Tag Archives: spain

Fried Sardines

fried sardines

Fried Sardines

Everything I ate on my recent trip to the Basque country was incredible, including these simple fried sardines we enjoyed in San Sebastian. Nothing beats fresh ingredients enhanced with good olive oil, garlic, a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Add good company and a glass of wine and you’re all set!

8 fresh sardines, heads removed and gutted
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
olive oil for frying
lemon wedges

Slice the sardines lengthwise along the underside from head to tail, clean the cavity and remove the heads.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet but 1/4 inch.

Season the sardines with salt and pepper then lightly dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add the sardines to the hot oil and deep fry for 2 minutes on one side, until golden. Add the sliced garlic, turn the fish over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Salsa Macha

salsa macha

Salsa Macha

This salsa is from the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, a gateway for immigrants since the 16th century. In fact, this is where Hernan Cortes landed in 1519 and this is also where African slaves arrived in Mexico to work on sugar plantations, gold and silver mines, or to become domestic servants in Mexico City.

Africans introduced, among other foods, their native sesame seeds and peanuts, which are native to Brazil but brought into Mexico via African slave ships. 

Salsa Macha is a marriage of Mexican chiles with African sesame seeds and Spanish olive oil. True fusion cuisine, which is what Mexican food is. 

This sauce is amazing on eggs, steak, or just plain baguette. FYI: Macha is the feminine version of the word macho. If you’re a woman and you grow hairs on your chest after eating it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

3 ounces combination of dried morita and guajillo chiles
2 1/2 cups olive oil
1/3 cup roasted and salted peanuts
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons roated sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons piloncillo or brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Stem the chilies, then break or cut them open and remove the seeds. Tear into pieces and set aside.

Set a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic cloves. Stir and fry for one to two minutes, until they start to gain color.

Add the chiles, peanuts, and sesame seeds fry for about two minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool then carefully transfer all the contents from the saucepan into a blender.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt and brown sugar, then add to the blender. Process until everything is chopped into finely chopped, but not pureed. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 3 cups

Adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table

Mexico’s Early Cookbooks

Mexico’s Early Cookbooks

This essay is published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

Summary and Keywords

During the Spanish conquest of Mexico (1519–1521), gastronomic literature was alreadyprevalent in Europe, yet not so in Mexico. The use of the printing press in Mexico was limited to print and disseminate ecclesiastical and legal documents; it was not used for subjects as seemingly superfluous as recipes and food. This is not to say that food was not a source of fascination, or a means of social control.

Kitchen manuscripts written before Mexico became independent of Spain (between 1810 and 1821) show that there was an abundance of food writing before Independence, especially by nuns in colonial convent kitchens. However, the earliest printed cookbooks did not make their debut in Mexico until 1831, a decade after Independence.

Mexican cuisine can be examined beginning from the diaries of conquistadors and missionaries to colonial kitchen manuscripts to the cookbooks published afterIndependence through the Porfiriato (1876–1910) and Revolution (1910–1920). Reading between the lines of the recipes in these sources, one sees the shifting attitudes toward food, as it ceases to be a status marker and a divider of classes and becomes a tool for unifying the country.

Keywords: cookbooks, kitchen manuscripts, Mexican cookbooks, national identity, Porfirio Díaz, culinary history, women in the kitchen, Mexican Independence, Mexican Revolution, colonial cooking