Sunday, March 12, 2017


While I was working through the cocido leftovers last week, I made an Andalusian classic, montadito de pringá, a sandwich made with the cooked meats and fat from the cocido mashed to a kind of pâté.  That inspired a week’s worth of montaditos!


A classic--montaditos de pringá--cooked meat from the cocido, mashed with pork fat--on toasted rolls.

Montadito means “mounted,” or “up in the saddle.” A slice of juicy, fried pork loin, “mounted” on bread and topped with strips of red piquillo pepper, is a classic montadito.  You can heap just about anything on a bread roll and call it a montadito—for example, Russian salad, fried fish, sautéed mushrooms or leftover cocido. So, go ahead, invent some montadito combos for yourself.

A montadito isn’t your ordinary sandwich, something slapped between two slices of sandwich bread. The bread—a fresh, crusty roll—is as important as the filling. Montaditos are served in cafeterias for “elevenses,” segundo desayuno, second breakfast, eaten mid-morning. They’re a favorite tapa bar selection and, of course, they make an ideal lunch. Sometimes the bread is toasted or grilled. Some montaditos are served cold, some hot.

On the left, molletes, smooth buns; above them is a chapata, a small ciabatta; next, a whole-wheat barra, or "bar" loaf; the other three are bollos, crusty rolls, each one makes an individual sandwich.

Usual breads for montaditos are bollo, a crusty roll; barra or baguette, a long, crusty loaf that, once filled, is cut into shorter lengths; mollete, a soft, flat bap of a bun, somewhere between a pita and hamburger bun (but, unlike hamburger buns, with no sugar); chapata, from “ciabatta,” with air pockets in the spongy crumb, and pan de país, country bread baked in round loaves and thickly sliced.  

Blood sausage, raisins and pine nuts, heaped on toasts.

Spread rolls with a spicy tomato sauce, add sardines and strips of piquillo pepper.

Pepito--a steak sandwich, with a tangy mushroom sauce.

Kale with walnuts and cheese, stuffed in a bun called mollete.

Leftovers on a Bun
Montadito de Pringá

Use any leftover boiled meats from the cocido—beef, pork belly, chicken, ham, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage). Shred or chop them. Be sure to include some tocino, fatty cooked salt pork. The fat, heated and mashed, binds the shredded meat and turns the mixture into a spread for the toasted rolls. (The recipe for complete cocido is here.)

The meat mixture probably needs no added salt or other seasoning. 

Use crusty rolls or soft molletes, which are like buns. Split the rolls and toast them. Spread the pringá on the rolls and press the top half down so the bread absorbs the juices. The montaditos can be prepared in advance. Spread the pringá in the rolls, wrap them in foil. When ready to serve, heat them on a griddle or in the oven.

2 cups chopped or shredded meat, fat and chicken
3 tablespoons cocido broth
4 small rolls, split and toasted

Heat the chopped and shredded meat and fat with the broth in a skillet. Mash the fat to make a sort of paste. Heap the hot pringá on the toasted rolls.

Blood Sausage with Raisins and Pine Nuts on Toast
Montadito de Morcilla

Sweet raisins and crunchy pine nuts contrast with rich and spicy blood sausage (also called black pudding or budin noir). Málaga muscatel raisins are the best, but they have to be seeded. Or use any seedless raisin. Use either morcilla de Burgos with rice or morcilla de cebolla, with onion. Use bollos, crusty rolls, or thickly-sliced country bread. These montaditos are served open-faced.

Makes 8 open-faced toasts.

Blood sausage, raisins and pine nuts.
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
10 ounces morcilla (blood sausage)
¼ cup seedless raisins
4 tablespoons white wine
2 rolls or 8 thick slices of country bread

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the pine nuts until they are golden, about 30 seconds. Tilt the pan so the oil flows to one side and skim out the pine nuts. 

Remove the skin from the sausage and chop it into small pieces. Add to the frying pan with the raisins and sauté on medium heat, breaking up the sausage pieces, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until sausage begins to sizzle again, 4 minutes.

If using crusty rolls, split them open and cut each half in half crosswise. Toast under a broiler/grill.
Divide the sausage mixture between the toasts, pressing it down. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top. Serve hot or room temperature.

Mini Roll with Spicy Sardines
Mini de Sardinas Picantes

In the bars in the old quarter of Zaragoza, this tapa is known as a “guardia civil.” Pimentón picante, spicy-hot paprika, gives the sauce its fire power. If you haven’t got this sort of pimentón, use cayenne, but in a lesser amount. Piquillo peppers, sweet and piquant, come canned and ready to use. They are worth a search, but, if not available, use any red pimiento. 

