I’m a big fan of the “Tapa de Cocina”. One thing is the slice or (hopefully) slices of some fine charcutería that the barman will plop down on the bar alongside your drink and quite another is the lovingly prepared mini dish of some regional speciality that you may have to order and pay for but ends up being a mini starter in itself. This tapa is one that I have enjoyed many, many fine sunny evenings sitting with an ice cold cervecita on the pavement terraza outside Bar Góngora in Seville. Give it a try, but if you can get to Seville and order it in the aforementioned bar, so much the better. It’s called “Espinacas a la Andaluza” or “Espinacas con Garbanzos” or Spinach with Chickpeas, and that basically is all there is to it.
Ingredients (for six)
2 big bunches of spinach
1/2 kilo of chickpeas
4 cloves garlic
2 slices of bread
1 dessertspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
White wine vinegar
Guindilla (cayenne pepper or similar) to taste
Soak chickpeas overnight. Cook until soft or al dente as you prefer. Definitely better soft, imho.
Wash spinach. You can also use frozen spinach for this dish, if you can’ t get fresh.
Cook spinach on a low heat for ten minutes, once the spinach is cooked, drain and chop roughly.
In a frying pan on a medium heat, fry the bread until it is crispy golden (then remove) and cloves of garlic (peeled but whole) until soft – the garlic will take a bit longer. The slices of bread should be the equivalent of two slices from a Spanish stick which is about two and a half times as “fat” as a baguette. Once the garlic is done, remove the pan from the heat.
Using a pestle and mortar, make a paste of the fried bread and garlic, adding a generous splash of vinegar, the cumin and cayenne pepper.
Once the oil in the frying pan has cooled somewhat, add the paprika and fry, taking care not to let it burn. Return the frying pan to a low heat and add the paste. Stir well. Add the spinach and chickpeas and cook through, stirring frequently for ten minutes.
Season and serve in individual earthenware dishes with slices of fried bread.
Here’s Miguel Bose singing his hit Sevilla: