The New Spanish — Bites, Feasts and Drinks
Exciting to read and visually stimulating, this cookbook by Jonah Miller and Nate Adler puts a fresh spin on some familiar Spanish concepts. The designers get a big thumbs-up for their colorful art and layout. Miller and Adler, the owners of restaurant Huertas NYC revere the Basque cusine traditions but embrace all the experiences they’ve had traveling in Spain. The immediate beneficiaries are the crowds that go to the restaurant and enjoy themselves eating and drinking. I don’t get to NYC nearly enough so I’ve enjoyed the experience vicariously and I say the exuberance of the establishment comes through the pages. Armchair traveling is cool too. It reduces your carbon footprint and maybe a few calories, but don’t count on that.
Recipes I’ve already made twice include the Pollo Asado, which is a classic braising technique for chicken transported by adding Spanish hard cider and quindilla pickle juice to the chicken stock for braising liquid. Vieiras a la Zurrukatuna is basically scallops with best of the summer tomatoes and corn and a special pepper sauce. The instructions for cooking the scallops perfectly to be tender and juicy were excellent. This being the dead of winter I had to substitute romanesco which was fine with the scallops. Come summer I’ll definitely go with the intended vegetables. I’ve been pleased with everything I’ve tried and look forward to trying more. I’m an old hand at making Gildas, a classic Basque pintxo with anchovy, olive and quindilla pepper. My next guests will try the Black Gilda variation where they substitute a cured black anchovy with more umami flavor for the traditional white anchovy.
Another big hit at my house, including a ladies night out from my block, was Tinto, the book says is the most popular beverage at the restaurant, served on the rocks and also used to make other cocktails. It is not Martini and Rossi or any other red vermouth you may know. I did a tasting of the red vermouths I have on hand. The Tinto is not sweet and has a chewy mouthful of spices and citrus that’s very pleasing. I like it straight up chilled out of the refrigerator, on the rocks, in a Negroni and particularly with rye in a Manhattan. The ingredient list was long and required my first trip to Tenzingmomo, an apothecary plus in the Pike Place Market as my favorite shop, Market Spice, doesn’t carry dried chamomile, angelica root or gentian root. The recipe makes more than 3 bottles (750 ML) and lasts one month refrigerated, so plan ahead to give gifts if necessary. I learned working on this recipe NEVER to use the K-word associated with limes leaves. It’s a horrible insult. Just say “lime leaves”.
The New Spanish cookbook has been recognized by Foods and Wines from Spain, The New York Times, The Good Cook and many others. You can buy it from the usual suspects and the restaurant’s website Huertas NYC. Have fun!