Chopped pickles go into the spicy tomato sauce spread on these sandwiches.

Serves 6.

½ cup canned tomato sauce  (tomate frito
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons hot pimentón (paprika)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
¼ cup chopped sweet pickles
1 tablespoon chopped mild green chile (guindilla), optional
6 crusty rolls, split and toasted
3 (120 g / 4 oz-) cans sardines packed in olive oil (approximately 9 sardines)
6 piquillo peppers, split, or tinned red pimiento, cut in strips

Combine the tomato sauce in a small bowl with the vinegar, pimentón, onion, chopped pickles and chile, if using. Spread a spoonful on the bottom half of each roll. 

Strips of peppers on the sardines.

Lift the sardines out of the cans, discarding the oil. Carefully split them open lengthwise. (The bones can be removed, if desired, but they are perfectly edible.) Place 3 half-sardines on each bread roll. Top with half a piquillo pepper or strips of pimiento and cover with top of roll. Serve at room temperature.

Pepito Steak Sandwich with Mushroom Ketchup
Pepito de Ternera con Salsa de Setas

So, a guy named Pepe walks into a bar. Says, instead of the usual bocadillo de jamón, ham sandwich, he wants a hot sandwich. Bar guy griddles a beef filete, thin steak, puts it on a roll. Pepe, known to his friends as Pepito, orders the steak sandwich every time. Eventually, everybody justs asks for the “bocadillo como el de Pepito.” 

Pepito--a steak sandwich, here with piquant mushroom condiment.

At its most basic, this is just quickly griddled beef on a bread roll. Sometimes it has fried green Padrón peppers or cheese or mushrooms or a fried egg. 

Use thin “frying steak,” cut about ½-inch thick, for this sandwich—rump steak is fine, though thinly- cut strip steak or butterflied tenderloin is even better. Pan-grill the meat (use a cast-iron skillet or plancha, an unridged grill pan), about 1 minute per side, so it is still pink in the center. PX Sherry vinegar gives the sauce a slightly sweet tang. If not available, use balsamic. 

Serves 4.
Shredded oyster mushrooms.

For the mushroom ketchup:
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons PX Sherry vinegar
¼ cup water or beef stock
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Thinly sliced beef.

For the steak:
4 (½ -inch thick) frying steaks, each 3 to 4 ounces
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced
Coarse salt for the grill pan
4 crusty rolls or a 22-inch baguette, toasted if desired
Rucola or other greens to serve.

Tear or slice the mushrooms into strips. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms on moderately high heat until they begin to brown and crisp at the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Scoop them out and reserve.

Cut onion in half and thinly slice crosswise. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the onions until they are very browned, about 8 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and a pinch of thyme. Add the vinegar and water or stock.

Return the mushrooms to the pan and heat 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. (Mushroom sauce can be prepared in advance. Reheat it before spreading on the bread.)

Season the steaks with pepper and sliced garlic. Allow to come to room temperature.

Heat a plancha or heavy skillet very hot. Sprinkle it with coarse salt. Pan-grill the steaks until browned on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove.

Spread mushrooms on baguette, top with steak.

Split the rolls or the baguette. Spread the mushroom sauce on the bottom halves. Top with the steak and a few leaves of rucola. If using a baguette, slice the sandwich into four sections to serve.

Add sliced tomatoes to the steak sandwich.   

Kale and Walnut Sandwiches
Montaditos de Kale

Pile sauteed kale on toasted buns.

Taking my own advice—"invent some montadito combos for yourself"—I turned garden kale into these sandwiches with chopped walnuts, dried apricots and goat cheese, packed into molletes, buns. 

For a vegetarian sandwich, omit the optional bacon. 

Serves 4,

Toast mollete in toaster.
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more to drizzle on the bread
2 tablespoons bacon (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 cup cooked and chopped kale
2 dried apricots, diced (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces soft goat cheese, cut in pieces
4 (3 ½ -inch) molletes (buns), split, toasted and drizzled with oil

Add goat cheese to hot kale.

Heat the oil in a small skillet with the bacon, if using. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté them gently until softened, 5 minutes. Add the kale, apricots and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the kale is bubbling. Add a little water if needed. 

Add the goat cheese to the hot kale. Stir to combine and allow the cheese to soften. Remove from heat.

Spread the kale on the split and toasted buns. Serve warm or room temperature.

Garden kale--inspiration for a montadito sandwich.

More sandwich ideas:

Serrano ham and pork loin sandwich; Tuna and roasted pepper sandwich; Fried ham and cheese sandwich.

Another recipe with kale:

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