Sunday, June 1, 2014


A Sherry to accompany every cheese.
I got a little carried away, I think, getting ready for International Sherry Week, June 2-8. Every day is a fine time to enjoy a copita of Sherry. For me, that usually means a fino Jerez or fino manzanilla. But the occasion of a worldwide celebration seems a good excuse to branch out a bit.

Classic consommé with Sherry.
Sherry goes with absolutely everything, from soup to nuts, from aperitif to dessert. So, my week-long, intensive Sherry week was going to have to cover all bases.

I encountered an unexpected problem, however. I couldn’t find a range of Sherry types! Two supermarket chains in my area had only fino and manzanilla plus the sweet ones, oloroso, cream and PX. They did not sell a single amontillado, oloroso seco, palo cortado, or raya. (Note to you Sherry marketing guys—better placement in stores if you want to sell more wine.)

I eventually found a good selection of Sherry styles (though only from a couple different bodegas) at a dedicated wine shop. I dithered between amontillado and oloroso seco and finally chose the oloroso seco after tasting each. I already have fino, manzanilla and sweet PX. So, I’m all set for a grand week!

From soup to nuts. Sherry is a classic addition to consommé. Use either fino or amontillado. It's also a superb addition to cream soups, such as lobster bisque or mushroom.

Sherry is the original tapas wine.
Serve Sherry--fino, manzanilla, amontillado or oloroso seco--with Spanish tapas. Toasted almonds, thinly sliced ham, olives, sausages, pâté, grilled shrimp, oysters, salt cod, smoked salmon, stuffed eggs.

 Dry fino Sherry flavors tender lamb kidneys in a velvety sauce. See the recipe below.

Mellow oloroso seco Sherry glazes these succulent chicken wings. (Recipe below.) Here, served with a copa of fino.

Tipsy cakes--luscious sweet Sherry syrup soaks into squares of sponge cake. An easy dessert (recipe below). PX, a sweet dessert wine, is the perfect accompaniment.

Want to know more about the different styles of Sherry? See my post from last year’s International Sherry Day. . And, to learn more about events worldwide during International Sherry Week, visit this site.

Riñones al Jerez
Kidneys in Sherry Sauce

Tender bites of kidneys in a velvety, Sherry sauce, this is a classic tapa bar dish. It can be prepared with lamb, pork or veal kidneys. (I used lamb kidneys, which only need about 12 minutes cooking.) The dish needs gentle cooking so as not to toughen the kidneys. Serve with chunks of bread to soak up the sauce. Chicken livers can be prepared in a similar manner.

Serves 4.

8 lamb kidneys, about 1 pound
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound small mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 clove chopped garlic
½ cup fino Sherry
½ cup meat stock
1 bay leaf
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Cut the kidneys in half and remove the core of fat. Slice or quarter the kidneys. Place them in a bowl and add enough milk to cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain, discarding the milk.

Sprinkle the kidneys with salt, pepper and flour. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the kidneys on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Stir in the Sherry and meat stock. Add the bay leaf. Cover and simmer until kidneys are tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

Pollo al Ajillo
Chicken With Garlic

The standard version of this dish is made with fino (dry) Sherry. But, use a mellow amontillado,  oloroso seco or even a slightly sweet Sherry and it becomes even better. The Sherry somewhat caramelizes and glazes the chicken pieces. The garlic is lightly crushed, but not peeled, and sauteed with the chicken. It flavors the sauce. Those who wish can squeeze out the soft garlic flesh to eat as well.

Makes about 24 pieces.

2 pounds chicken wings
1 head garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ cup medium-dry Sherry
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley

Cut off the wing tips and discard (or save for stock). Divide each wing into two joints. Lightly smash the garlic cloves to split the skins.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Add the chicken pieces to the oil and fry them slowly, adding the unpeeled cloves of garlic.

When chicken is browned on all sides, add the bay leaf, Sherry, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the liquid is cooked away and the chicken begins to sizzle again. Serve immediately garnished with parsley.

Tipsy Cakes

This is a great way to use up stale sponge cake or you can also make the tipsy cakes with store-bought sponge. You may need to cut the cake crosswise so the layers are about 1 ½ inches thick.

The cakes can be cut into small squares and placed in fluted paper cups for easy serving to a crowd. Or, place slices on individual dessert plates and garnish with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream.

Makes 12 cakes.

1 pound sponge cake, cut into 1 ½-inch thick slabs
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Strip of orange zest
1 cup dry Sherry
Toasted slivered almonds

Place the slabs of sponge in a flat dish or tray and prick them all over with a skewer.

Combine the sugar, water and orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Strain out and reserve the orange zest. Add the Sherry to the sugar syrup.

Spoon half of the Sherry syrup over the cake. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Cut the sponge into 1 ½-inch squares. Put a few slivered almonds on top of each square. Cut some of the reserved orange zest into fine slivers and place them on top of the cakes. Spoon over the remaining Sherry syrup. When the sponge has absorbed most of the syrup, place the squares in fluted paper cups.

1 comment:

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