And The Winner Is…

Probably some of you remember our blog-naming contest. We received dozens of responses with names and we had a hard time deciding. In the end, we chose what we think is the name that best encapsulates what San Jamon is all about: Sabor, or flavour.

The winner, Nikki Edwards, wrote, “(Sabor)…is short and simple, reflects the Spanish nature of your products, and there’s also the play on “taste” as in having taste or being a connoisseur.” A fabulous name and a well-deserved winner that, inspired by the exquisite flavour of our signature San Jamon Iberian Paleta, spontaneously took her suitcase and together with her other half, travelled to Spain. And when we asked if she could send us a photo of herself enjoying the acorn-fed paleta, she did us one better. Instead of sending us a boring picture showing her prize, she created a collage of some of the pictures they took on their gastronomic getaway in Barcelona.

Sabors Catalans

It coincides that we get a lot of requests for what to do with the paleta or ham bone once all the meat has been enjoyed. A common way of taking advantage of this bone is Iberian Ham Croquetas. There are several elements to this recipe, but the result is an exotically-spiced, silky-smooth croqueta that will melt in your mouth and leave a finish of the rich, nutty flavor from the cooking down of the bone.

Iberian Ham Croquetas

INGREDIENTS

200g Iberian ham/paleta finely chopped

40 g Iberian ham oil (see below)

100 g butter

1 spring onion

160 g flour

200g cream

500 g Iberian ham consommé (see below)

A pinch of salt

To coat, fry and decorate:

Bread crumbs

One egg

1 L of extra virgin olive oil

A couple of Iberian ham/paleta slices

-For the consommé-

First of all we have to prepare the consommé, one of the top 10 flu-fighting foods, by the way. Take the bones and place them in cold water, wait until water boils. Turn the heat to simmer over low heat for about two hours. Many impurities will float to surface. By sure to skim the surface periodically, and especially at the beginning of boil. We want our bones to be completely clean. Ideally, you’ll reduce the consommé from 2, 5 liters to 450 ml.  Strain it and set aside.

-For the Iberian Ham oil-

Take 200g of the Iberian ham fat (removing yellow parts) and add vegetal oil 20 cl to sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the fat has melted and set aside. Let it cool. You can use this super special oil to sprinkle it on a toast or even flavor a purée.

-Croquetas-

1. In a saucepan, heat the cream along with the consommé.

2. In a separate saucepan, add the butter, the ham oil and the finely chopped spring onion. Cook it over low heat until the spring onion is lightly fried. Add the flour and cook while stirring to make a roux.

3. Add the cream and consommé mixture heated as well as 100 g of Iberian ham/paleta finely chopped. Cook for 5 minutes more over medium heat while stirring. You can use a hand beater or a spatula.

4. once the croquet dough is well blended remove from heat and the rest of the finely chopped Iberian ham/paleta. Taste the seasoning and add the pick of salt if required.

5. Take a tray and cover it with cling wrap. Spread the dough and let it cool down in the fridge for one hour.

6. Once the dough is ready, take small pieces, around 30 g , and form either balls or rolls with it.

7. Time to cover the croquetas in a batter of flour, egg, and bread crumbs. If you repeat this step twice your croquetas will be extra crispy outside and extra creamy inside. 🙂

8. Put them into the extra virgin olive oil. Adding a bit of vegetable oil with a higher smoke point will help. After about two minutes, they should be golden brown. Take them out and serve straight. Do not forget to cover them with finely slices of Iberian Ham.

A treat for the taste buds!!

croquetas

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8 Things You Should Know Before Embarking on a Relationship with a Wine Lover

This post was adapted from our wine specialist, Vanessa’s, personal blog. It is fun and silly, but does have some truth to it…

It is hard for wine lovers to go out into the real world and behave like someone who could just as easily order red as white. It is harder if the restaurant wine list includes ALL the producers of a lieu-dit in the Côte d’Or that you’ve only ever read about in Wine Spectator. And if there is a sommelier or the wait staff is well-informed? Game over. We’ll be here all night. And your partner needs to understand that.

I’ve written the below list for anyone starting a relationship with a wine lover. There are some things they should know.

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1. You will be taking a corkscrew with you where ever you go. It does not matter if it is a long weekend getaway to the beach or the delivery of cookies to a neighbor’s house. Your wine lover never knows when the opportunity will arise to try that one wine he or she has only dreamed about. The worst thing is to be faced with that bottle and no way to remove the cork. Better pack two.  And a notebook for scribbling tasting notes might not be far behind, either.

2. Wine pairings are real and your partner will be that much more into you if you participate in the fun. They do amplify or soften the food you are eating. And they are not what they used to be. Red wine with meat and white wine with fish is passé. Americans are drinking quality wine in large numbers now (just surpassed the French in terms of volume) and our gastronomy is farm fresh. Have a hand in trying a new pairing, either select the wine or prepare the dish.

3. Wine selection takes time. Have you got a half an hour while your partner inquires with the guy in the wine department about every square acre of Chambolle-Musigny? Didn’t think so. Head over to the produce department and start planning for dinner…for the week. If the selection is for a holiday or special dinner, you might as well stay at home.

4. Tempranillo is a red grape, not a region, from Spain and Brunello and Barbaresco are varietals, not medieval Italian princes. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll learn things like this through the course of your relationship. Some of it will be useful, most of it won’t. In no time you’ll be rolling terroir off the tip of your tongue and wonder when your French got so good.

For some reason, it usually coincides that a wine lover will also be a (nerdy) intellectual for whom all the wine facts in the world won’t be enough. And this person will be able to tell you a tasting note from 1999 or remember the first time they tried a grand cru, but they can’t recall what they had for dinner last night. Selective wine memory, it’s very scientific.

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5. A big part of your partner’s disposable income will be spent on wine. And it may be more than they’d like to admit. Set parameters, especially if there is a shared bank account. Then accept that you will be introduced to more wines from South America than you can imagine and new clothes and other ‘material items’ will be forgone for it. Even if you have no couch to sit on or plate to eat off of, there will be a healthy stock of wine around to ‘drink now’ or ‘for laying down’.

6. Vacations will have a certain wine theme. And I don’t mean that you’ll take a bottle of Spätlese Riesling with you on that beach trip. But that you’ll actually be going to the Mosel on a five-day river cruise during which you will meet with the winemaker and tour the vineyards up and down the terraces. There you will learn about another winemaker in another Weinbaugebiete who only makes Kabinetts, whom you’ll make plans to visit. And this is only Germany. Wait until you get to Australia.

hot air balloon

7. There will be spitting, purple teeth, swishing, and swirling. There is lots of swirling and nosing in wine connoisseurship. It is constant. They probably swirl unconsciously out of habit and likely have a particular style. Just let it go, they’ll never stop swirling for you.

And now you can also start holding the glass at the stem. It does not make you a snob, it serves two purposes: a. wine should be served and consumed at an ideal temperature. If you are cupping the glass, you are driving up the temperature of the liquid inside and nobody likes warm rosé; and, b. If you sprayed perfume and your wrist is so close to the rim of the glass that you can’t smell the wine, it takes some of the joy out of discovering aromas in the wine.

8. Life is too short to drink bad wine. And there is so much competition for your wine budget these days that you don’t need to drink bad or even mediocre wine. Congratulations you found someone who enjoys one of life’s small pleasures, embrace them. Salud!