Menestra de Verduras

Seasonal Vegetables with Garlic, Tomato and Jamón

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • 6

    Medias Raciones

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

A MENESTRA IS A BRAISE OF VEGETABLES IN A JAMÓN-INFUSED TOMATO SAUCE. IN SPAIN IT IS EATEN AS A FIRST COURSE, PERHAPS BEFORE SOME MEAT. MENESTRAS ARE ALWAYS A SEASONAL DISH AND ARE MADE WITH WHATEVER VEGETABLES ARE PLENTIFUL, SO DON’T BE LIMITED TO THE ONES IN THIS RECIPE. FOR SOME VEGETABLES THE COOKING TIMES MAY SEEM QUITE LONG — DON’T WORRY, THEY ARE CORRECT. THAT’S SIMPLY THE NATURE OF SOME SPANISH COOKING (I BELIEVE WE HAVE SWUNG THE OTHER WAY AND NOW ACTUALLY UNDERCOOK OUR VEGETABLES!) THE TANG OF THE TOMATO SAUCE BRINGS EVERYTHING TOGETHER, MARRYING THE EARTHY FLAVOUR OF THE VEGETABLES WITH THE RICHNESS OF THE OIL AND JAMÓN.

Ingredients

  • 5 artichokes, halved and stems removed (see preparation instructions)
  • 1 large roasting potato, such as sebago, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) chunks
  • 400 g (14 oz) brussels sprouts
  • 300 g (10½ oz) baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 300 g (10½ oz) baby turnips, peeled trimmed and halved
  • 250 g (9 oz) runner beans, trimmed and cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) lengths
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 40 g ( oz) jamón fat, finely chopped
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) olive oil
  • 100 g ( oz) piece of jamón, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • crusty bread, to serve

Method

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Cook the vegetables separately, beginning with the artichokes for 15 minutes, then the potato, brussels sprouts, carrots and turnips for 10 minutes each, and 5 minutes for the beans. Remove the vegetables each time with a slotted spoon, drain well and spread out on a tray to cool.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt in a food processor and blend until roughly puréed.

Place the chopped jamón fat and 50 ml ( fl oz) of the olive oil in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, or until the fat has rendered. Remove and discard any jamón pieces and reserve the fat. Place the drained vegetables, tomato purée and chopped jamón in a large heavy-based saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Pour in the remaining olive oil and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the flavour and texture of the vegetables are well integrated and the edges of the vegetables are just starting to break down.

Stir the melted jamón fat, remaining sea salt and the chopped parsley into the vegetables. Place on a warm serving dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve hot, with crusty bread.