By Mary Foran
When I lived in Spain in the 80s, I hardly cooked. My great attempt at cooking was to go to the local mercado and buy fresh sardines which I then sauteed whole and ate with great relish with a little salad. Now where I live in the States, fresh sardines are hard to come by. Fish is normally frozen, and then thawed and sold as fresh, a great disappointment. Somehow Madrid, right in the center of the country, got fresh fish to markets and restaurants, where I ate most of my meals.
I fell in love with lentil soup at the corner restaurant, and when I got back to the States, I created a recipe for lentil stew which brought the flavors of lentils back to mind. It’s just chorizo, vegetables and green lentils in a beef and red wine broth, and easy-peasy to make.
LENTIL STEW: Here’s the recipe
Don’t forget the champiniones!
The other thing I didn’t do in Spain was the ritual of having bread at every meal: el pan de cada dia! Spanish bread is unique in flavor and texture, and quite different from French and Italian loaves which are popular in the States. The barras de pan that everyone buys in Spain just didn’t seem to make it across the Atlantic, even in the smaller world we live in today.
Fresh bread every day is important in Spain because preservatives are not used and the bread becomes stale in a jiffy. Bread in the States caters to everyone’s slightest whim, from dense dark pumpernickel or rye, to 12 grain on down to whole wheat and spongy white. If it’s bread you want, you really have a wide variety to choose from. But not Spanish bread! Fresh and crusty and long!
Ingredients for the bread pudding:
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