I’ve got a thing for Spanish food – well, haven’t we all? Tapas snacks, eaten in a noisy bar, shouting to be heard above the jokes, the laughter, waiters ordering plates of food from the kitchen, dry sherry glittering on your tongue. Simple tapas – a dish of olives and some slices of jamon, or tapas creations, local specialities: try a different one in every bar – marinated anchovies, stuffed egg-halves, new types of cured meat, or one of the fried ones such as these lovely rolls of pork, ham and cheese. As the name suggests, they are local to Cordoba – city on the banks of the Guadalquivir, where you can find the world famous Mezquita, chequerboard mosque. Lose yourself in the winding streets, admire the decorated Spanish patios, dripping with flowers, do a bit of high-end shopping, but don’t neglect your tummy. Stop at one of the many bars, choosing a shady outdoor table, order a glass of sherry and a plate of “little Flamenco dancers” and enjoy. We ate a juicy portion waiting for the Holy Week parade of shrines to pass by in the streets of Cordoba – a magical evening. Silver shrines being shouldered tenderly through the streets by burly suited men, priests ringing bells, church bells pealing, and Jupiter watching brightly from above.
We can’t currently go there, so luckily the flamenquin are easy to make at home, and you can transport your family through taste and texture.
These are great for a Spanish themed lunch – add some chips (I did roasted oven chips) and a salad, or go all-out and do a selection of Spanish starters – some cold meat, some manchego cheese, a sliced tomato and onion salad, maybe some marinated anchovies.
Serves 4 as a light meal or as part of a selection. Timings – 30 minutes, although you can make and roll them ahead of time and cook only when you want to eat.
Lay your pork pieces out on a flat board – it doesn’t matter how big each one is, you can make the flamenquin quite small if you want them as tapas style bites. Spread a little mustard on each slice. Lay some ham onto the pork, then a thin layer of cheese. Roll up each piece of pork with its filling quite tightly, tucking the ends in as you go. I find that the rolls will stay rolled, they don’t need to be fastened with a cocktail stick or anything.
Do all the rolling up first, then lay out the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in bowls in a row along your worktop.
Dip the pork rolls first in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs, patting the breadcrumbs on quite firmly.
Ideally, at this point, chill the rolls for half an hour in the fridge to set the breadcrumbs.
When ready to eat, heat up your deep fat fryer or a good depth of oil in a heavy frying pan – about 1.5cm depth. Fry the flamenquin a few at a time, turning once or twice, until evenly browned and the coating is crisp. They take about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and keep warm in the oven until you have fried them all.
Can you feel the Spanish sunshine? Can you hear the bells?
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.