Pintxos in the South Pacific

This past December several folks from our office were on leave and, to help cover, my company sent a colleague from our Spanish office over to assist. I was fortunate to work with this gentleman who, after several weeks of working together and several escapades to some Auckland bars, I learned, was also a cooking enthusiast. Way back when I was in the Basque Country of Spain, I was first introduced to Pintxos, or Basque tapas, small appetizer sized dishes. My colleague had agreed to prepare a variety of pintxos to celebrate the farewell of another co-worker who was moving on to another project, coincidentally, also in Spain.

Similar to my cooking style, he didn’t measure anything, or follow any recipes. But after some wine and some hand waving, he was able to produce a variety of stunningly delicious small plates. When traveling, working, studying or living abroad, it becomes clear that if you want to have your favourite treats, sometimes you must make them yourself.  My colleague made pintxos so wonderful, I might as well have been at the nicest bar back in San Sebastian.

I inquired a bit, and took some photos, and hopefully, over time, I’ll be able get a good feel for some of these dishes in my kitchen too.

Cheese tarts Braised tomato and tuna on toasts Stuffed Peppers Fresh tomato, blue cheese sauce and tuna on toastCrab and mayo stuffed peppersChicken thighs with cheese, prochutto on top of capsicum sauceCeviche on boiled potato

For the time being, I trialled the chicken thighs, rolled with bacon (pruschetta or serrano ham if available/you can afford it) and cheese, on top of a capsicum/onion/vinegar sauce. Andrew hadn’t been around to taste test the real thing, but he seemed very pleased with my attempt to imitate.

My version with zucchini and fried polenta

So thank you to my colleague for the wonderful tastes of Spain and new cooking goals!