Spring brings not only the welcome arrival of fragrant blossoms and tender green leaves, but an annual flowering of festivals. The Seville Fair in Spain, or Feria de abril de Sevilla, has to be one of the most fun. Just two weeks after the parades of Holy Week and the somber reflections of Lent, the locals don their flamenco gear and devote themselves to this weeklong extravaganza. Everyone celebrates around the clock at outdoor casetas, or tents, representing the city’s most prominent organizations and families. Sevillanos feast and drink and visit the local amusement park, evocatively named Calle del Infierno, or Hell Road. The Feria begins with a parade of horse-drawn carriages down colorfully illuminated streets named for famous bullfighters, convening on the city’s bullfighting arena, La Real Maestranza.
Tapas, the famous small dishes of Spanish cuisine, are consumed at the Feria, and we thought these recipes would make a fun and delicious springtime dinner party. No tapas table would be complete without Spanish Tortilla and thinly sliced Serrano ham served alongside pan con tomate. Since pork is king in this part of Spain, we’re serving pork two ways. For this traditional dish, the pork tenderloin is marinated overnight and then gently cooked, and served with golden sautéed potatoes to help soak up the pungent, whiskey-scented sauce. Each dish serves from four to eight people, depending on whether you stick to the traditional small plate format or not: they’re so good you may not want to.
Solomillo al whisky (Pork with Whiskey Sauce)
2 trimmed pork tenderloins
2 tbsp butter, divided
2 lbs potatoes (any kind), peeled
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp finely minced or grated fresh ginger
3-4 cloves crushed or minced garlic
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup whiskey
Combine marinade ingredients. Place pork in a large ziploc bag and pour in marinade, squeezing out extra air before sealing. Marinate in fridge, 6-8 hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt well and boil potatoes until just tender. When cool enough to handle, cut into inch-thick slices and set aside.
Remove tenderloins from bag, reserving marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Melt 1 tbsp butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and bubbling. Add pork tenderloins and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until thermometer inserted into pork registers 150°F, turning occasionally, about 10-15 minutes longer. Transfer pork to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Pour reserved marinade into pan with juices from pork and simmer for 5 minutes. If it seems too thick, add a tbsp or two of water. Meanwhile, in a frying pan heat remaining tablespoon of butter (or olive oil, if you prefer) over medium heat and fry potato slices until crispy. Sprinkle with salt.
Slice pork into ½ inch slices and serve with potatoes and sauce.
Pan con Tomate
This Spanish style toasted bread with tomato is served at most tapas bars and restaurants in Spain. It is simple and delicious and can be prepared in just a few minutes. It also makes a lovely lunch served with some sliced jamon.
3 medium sized, very ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove, grated with a microplane
8 slices thick crusty bread, toasted or grilled
Using a box grater, coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl, discarding the skin. Grate garlic clove with a microplane or crush into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic to tomato pulp along with a tbsp of olive oil and some salt to taste.
Toast or grill bread and top with tomato pulp. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
This classic and beloved tapa is eaten all over Spain. Unlike most omelets, this one is best served at room temperature.
3 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium sized onion, quartered and sliced thin
8 large eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper
Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in a 10” skillet and add potatoes and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat, turning often until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove cooked potato mixture with a slotted spoon, leaving some of the oil in the pan.
Combine beaten eggs with cooked potatoes and onions and add to pan, cook over medium heat. Season with salt. As eggs begin to set, fold in sides to cook eggs in center. Once eggs are set, about 10 minutes, invert tortilla onto a plate by covering pan with a plate and carefully turning over to release tortilla from the pan. Return to pan, bottom side up, to finish cooking the top, about 3 minutes more. Once eggs are cooked through, transfer tortilla back onto plate and let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges and serve.