After a game full of penalties and missed opportunities, Spain pulled it together in extra time with a 116th minute goal by Andrés Iniesta. Surrounded by waving Spanish flags and hysterical fans, I lost myself in the moment, and forgot I was in the middle of New York City.
After a morning spent indulging in all things meat at the Meatopia BBQ on Governors Island, we headed back into Manhattan by ferry and decided to head straight to Lizarran, a Spanish owned Tapas bar in SoHo that we figured would have the most authentic fútbol experience this side of the Atlantic.
By the time we showed up, there was a crowd spilling onto the streets and we literally had to pry ourselves between rabidly excited and perspiring fútbol fans to get inside. I won’t bore you with the details of the game, which featured a record 14 yellow cards and a red card, but cheering for España amidst a sea of fans decked out in red and gold face paint, made all the sweat and spilled beer worth it.
In honor of Spain’s glorious victory, we came home and put together the tapas below with odds and ends we had in the fridge.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota con Melón – I’ve been saving this last pack of jamón ibérico, I brought back from Spain for a very special occasion. Bellota, which means “acorn”, is a designation given to the highest grade of jamón ibérico which comes from black pigs that are fed a diet of pure acorns during the final months of their lives. Spain’s victory in the World Cup seemed like the perfect excuse to crack open the vacuum sealed package of cured perfection. Because the ham can get salty on its own, I like pairing it with sliced melons, in this case, cantaloupe.
Gambas Al Ajillo – A ton of crushed and minced garlic, olive oil, shrimp, salt, pepper, a pinch of pimenton, and a splash of white wine is all you need to make rockin’ good gambas al ajillo. Along with a loaf of good bread, it makes for a delicious tapa that’s redolent of caramelized garlic and the sea.
Sopa de Ajo – After a day of drinking, my stomach needed something to calm it down, and this garlic and bread soup seemed like just the ticket. True to the name of this blog I don’t even follow my own recipes, so this one turned out a little different from the recipe I posted here. This time, I smashed and chopped the garlic releasing more flavor and leaving bigger chunks of garlic. I also added quite a bit more pimentón, as well as a smidge of tomato paste for a little sweetness and tartness.