Dia de las Reyes, Rioja, Tapas, Music
GourmetGrrl.com: Food with ‘tude
January 3, 2007
Three Kings. Grab your mariachis because this Saturday is Dia de las Reyes (Three Kings Day) in Spain and Latin America. Get your Latin groove on and celebrate in style.
Grrl with Corkscrew
Marques Rioja Rules. Kick off your party with a bottle or three of a Spanish red. Rioja [ree-OH-ha] is a region in northern Spain where the dominant grape is Tempranillo [tem-prah-NEE-yo]. These are earthy red wines aged in American and French oak barrels (aged longer in barrel than any other wine in the world), and are usually blended with small amounts of other red grapes.
To get wine geeky for a minute, there are three sub-regions that make up Rioja that reflect the climate: Alta, Alavesa, and Baja. Four classifications of Rioja also exist, according to how long it’s been aged in both barrel and bottle and the quality of the grapes used: Rioja (the youngest), crianza (aged at least two years), reserva (aged at least three years, made in exceptional years), and gran reserva (aged at least five years, and again, made in exceptional years). Our favorite producers? Marques de Riscal, Campo Viejo, Bodegas Darien, Muga, and La Rioja Alta, S.A. Riojas range from $7 up to $60 for the best examples, but you can find perfectly good bottles for around $15
Grrl with Knife
Tapas Tapas Time. There’s no excuse for skipping the tapas; they’re easy to make and your guests will nibble, drink, and thank you profusely. (And if you need to stock up on Spanish ingredients, check out The Spanish Table, a Seattle-based Spanish food store with four retail locations. They have everything from paella rice, copper paella pans, and Spanish wine to piquillo peppers, cookbooks, and world music–and they ship everywhere.) This easy and tasty tapas recipe combines artichokes, a popular Spanish vegetable, with fresh clams.
ARTICHOKES WITH CLAMS
20 marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fish stock (vegetable stock can be substituted)
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons dry, white wine
24 clams, scrubbed
2 tablespoons finley chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and add the garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add the flour and then stir in the white wine and the stock, whisking to combine.
Add the clams and cook until they open, about 2 minutes.
Add the artichoke hearts and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.
La Cantina Setting the Mood. If you need some tunes to get in the Spanish mood, pick up a CD by Lila Downs, a Latin Grammy winner with a voice of gold. She’s got beats that will keep you dancing well into the night. You’ll find us singing tunes from her newest album, La Cantina.
Tapas photo courtesy E. Garcia.