This weekend sees the advent of the Rioja Tapas Fantasticas festival - celebrating all things Rioja wine, Spanish food and lifestyle - in central London. To warm up in style, we've got original and delicious tapas recipes from three of London's leading tapas restaurants, for you to try at home. And for good measure, we've thrown in a rundown of great Rioja wines for you to enjoy with your tapas.
Rioja Tapas Fantasticas is free and takes place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June at Potters Field Park London. Get more details here.
Roulade of Wind Cured Tuna
From Bravas Tapas
- 1 500g piece Mojama (substitute smoked tuna if Mojama is not available)
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 400g high quality mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 3 large red onions
- 300g vinegar
- 300g sugar
- 600g ice cubes
- 1 tube wasabi paste
- radish and coriander leaves for garnish
1. Slice Mojama as thinly as possible in order to achieve 9cm x 9cm square “sheets”. Reserve refrigerated separated by parchement paper to avoide sticking.
2. Peel and slice sweet potatoes first lengthwise, and then into fine strips, as thin as possible. The ideal width is not unlike angel hair pasta, the ideal length is dictated by the length of the sweet potato.
3. Heat vegetable oil to 180°C. Fry sweet potato strands in small batches until golden. Dry on paper and reserve at room temperature.
4. Meanwhile, place mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and wasabi paste in a blender and blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth. Place in a squeeze bottle and reserve refrigerated.
5. In a separate pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, slice red onion as thinly as possible to achieve almost transparent rings.
6. Place sliced onion in a large container, top with ice, and pour warm sugar and vinegar mixture over it. Leave refrigerated for at least 4 hours.
7. When all components are ready, lay 1 mojama slice out on a work surface. Draw a line lengthwise of the wasabi mixture and top with a generous helping of sweet potato fries. Top with a few slices of pickled onion.
8. Begin to roll, compressing the ingredients as much as possible, almost creating a sushi roll.
9. Cut into three pieces, lay out on a plate one next to the other. Dress with a bit more wasabi alioli, and garnish with thinly sliced radish and coriander leaves.
Borani, the Iranian yoghurt dip, is an opulent dish for the senses: delectable, visually stunning and guaranteed to win over the hearts of beetroot sceptics. A firm favourite on the Morito menu.
- 4 medium raw bunched beetroot (about 700g)
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 4 tablespoons strained Greek yoghurt, such as Total
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus a few sprigs to garnish
- 2 tablespoons Forum Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, or a good-quality aged red wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar
- 50g feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 walnut halves, roughly crushed
- ½ teaspoon black onion seeds
1. Wash the beetroot but don’t peel it, then put in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 40 minutes or until tender, topping up the water if necessary. The beetroot is ready when a sharp knife goes through easily. Drain and leave to cool.
2. Peel the beetroot and blend in a food processor. You want some texture in the purée, so don’t over-blend.
3. Transfer to a bowl, add the garlic, olive oil, yoghurt, dill, vinegar and a pinch of salt and mix well. Check the seasoning and spread the purée on a plate.
4. Sprinkle with the feta, walnuts, black onion seeds and extra sprigs of dill and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with flatbread or pitta.
From the restaurant Pizarro. Seasonal Spanish Food by José Pizarro is published by Kyle Books, priced £15.99. Photography by Emma Lee
I love octopus. The first time I had this dish was on my first visit to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, when I was a student. It was raining, the way it always seems to do in that part of Spain. I don’t remember anything else, but the memory of that meal has stayed with me always.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 octopus (approx. 1.5kg)
- 400g baby potatoes, cleaned but not peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera picante (hot smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera dulce (mild smoked paprika)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt flakes, such as Maldon
- handful of chopped flatleaf parsley
1. Put plenty of water in a big saucepan, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, onion, leek and carrot and bring to the boil.
2. Take the octopus by the head and dunk the tentacles into the water 3 times. This stops the tentacles from sticking as they cook. After the third dunk, make sure the octopus is wholly submerged and simmer gently for approximately 35 minutes, until it is tender. To check it is cooked, take a toothpick and push it into the flesh between the head and the tentacles. If you can push it in easily, it’s done.
Scoop out the octopus with a couple of large wooden or steel spoons. The main thing to remember is to avoid touching the flesh until it’s completely cold. If you do, the beautiful purple skin will come away on your hands. Once it is cool, you can chop up the octopus into bite-size pieces.
3. Remove the vegetables and herbs from the octopus water and let the water cool. Once it’s cold, add the potatoes. Boil until tender – about 15 minutes. Drain and, when they are cool enough to handle, cut them into thick slices.
4. Take a large platter – traditionally it is a wooden plate – and arrange the potatoes and chopped octopus on it. Dress with the pimentón, followed by the oil, salt and parsley.
Variation: you can also mix the octopus and potato together with some frisée lettuce to make a salad.
Rioja wines: a guide
Unaged white Rioja
Young, fresh, and fruity – think citrus aromas and zingy acidity – perfect with seared scallops.
Barrel-fermented white Rioja
Traditional white wines with creamy, buttery flavours that go excellently with a variety of different foods, from traditional tortilla española to patatas riojanas.
Rosé wines are typically made from Tempranillo or Garnacha in a dry style, with plenty of red fruit flavours – ideal with pinchitos de pollo (chicken skewers).
Guarantee of origin – Reds
Typically young fruity and approachable reds – great partner to many different tapas dishes from jamón to paella.
Fresh and juicy with just a hint of creamy vanilla from time spent in oak – drink with croquetas de jamón.
Aged for at least three years, these are serious wines with concentrated fruit flavours and complex hints of spice – drink alongside some tasty chorizo and wild mushrooms.
With at least five years’ ageing, these rank among the world’s finest wines, with intense depth, silky texture, and savoury flavours – try with braised Ibérico pork cheek.