October 16. Although I never met him, I recognize his presence in so many aspects of my life. I have mentioned before that The Husband and I were married in his hometown in Spain. We like to celebrate Ramiro’s birthday with my mother-in-law. This year, we remembered him with a lunch of Spanish-inspired tapas and a bottle of white Jumilla wine. This meal was made up of several dishes that are as delicious as they are simple to make. Maybe you’ll try one or two at home. There are no measurements here. There are very few ingredients in each dish, use proportions that appeal to you.

Chorizo en Sidra (Cider)
Sautée chopped onion and and bell pepper. Add sliced Spanish chorizo as onions become translucent. Let chorizo brown a little around the edges. Pour in any hard cider just to cover. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Ensaladilla Rusa (Russian Potato Salad)
Chop waxy potatoes into cubes. Cover with salted water in a small pot and boil until almost tender. Add finely chopped carrot, green beans, and frozen peas and cook until everything is tender but toothy, 2-3 minutes more. Drain water, put everything into a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to arrest cooking and cool. Drain and return to bowl. Add finely chopped onion, red bell pepper, gherkins, salt and pepper, and mayonnaise. Homemade aioli tastes best and has a thinner consistency. Top with halved hard-boiled eggs.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
Cut woody ends from a bunch of asparagus, about two inches. Wrap two spears with a slice of prosciutto or jamon Serrano. Rub exposed asparagus with olive oil. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, turning once.

The Husband Cooks: Stuffed Squid
For this recipe, I purchased a dozen squid bodies, about 1/2 pound, and a small handful of tentacles, about 1/4 pound. Sautée minced onion, green bell pepper, and bacon. Add squid tentacles and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Add 6 oz. crab meat, 1/4 cup bread crumbs and a little Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Set aside to cool. Spoon mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag and squeeze into each squid body. Close with toothpicks. Bake at 350 until squid is opaque, about 10 minutes. The Husband transferred the cooked squid to a plate and made a pan sauce with butter, white wine, lemon juice and capers.

Blue Cheese, Walnut and Endive Spread
In a food processor, blend a small wedge of blue cheese adding cream until the consistency is soft and spreadable. Add a few walnuts and process briefly. Serve with endive leaves, other raw vegetable or bread.

Pa’amb Tomaquet (Tomato Bread)
I’ll post this recipe again on it’s own soon. This is one of my favorite things to eat. Cut a large tomato in half. Using a box grater, grate the tomato into a bowl. Add several tablespoons olive oil, about three parts tomato to one part olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon liberally onto sliced bread. Toast the bread on a grill or grill pan first if desired.

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6 Comments on “Lunch for Ramiro

  1. My mother-in-law makes the ensaladilla rusa and boy does it surpass regular potato salad. Thanks for making me hungry. Here’s to Ramiro…

    • I bet hers is incredible. I remember my first bite of ensaladilla that my cousin in Madrid made. It changed my idea of potato salad forever. This was my first attempt, and it turned out!

  2. Oh, why don’t we live closer! I would love to cook and eat with you all! I am looking forward to your visiting us in Sonoma County one day soon!

  3. This looks amazing. What a lovely remembrance! I love eating together to mark the important moments. XX

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