The Spanish Days of Summer

6 Aug

This one’s in honor of Santa Barbara’s Spanish Fiesta Days, which began yesterday. And we had this last night…hmm, I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time! I guess the excitement of our trip up to Santa Barbara (we’re leaving in a few minutes!) put me in the mood.

Grilled corn and my $7 corn scraper from Sur la Table

So, viva España! Pork is rarely better than with some smoked paprika slathered on it. And, before you vegetarians and vegans turn away, I’m sure this marinade will be super delicious on tofu or seitan, and certainly grilled. Just make sure you marinate it for longer!

I love getting my mortar and pestle out—as a matter of fact, I love it so much that I hunted it down for our very dear friends C+E. Turns out it’s very easy to find at Williams Sonoma, even though I brought mine over from the UK after buying it from the delightful Lakeland Limited catalogue.

Ahhh...smoked paprika. If only we'd had some rioja!

Anyway, on to the recipe. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. And yes, you will need a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder. If you’re really fancy, you’ll have a special spice grinder, and if so, wooo, get you!

Spanish-Style Marinade (for pork, chicken, tofu or seitan)

3 tsp. cumin seed
3 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. smoked paprika (this does need to be the authentic kind; I use Chiquilin pimentón ahumado and in Laguna, you can get it at Sapphire Pantry)
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. sea salt
Grapeseed oil

Toast the cumin and coriander seed in a dry pan until they start to brown. Add the mustard seed for about a minute—if you hear them popping, it’s time to take them off!

Throw all the seeds into your mortar and pestle and grind as fine as possible. If you have the coffee or spice grinder, you can throw in the smoked paprika, cayenne and salt in there too.

Pour about 1/3 cup of grapeseed oil in a bowl and add the spice mixture to taste. I used all but about a tablespoon of it. Pour over your desired protein and let sit for at least 20 minutes before throwing on a hot grill. I let The Husband work the grill, so I can’t give you any times for the ridiculously thick pork chops we cooked.

The Salad

We love salad at our house, and here’s one I threw together to go with the flavors of the marinade.

Two handfuls of organic wild arugula
Edamame pea or pea shoots (I get mine from the farmer’s market)
1 avocado
Fresh corn on the cob, grilled
2 green onions
Cotija cheese (left over from the tacos)
Fresh ground black pepper
The best olive oil you’ve got
Seasoned rice vinegar (I love the one from Trader’s)

I like to chop up the pea shoots a bit, as otherwise they can be hard to eat. This could also work with romaine, but the arugula gave it the bite to stand up to the marinade, and the cheese tempers it. It’s nice to add the grilled corn at the last minute, while it’s still warm, as it melts the cheese slightly to make a creamier dressing.

A perfect weekend meal, no? Enjoy…we’re off to Santa Barbara now!


One Response to “The Spanish Days of Summer”


  1. The Dogs of Dinner « tinykitchenstories - August 21, 2011

    […] sweet potatoes‡ Spanish spice mixture (click here for recipe) Grapeseed oil More sea […]

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