Posts Tagged: valencia


29
Jun 09

Stop! Mojama time

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Eating is a constant learning experience – and a perpetual giver of pleasure. For all the times we eat something and go yuck, there must be ten more when we try something new which makes us sit up and take notice.

Mojama is one of those things. The loins of tuna are cured for two days in salt, washed and then dried in the Spanish sunshine and wind for fifteen to twenty days. It is Phoenician in origin and is rumoured to come from their settlement in modern day Cadiz.
 
It may be a little strange sounding (wind-dried fish is not an appealing sounding thing), but in essence is quite close to a Spanish jamon in flavour and texture, with a slightly fishy edge. It’s meaty, delicious and savoury and a perfect addition to an alfresco lunch or anti-pasti platter. It is well worth seeking out in specialist delicatessens and Spanish stores.

I serve it dressed with some good quality virgin olive oil and a some finely diced tomato sprinkled over, alongside other nibbles like anchovies (try and find the Ortiz brand, a cut above), toasted almonds and the typical Spanish addition of bread sticks.

Food is an eternal adventure, with a world of undiscovered gems that we should seek out and try – even if it means a few funny faces on the way.


23
Jun 09

Valencia: In the market for some sunshine

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I’ve just returned from a few days eating my way round sunny Valencia. A much under-rated city, but a real charmer – I was sorely tempted to, ahem, lose my passport and extend my stay. The food was out of this world – as it always is in Spain if you have a nose for the right places. The Spanish have a passion for cuisine that is bordering on religious – you’d struggle to walk two streets without finding somewhere someone would recommend for mussels, jamon or croquettas.

Paella is the city’s most famous dish – causing divisions amongst many as to the proper ingredients. Although a fantastic eating experience, a hearty plate of rice with either seafood or rabbit, chicken and snails isn’t always what you want to be sitting down to. And even though the city isn’t famous for its tapas, if you are ever lucky enough to find yourself with a few hours there, El Molignon serves up perfect fare for the long warm evenings and is a great place to while away your time.

It is how you imagine a tapas bar should be – fantastic food, swift service, a buzzy crowd of happy Spaniards, free-flowing cold beer and a warm, approachable owner. 

The markets are another fabulous selling point for any foodie – the main Mercado is in a beautiful cavernous bright space, stalls laden with the most exquisite produce from cheeses to fruit to bacalao, meat and fish. This is a food paradise – with prices that seem surprisingly pedestrian. The fruit was some of the best I’ve tasted – bright, fat, dark, juicy cherries and peaches so sweet and juicy you’d need to wash your entire arm after eating them. It’s a real working market, a far cry from many of the markets that abound in the UK now. I wandered around it eating some incredible jamon feeling like the luckiest boy in the world.

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