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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nieves Barragán Mohacho

Lamb skewers, tortillas and pisto: Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s easy tapas recipes

Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s tapas trio (clockwise L to R): mushroom tortilla, pintxos morunos, pisto with fried eggs.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s tapas trio: (clockwise from top) pintxos morunos, pisto with fried egg, and mushroom tortilla. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller. Prop styling: Louie WallerFood styling assistant: Verity Walcott.

Pintxos morunos

Simplicity itself to prepare, the effort-to-reward ratio for this lovely dish couldn’t be higher. It’s one of my Top 10 tapas, and an ever-present on the Sabor menu.

Prep 10 min
Marinate 2 hr
Cook 5 min
Serves 4 as part of a tapas spread

600g boneless leg of lamb (ideally, milk-fed), cut into 2cm cubes
300ml olive oil
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sweet paprika
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper

Put the lamb in a bowl, add all the other ingredients and season. Toss to coat, then cover and set aside to marinate at room temperature for two hours.

Slide the cubed lamb on to skewers (if they’re wooden, soak them in cold water for at least half an hour beforehand) – aim for 50g meat, or about five cubes, on each. Grill the skewers for just a minute on each side (if you like lamb more cooked, give them a little longer), either in a hot griddle pan, under the grill or on a barbecue, then serve hot with bread for mopping up all those gorgeous juices.

Pisto with sultanas, pine nuts and fried eggs

Pisto with sultanas, pine nuts and fried eggs
Pisto with sultanas, pine nuts and fried eggs Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller. Prop styling: Louie Waller

We Spaniards love pisto, or vegetable stews. They pack a real flavour punch, and are surprisingly forgiving and easy. Top with a fried egg because, well, everything’s better with an egg.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4 as part of a tapas spread

4 tbsp sultanas
50ml sherry vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish – I use arbequina oil, for preference, because it’s light but aromatic, and won’t overpower the dish
1 red pepper, stalk, seeds and pith discarded, flesh cut into 2cm cubes
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 aubergine, trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
2 courgettes, trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 4 tinned tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tbsp roasted pine nuts
Salt and black pepper
4 tbsp chopped parsley
Vegetable or rapeseed oil
, for frying the eggs
4 eggs
A dash of moscatel vinegar, to serve, or apple or champagne vinegar
1 big pinch smoked paprika, to serve

Put the sultanas and sherry vinegar in a small bowl and leave to plump up.

Put the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and, once it’s hot, add the pepper and red onion, and fry, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until soft. Add the aubergine, cook for two minutes, then add the courgette and cook, stirring from time to time, for a couple of minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.

Stir in the garlic and oregano, cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until they reduce and turn saucy. Strain the sultanas, discarding the vinegar, then add to the pan with the pine nuts. Season to taste, then take off the heat and stir in the parsley.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a frying pan to fill it by about 1cm (how much you need will depend on the size of your pan), then put it on a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, break in the eggs one by one and leave to fry until the edges of the whites start to go golden. Once that happens, spoon the hot oil up and over the yolks, until they start to set, then scoop out with a slotted spoon on to kitchen paper.

Transfer the pisto to a platter, put the eggs on top, then finish with a drizzle each of extra-virgin olive oil and moscatel vinegar, and a good pinch of smoked paprika.

Mushroom tortilla

Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s mushroom tortilla.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s mushroom tortilla. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller. Prop styling: Louie Waller

A late-summer/early-autumn version of the tapas classic.

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

50g unsalted butter
150g wild mushrooms
– if you can get your hands on ceps, so much the better – cut into 3mm-thick slices
Salt and black pepper
1kg chipping potatoes (maris piper or king edward), peeled
½ brown onion, peeled and very finely sliced
500ml extra-virgin olive oil – I use arbequina
4 eggs

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then add the mushrooms and fry, turning occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and they’re golden on both sides – this should take three or four minutes. Take off the heat, season to taste, then set aside.

Quarter the potatoes, then cut into 3mm-thin slices (use a mandoline, ideally). Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the sliced onion and toss to mix.

Heat the oil in a wide frying pan on a medium heat until it gets to about 160/170C (very slightly smoky) then add the potato mix, so it’s covered by the oil. Cook for five or six minutes, until the potatoes soften and turn light golden, then lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining potato mix; reserve the oil (you’ll need a bit of it later, to cook the tortilla; strain the rest and save for future cooking).

Break the eggs into a large bowl, then mix in the cooled potatoes and set aside for 10 minutes.

Just before you make the tortilla, stir the mushrooms into the potato and egg mixture. Put a drizzle or two of the reserved oil in a 25cm high-sided nonstick frying pan and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, tip in the tortilla mix, leave to cook for 20-30 seconds, then shake so the tortilla turns around in the pan (use a spatula or plate to help it along); this shaking and manouevring also helps shape the tortilla. Repeat until set but still runny inside – you’ll probably need to give it another minute or two in all – then turn out on to a plate and serve with crusty bread.

• Nieves Barragán Mohacho is chef/co-owner of Sabor and El Asador, London W1

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