Few people love sherry and tapas as much as Kay Plunkett-Hogge.
OK, let’s be honest — Plunkett-Hogge, who was born and raised in Thailand but now lives in London, is among the millions of people who adore two of Spain’s culinary delights. But she recently funneled that fascination into “A Sherry & A Little Plate of Tapas” (Mitchell Beazley, $19.99).
The first part of the book is a guide to sherry’s history, production and tasting notes, but in the second part, she explores the vast world of tapas, the small plates of food served in many places in Spain. Because tapas vary greatly from region to region, Plunkett-Hogge takes us on a virtual tour of the country through dishes including ensalada con anchoas (salad with anchovies), gambas al ajillo (shrimp and garlic) and even pulpo a la gallega (Galician octopus with paprika), a traditional way of serving octopus in the northwest corner of Spain.
This solomillo al whisky is a pork dish served in nearly every restaurant in Seville. With a smoky sauce and potent garlic, it’s a memorable dish that’s much easier to make at home than other tapas you might find in a bar in Spain. Make sure you slice the pork fairly thin and evenly so that each piece cooks the same.
14 oz. pork loin
10-12 garlic cloves, in their skin
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup whiskey
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve
Slice the pork fillet into fairly thin slices. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Bash the garlic cloves slightly with the flat side of a knife. You want to bruise them a little.
Heat the 4 Tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and toss them in the oil. Allow them to gain a little color, but not too much. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn the heat up a little and add the pork slices, seasoning them with more salt and pepper as you go. You want to sear them on both sides to get color and make sure they are cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside to rest.
Add the stock and lemon juice to the pan and stir to combine. Add the whisky. Bring back to a boil and turn down the heat. Allow to bubble gently and emulsify and thicken slightly. Put the garlic and the pork back into the pan and heat through gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir through the extra virgin olive oil and add the parsley. Serve with plenty of bread or fried potatoes.
— From “A Sherry & A Little Plate of Tapas” by Kay Plunkett-Hogge (Mitchell Beazley, $19.99)