I love Spanish chorizo, which is dense, chewy and intensely flavoured. You can use it in small amounts, to add a rich umami flavour to food, or in larger quantities, as with these dishes.
This is a savoury free-form tart that is easy to make, especially if you use commercial puff pastry (although, as always, home-made is better). Be sure to buy all-butter puff pastry that comes in a slab; the rolled-out version is too thin. Except for the potatoes, none of the ingredients are cooked in advance; you just layer them over the puff pastry (which you’ve rolled out, then cut into a large circle), fold over the sides of the dough, to partially enclose the filling, then bake.
Look for small potatoes, about 2cm in diameter.
1 500-gram slab of all-butter puff pastry, thawed, if frozen
150 grams very small potatoes
150 grams Spanish chorizo
6-8 small bell peppers, preferably a mix of colours
100 grams aged manchego
About 60ml cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Roll out the puff pastry to a 25cm square, then lay it on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 220 degrees Celsius and preparing the ingredients.
Scrub the potatoes, then put them in a pan with enough cool, salted water to cover by 1cm. Place the pan over a medium flame, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Drain the potatoes then cut them in half.
Slice the chorizo into 5mm-thick rounds. Slice the peppers about 5mm thick, shaking out as many seeds as possible. Grate the manchego. Whisk the egg with about 20ml of cool water.
Using a large bowl or the lid of a pot as your guide, cut the sheet of puff pastry into a 24cm circle. Place the circle on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Spread a little less than half the grated manchego over the puff-pastry circle, leaving a border of about 3cm around the perimeter. Lay the chorizo slices over the cheese, then top with the halved potatoes and the slices of bell pepper. Spread most of the remaining cheese over the ingredients, then drizzle with the cream and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Fold the 3cm border over the filling, folding and pleating the pastry as needed. Brush the folded-over border with the whisked egg then sprinkle it with the last of the manchego.
Bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 200 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to 180 degrees and bake until the pastry is medium brown, fragrant and firm. Serve warm or at room temperature. Use a serrated knife to slice the crostata into wedges.
Shrimp with chorizo
If you want a real treat, use carabineros prawns, which are huge, sweet and meaty (and expensive!), with heads that are full of delicious briny juices. You’ll need only six of them, instead of the 12 to 18 more ordinary-sized shrimp (or prawns) called for in this recipe.
Serve this dish with crusty bread, for sopping up the delicious, oily pan juices.
12-18 fresh shrimp or prawns, with bodies about 6cm-8cm in length
125 grams Spanish chorizo
About 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 large garlic cloves, sliced
¼ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste
Fine sea salt and rough-flaked sea salt (such as Maldon)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Lay the shrimp or prawns on the cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut a slit down the back of each one through the shell. Remove the dark vein, but leave the shells and heads on. Trim off the long antennae from the heads.
Cut the chorizo lengthwise into two even pieces, then lay them cut-side down on the cutting board. Slice the chorizo about 5mm thick, then put the pieces in an unoiled skillet. Place the skillet over a medium flame and cook until the chorizo is hot and sizzling. Remove the chorizo from the pan, but leave behind the fat. Pour the olive oil into the skillet and add the sliced garlic and cook over a medium flame until the garlic softens slightly. Sprinkle the chilli flakes into the skillet, then add the shrimp or prawns. Sprinkle with fine salt, then cook until the shrimp or prawns are done, turning them over halfway through. Add the chorizo back to the pan.
Scatter rough-flaked sea salt over the shrimp and chorizo, then serve immediately with lemon wedges and crusty bread.