Photography by Martin Poole
Crisp, salty pork crackling with creamy, spicy mash: this simple tapa is a sure-fire winner. It hails from Avila in the province of Castilla, the epicentre of Spain. Castilla is a land of history, kingdoms, castles, cathedrals and an outstanding gastronomy. Serves four as a tapa.
- 3 large waxy potatoes (about 500g), peeled and quartered
- 1 whole head of garlic
- ½ onion
- 1 bay leaf
- Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 300g pork belly, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tbsp sweet pimentón (sweet-smoked paprika)
- 1 tsp spicy pimentón (hot smoked paprika)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the potatoes, garlic, onion, a pinch of salt and the bay leaf in a pan and cover with water.
- Bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes, but keep a bit of the water, the garlic, onion and bay leaf. Peel the garlic and keep the pulp.
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan and fry the pork belly pieces with the bay leaf from the potatoes and a bit of salt until crispy (this can take up to 30 minutes). Set the meat aside to rest. In the same pan, fry the half-boiled onion, then set aside for later.
- Fry the garlic until light golden. Add the sweet and hot pimenton and after 10 seconds add the potatoes, give them a stir and mash them in the pan with a fork. If they get too dry use the reserved cooking water to thin the puree. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the potatoes with the crispy pork belly and pan-fried onion on top.
Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution (Quadrille £20). Photography by Martin Poole