Tapas Meal

One kilo of shrimp takes a long time to peel.
A few weeks ago when we stayed in Málaga, we had the opportunity to go to the central market. It was a vibrant, bustling maze of fresh seafood, dried fruit and nuts, fresh baked bread, meats and cheeses, and corner cafés to get lunch or a drink. We loved it. However, navigating the crowds and stalls with two hungry kids proved difficult, so my mother-in-law took them outside while my father-in-law, Justin and I found lunch. We settled on three different bocadillos filled with Ibérico ham, manchego cheese, and chorizo sliced deli meat. To that we added perfectly salted, warm marcona almonds, Málaga raisins dried on the vine, green olives, and sweet marinated garlic. It was a lunch to remember. I vowed to return to the market later in the week and shop for dinner ingredients.

Pig ears, anyone? Spaniards love all things pig.
You know I would buy pig feet if I knew what to do with them.
I returned a few days later on a mission. The market would close in half an hour, and I still had to get to another part of the city before the natural wine shop closed in an hour. I chose shrimp, butternut squash, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, and fresh bread. The tapas menu had come together in my head, and I was looking forward to executing it.

I carried my haul to the small apartment my in-laws were renting and got to work. I started by turning up my podcast and peeling and cleaning a kilo of shrimp. Totally underestimating how long it would take, I vowed never to do it again, at least not alone. My fingers smelled like seafood for hours afterward. (The bouquet of my natural white wine, later on, was oddly mingled with seafood scent).

Two and a half podcasts later, I had my peeled and cleaned shrimp.

Simple ingredients make the best dishes.
Butternut squash soup with shrimp.
Once that was done, I started preparing the soup. Simple ingredients of onion, turmeric, ginger, and butternut squash went into a pot. The soup was the easy part of the meal after all of the shrimp peeling.

Baguette waiting to be toasted, rubbed with garlic and olive oil, and heaped with tomato pulp.
There is nothing like these jewels of raisins. The flavor is complex and sweet.
Dessert: Málaga raisins, salted marcona almonds, dark chocolate, and dried strawberries. 
I made pan con tomatey ajo and set out a plate of different cheeses. I didn’t get a picture of those things because we were too busy devouring them. Next came the soup of curried butternut squash and shrimp. Dessert was dried fruit, almonds, and dark chocolate.

The tapas meal was fun to make and I so enjoyed the details of it. Even peeling all that shrimp was worth it to get the delicious soup.

Here is the recipe, in Spanish. You can get the gist of it by seeing the ingredients he uses (butternut squash, onion, turmeric, ginger powder, salt, water, shrimp). He uses frozen shrimp. I boiled mine separately before adding them to the finished soup. Also, I didn't have an immersion blender at the time, so I left mine chunky.

Buen provecho.

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