A Barcelona food blog
Not unlike most people I have chewed, tasted and tippled my way through the festive season and new year and come through the other side a few pounds heavier than when I started. These days I’m not one for taking on weight loss diets of any kind, I firmly believe that they are counter-productive, so no ‘must lose a stone in a month’ new year resolution rubbish for me.
However, I have been pondering eating some delicious, healthy and lighter meals to offset the indulgence of the last few weeks. What also offset the wrench of leaving everyone back in the UK again was the pleasure of leaving the food desert of my old Manchester stomping ground in Stretford and landing back in this city’s lush jungle of ingredient options. What a contrast and joy to wander round the Barcelona markets again after watching hoards of people chomping on pasties or lugging Tesco carrier bags in the shopping mall round the corner from my old home.
It was on one of these wanders that I was tempted by spring onion like stems of garlic. I’d never seen garlic in this form before but have come across recipes mentioning the ‘wet’ or ‘new’ variety, so feeling certain I’d have a recipe for using it somewhere, I snapped up a bunch.
Sadly, my varied collection of cookery books did not give up any secrets on what to conjure up with this allium, so it fell to my imagination to do it some justice. A glistening, fresh whole mackerel sat in the fridge so it seemed only right to marry them up.
With the garlic I removed the green, leafy tops, hairy roots and outer layer and then thinly sliced the remainder. I then wilted these on a very low heat with a little butter, a dash of white wine, the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme and a tiny pinch of salt until they were soft but not coloured. When they were finished I added several droplets of balsamic vinegar, my instinct being that the wine and vinegar would contrast the sweetness of the garlic and the oilyness of the fish. As the garlic was cooking, I dusted the filleted fish in seasoned flour and simply fried it in a little oil.I was really pleased with the end result. The garlic was soft but not mushy as it still had a slight ‘bite’ and had a delicious, subtle taste, much less pungent than the regular garlic we are all accustomed to. I’m sure there are more adventurous ways with this vegetable but I enjoyed being able to fully appreciate it for the first time without it being too adulterated. With a chunk of crusty bread on the side it was a delicious light meal and a great antithesis to the festive excesses.