|Yummy small plates|
"Tapas" is a broad term that applies to a wide variety of dishes, and it varies depending on the region. It could be something as simple as a plate of sausage and cheese, or something like fried seafood, braised dishes, small sandwiches, or items served on a skewer.
In the Basque Country, these tapas are typically referred to as "pintxos" (pronounced PEEN-chos). Hirigoyen hails from this region and the book represents some of the small plates that are served at his restaurants (found here and here) in the San Francisco Bay area.
The dish I chose to make on Saturday night was the Spicy and Sweet Chicken Wings. Nothing about this dish is Basque. With ingredients such as ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and sriracha pepper sauce, it is decidedly Asian. Hirigoyen says that these wings were inspired by his restaurants' close proximity to Chinatown. But it is completely in the spirit of pintxos.
Hirigoyen advocates using the middle section of the wing for its better meat to bone ratio, but also said you can use the little "drummies" if you like. My package of wings had both middle sections and drummies, so that is what I went with. The wings are marinated in this sweet, spicy, salty concoction. Then, the wings and sauce are cooked in a large skillet until they are cooked through and the sauce thickens up and glazes everything nicely.
|Spicy and Sweet Chicken Wings|
The chicken stays juicy and moist, being that it is cooked in the sauce. I absolutely loved the sticky glaze, which was absolutely bursting with flavors of the lemon, ginger, garlic, and spicy chile heat from the sriracha. The honey in the sauce balance out the heat beautifully (in fact, I might try using the marinade for making a stir-fry sometime - it is beautiful). Excellent fare for watching the Final Four.
There are a number of really interesting looking recipes in Pintxos that I would like to try. This one obviously wasn't in the Basque genre, so perhaps it wasn't the best choice to learn about the more "classic" pintxos? Regardless, it was an excellent dish, and a nice cookbook that will be fun to explore. Note to self; some more "classic" pintxos next time. And there will be a next time.