Saturday, February 3, 2018


Less than a week into my January no-carb, no wine, diet, I got side-tracked. Once, twice, thrice and again. It started when I invited friends to Sunday lunch, to help me eat up a potaje of chickpeas and shrimp. Also, I wanted to introduce them to a wine made right in my village. 

Next, ladies in my aerobics class asked if I could do a paella cooking class with a visiting family member. I had to scurry about to clean up my kitchen, sharpen the knives, and make a shopping list. The paella was a grand success. (If you’re going to eat carbs, saffron rice with shrimp is a good way to go.)

Adrienne Ross serves paella prepared at a cooking class in my kitchen. Yep, we're drinking red wine with the paella!

At the end of the week I had a visit from an old friend, Lars Kronmark, professor of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA. Chef Lars comes to southern Spain once or twice a year to visit his mother who lives here. We usually get together for culinary explorations or just to have lunch. This time we lunched at a local restaurant, Mesón Tamisa. We ordered migas, an old-fashioned country dish of fried breadcrumbs, pork and sausages, topped with fried eggs, followed by roast leg of baby goat. That locally made red wine paired beautifully with the meal.

Francisco Javier González, proprietor of Mesón Tamisa, serves migas, a dish of fried breadcrumbs with sausage, peppers and eggs.

Chef Lars scoops up the migas. Note the wine is named "Viña Tamisa." Tamisa was the Roman name for the town of Mijas. Therefore, the restaurant, the local wine as well as a street all use the name.

Migas: stale bread is broken into crumbs, fried with pork fat as well as olive oil. Good for breakfast, as a starter on a winter's day, or supper.

Leg of chivo lechal malagueño, baby goat from Málaga, cooked sous vide with olive oil, rosemary and pine nuts, as served at Mesón Tamisa in Mijas. The kid is accompanied by patatas panaderas, sliced potatoes baked with tomatoes, onions and peppers. This easily serves three persons--if they have started with migas or another substantial dish.

Once the diet was well and truly sabotaged, I decided I might as well finish the week with a flourish. I invited my neighbors for Sunday lunch, pairing the lovely local red wine with pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes and the first broccoli from the garden.

Sliced pork tenderloin on a bed of mixed mushrooms, with roasted sweet potatoes and onions--a dish to pair with my "house" red wine, Viña Tamisa.

My neighbor, Linda Voice, raises her glass.

Rob Voice enjoys Viña Tamisa with lunch.

The theme connecting the week's culinary events: Viña Tamisa blend of Tempranillo-Petit Verdot-Syrah, from Bodegas Hermanas López Lavado in Mijas (Málaga).

If there was a theme that tied all of these meals together, it was that red wine with hometown terroir: Viña Tamisa, a coupage of Tempranillo-Petit Verdot-Syrah, accompanied them all.

Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms
Solomillo de Cerdo con Setas

I had this in Aracena (Huelva, Andalusia), prepared with ibérico tenderloin and wild mushrooms famous in the sierra of Aracena. But it’s just as good with regular pork and any type of mushroom. I used a mix of white mushrooms, oyster and portobellos. Pork seems especially good paired with the Tempranillo-Petit Verdot-Syrah wine. (Pairing, in Spanish, is maridaje, or “marriage.”) Be careful not to overcook the tenderloin.

Serves 4.

2 pork tenderloins (approx. 1 ¾ pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms
½ cup fino Sherry or Montilla-Moriles
¼ cup water

Sprinkle tenderloins with salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown the tenderloins on all sides and remove them. Add the shallot and 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the skillet and sauté them 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are sizzling in the oil (5 to 10 minutes, depending on variety). Add the fino, water and a sprig of rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer the mushrooms for 10 minutes.

Return the pork to the pan and cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked through (140ºF if tested with instant-read thermometer), about 10 minutes, depending on how thick the tenderloins are. The meat should be a tiny bit pink in the center. Remove the meat to a cutting board.

Slice the tenderloins and serve with the mushrooms and pan juices.

Recipes for the other dishes mentioned in this post:

About the featured wine:

Mesón Tamisa bar and restaurant is at Avda. Méjico,21; Mijas (Málaga). (34) 627 457 571. Specialties are baby goat and ibérico pork. If you want migas (fried bread crumbs), order it a day in advance. The wine list includes Viña Tamisa, both the Tempranillo coupage and an all Syrah.

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