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Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas

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Spanish Regional Cuisine

Ajillo Mushrooms

Few tapas taste more Spanish than champiñones al ajillo (ajillo mushrooms), dripping with olive oil, garlic and dry Spanish Sherry.

To make this tapa even more authentic, be sure to serve the mushrooms with plenty of fresh, crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.

  • Serves 4
  • 10 minutes preparation + 12 minutes cooking
  • Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil
  • 4 cups (8 oz) mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile, seeded and crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preparation

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, sherry, lemon juice, dried chile, paprika, and salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic and mushrooms have softened.

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve on small earthenware platters. 

Best with...

Hidalgo - La Gitana ManzanillaHidalgo - La Gitana Manzanilla

Famous Sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Rating: 90

This is the classic example of this unique wine and the flagship of the company. Its fresh and delicate taste has made it the favorite of Seville, the heart of traditional Andalucía where they drink it chilled, with a meal or with tapas or simply as a refreshing crisp white wine.

La Manzanilla is a dry wine and the lightest and most delicate member of the Sherry region and can only be made in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda set at the mouth of the River Guadalquivir.

The position of the town, set between the sea and the river and the marshlands to the north, combines with the particular topography of the town itself to create an especially humid and constant microclimate.

These conditions allow a special growth of yeast, known as the 'flor', to grow on the surface of the maturing wine all your round thus protecting it from the detrimental effects of oxygen. Elsewhere in the Sherry district, the flor dies off in the summer and winter months to form the Fino sherry instead.

Due to the uniqueness of this wine Manzanilla has its own 'Denominación de Origen' Manzanilla -Sanlúcar de Barrameda, set within the Sherry Denomination. The 18th Century Hidalgo Bodega produces the famous Manzanilla under the name of 'LA GITANA'.

Today, 'La Gitana' is the most popular Manzanilla on the Spanish market and is now the best selling wine in Seville.