I’ve caught the Spanish bug

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.

mise en place
mise en place

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.

Spanish paprika
Spanish paprika

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.

mushrooms cooked in lots and lots of garlic
champis al ajillo

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.

champiñones al ajillo
champis 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

Components

  • 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

  1. Heat up olive oil, garlic, and paprika in a large skillet.
  2. Once it starts to sizzle, add the quartered mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the dry sherry and cook until most of the liquid has reduced into more of a sauce.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss with chopped parsley and serve.

notes: OK, this recipe might take all of 8 minutes, but I still claim they’re well-spent.

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21 thoughts on “I’ve caught the Spanish bug

  1. Tony, I can always make 5… er 8 minutes in my day for mushrooms 🙂 I really like the Spanish paprika too. You should think about catering sometime, these would be perfect.

    Or, I would put them on a light pizza… nice 🙂

  2. light pizza sounds delicious – I used the leftovers the next morning (i.e. today) in my omelette. Sundays are the only days that I get to indulge for breakfast and these mushrooms made them extra special : ) Glad you liked them, Adam!

  3. Buenos días Antonio! These kind of tapas make my day :D. Puedo oler los champis desde aquí.
    MMMMmmmmm. I’ve got some mushrooms in the fridge and some jerez in the pantry… and sure have 8 minutes ;D

  4. i am now sure we are long lost twins! tony i had these lovely mushrooms for dinner at a restaurant last night. seeing these on the blog makes me smile because i was trying to figure out how to recreate them in my kitchen again. i love you!

  5. hahaha … pregnant woman mode lol … :p
    mushrooms are such a easy peesey thing to make … takes so little time, yet tastes like you’ve slogged your butt off in the kitchen. Love your tapas … n i’m still fasting .. :p drool …

  6. I have a friend who believes mushrooms are his sworn enemy. I might, however, be able to sneak these lovely morsels past his phobia…we shall see!

    PS: nice balancing act with the sherry glass in your photo. : )

  7. Wow. These pictures are amazing. I love the one of paprika.
    When you are visiting, we’ll be harvesting squash and pumpkins, so put your thinking cap on.

  8. This looks like an amazing dish. I would probably serve it as a side, instead of appetizer. Mainly because I don’t have spoons that would work with this.

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