My trip to San Sebastian wasn’t all about pintxos and restaurants, although it was all about eating. I spent Sunday afternoon cooking with Tenedor Tours, and learning all about Basque food that I could cook at home.
We met in the lively old town of San Sebastian in a gorgeous apartment dedicated to Gabriella’s cooking classes. There was a long room with an open kitchen at one end, and a table set up for us to eat at after. The light was beautiful, crisp and Autumnal, and Gabriella was waiting, brandishing a bottle of Txacoli and a warm welcome.
Gabriella has been running tours in Spain since 1997. In San Sebastian she works with chefs from the Basque Culinary Center (where she also teaches), and puts together sociable fun Basque cooking workshops followed by a meal where you devour your efforts. Our chef was Íñigo Zeberio (Princess Bride fans, there are a lot of Íñigos in San Sebastian, and you may find that phrase – My name is Íñigo etc. – circling around your head repeatedly). A San Sebastian native, Íñigo brought us through seven recipes, all very hands on with lots of tips and tricks shared too.
We started with a clever recipe for vermut stuffed olives where the vermut (Spanish vermut, not vermouth) was stuffed with a very simple vermut gel made with vermut and xanthan gum. Vermut is a terrific drink if you haven’t come across it yet, it is gorgeous with soda and orange bitters (I brought both back with me). Then we moved on to that pintxo classic, the Gilda, which requires a little bit of skill to put it together, all very well described with a hands on demo, the details are in the recipe below too.
After the gilda, we made a homemade mayonnaise which became part of a gorgeous rich salsa rosa, which in turn went into stuffed peppers. Urchin prawns (I immediately thought hedgehog when I saw them!) were prawns coated in crisp dried pasta and fried, served with basil mayonnaise as a dip. Pork secreto (yes: pork secret), is a fabulous cut from the pata negra pig shoulder. Dense, rich and so luxurious, we had this with a fruity piperrada, a pepper sauce which we made too. Íñigo also fitted in a gorgeous scrambled egg with fresh boletus (porcini).
Gabriella is on hand at all times with stories and plenty of Txacoli and Vermut. It was such a fun afternoon and now I can have a little taste of San Sebastian at home too.
More on San Sebastian: Where to Eat Pintxos in San Sebastian (Donostia), in Spain.
Gabriella runs many different types of tours, you can find out more on her website Tenedor Tours. With thanks to Gabriella for sharing her lovely recipes.
A classic pintxo, perhaps the first with a name of its own. Green, salty, and a bit spicy, it’s the taste of the Basque coast on a stick.
12 guindilla peppers
4 good salt-cured anchovies Maldon salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 long toothpicks
Line up the peppers and cut off the stems. Put three peppers on each toothpick, followed by one end of the anchovy.
Deftly slide the three peppers and lone anchovy to the other end of the skewer, and wrap the anchovy around the peppers, bundling them all up.
Bring everything back to its rightful and pointy end, and poke the pick through the last remaining bit of anchovy.
Add the olive to the end, drizzle it generously with good olive oil, and crush a pinch of flaky sea salt over the top.
With one bold move, eat the gilda in a single bite, followed by a sip of txakoli.
8 prawns (or 12 prawns…or 16, perhaps)
Might as well go ahead and make it 20 prawns, to be safe. All-purpose flour
An egg from a happy hen
1cm pieces of angel hair pasta
Salt and pepper
Neutral vegetable oil
Mayonnaise + your choice of fresh herbs (try cilantro or basil!)
Arrange your breading station: a plate with flour, a bowl with a beaten egg, and another plate with the noodles. Set a couple of centimeters of oil to gently heat up while you work on your production line.
Clean the prawns, leaving the tail and last joint, and remove the gut with a toothpick.
Salt and pepper a clean plate. Yes, salt and pepper the plate. Arrange the prawns on the plate, and salt and pepper them from above. Both sides are now seasoned, no turning over required.
Gently flour, egg, and noodle the prawns, making sure the noodles are really stuck on there, and arrange them on an empty plate.
Heat the oil until a piece of the pasta sizzles on impact, reduce the heat a little and fry the prawns until golden.
Drain the excess oil on paper and let them cool for a minute while you make the dipping sauce.
Chop and add the herbs and spices of your choice to the mayonnaise.
Dip, crunch, enjoy.
This post was brought to you as a result of the #SeeSanSebastian blog trip, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with San Sebastian. I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Eat Like a Girl, as always. All of our lives are too short for any alternative!