Spanish tapas have been on my mind ever since I made those croquetas the other day. They were a hit in the house and the leftovers treated me well (at least while they lasted). Once the last croqueta was gone though, my stomach went into what I’ve come to call, “pregnant woman mode.” Pregnant women may claim to have it bad, but a foodie-craving is no joking matter. I wanted more tapas, stat.
Champiñones al ajillo is exactly what I needed – literally garlic mushrooms. I set aside this weekend to be my relax/be-super-lazy weekend and so anything that took more than 10 minutes to make was out of the question. These mushrooms met all my stringent criteria, and the heaping mound of garlic only added to their appeal. If you don’t have the 10 5 minutes it takes to put these together, but you happen to be walking around Spain, you’re in luck. Any reputable tapas bar will gladly serve you up a plate of these mushrooms; although, if you want to blend in more with the locals, call them champis and don’t use their full name, champiñones al ajillo.
Recipes for this classic Spanish tapas will vary. Some will call for freshly squeezed lemon juice, while others want bread crumbs, but none of them leave out the Spanish paprika – a quintessential ingredient in Spanish cuisine. You can find this paprika in three varieties: sweet, smoked or spicy, but these champis pair perfectly with the spicy variation, which also happens to be my favorite.
From raw ingredients to what you see above takes no more than five minutes. If you don’t have Spanish sherry, a feasible substitute would be some marsala wine, but obviously, it won’t produce the same flavor. On the topic of substitutions, you can also substitute the mushrooms for some shrimp and you’ll end up with another classic Spanish tapas, gambas al ajillo.
OK, I’ve been rambling for way too long. You could’ve probably made two batches of these already but I’ve kept you, yet again. Go make some and enjoy!
Champiñones al Ajillo
serves approx. 6-8 people
- 1 lb button mushrooms, quartered
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika, spicy
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1/4 cup Spanish sherry
- salt & pepper, to taste
Putting them all together
- Heat up olive oil, garlic, and paprika in a large skillet.
- Once it starts to sizzle, add the quartered mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the dry sherry and cook until most of the liquid has reduced into more of a sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss with chopped parsley and serve.
notes: OK, this recipe might take all of 8 minutes, but I still claim they’re well-spent.