Mediterranean Cooking

Appetizer with Cava

Ideas de Aperitivos para la cena de Navidad y su maridaje con cava Gran Reserva.jpg
Cava de Guarda Superior Gran Reserva Siviendo.png
This Cava is the ultimate in complexity. With great aromatic intensity, Cava Gran Reserva stands out for having its own personality and complex aroma, thanks to more than 30 months aging in bottle.
1 Hour
Difficulty
4 people
Meat

The appetizer (a typical kind of starter involving a mix of different elements) is a classic at Christmas and at other festive celebrations in Spain, in the same way that a toast with cava is at dessert time. Here at the D.O. Cava we recommend an appetizer with a distinctive twist: an apppetizer specially designed to be paired with a Cava Gran Reserva (aged for over 30 months). There are so many ways to enjoy Cava, without needing to wait until the dessert arrives at the end of the meal.

We’ve created this appetizer keeping the molecular study of the aromatic harmonies of Cava by François Chartier firmly in mind. So, here we have for you: a hummus, a cheeseboard, a charcuterie board, olives (stone in), vegetable crisps, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, and also some crispy snack breads. We’ll explain how to make the hummus and set up the cheese and charcuterie boards, plus giving you some suggestions on how to present it all at the table.

Ingredients

For the hummus:
400g Cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
Paprika (Spanish Pimentón de La Vera if possible)
Sesame seeds
3 carrots
For the cheeseboard:
Blue cheese
Cheddar
Goat’s cheese
Walnuts
Dried figs
For the charcuterie board:
Iberian pork (Lomo ibérico)
Iberian ham
Turkey sausage
Regañás (rather like crisp flat breads, typical in Seville)
Wholemeal breadsticks
Picos camperos (crunchy mini breadsticks)
Green grapes
Red grapes
And don’t forget to add:
Olives (stone in)
Vegetable crisps

Instructions

1
How to make the hummus: Put the chickpeas (be sure to drain them well first), peeled garlic cloves, tahini paste, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt and three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl.
2
Mix well, and whizz in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
3
Pour into the bowl you’re planning to serve it in.
4
Sprinkle with paprika (hot or sweet, whichever you prefer) , sesame seeds and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
5
Peel the carrots and cut into batons. Arrange either around the bowl, or on a separate plate.
6
And that’s the first part of your appetizer done.
7
Cheeseboard: Serve the cheeses on a serving platter or round wooden board.
8
Put a handful of walnuts and figs (cut into quarters to make things easy for your guests) in the centre.
9
Cut the different cheeses - blue cheese, cheddar, and goat’s cheese - into individual portions, and arrange around the walnuts and figs.
10
Check that it’s all looking good, and that’s another one done.
11
Charcuterie board: Serve your charcuterie meats and crispy breads either on a serving platter or rectangular wooden board.
12
Place the wholemeal breadsticks on one side.
13
Next to these, add the slices of Iberian ham. Arrange them folded in on themselves in the form of little rolls so that they’re easy to pick up.
14
Put the green and white grapes next to the Iberian ham. Be sure to separate them into small, single serving clusters first.
15
Take your thin slices of lomo ibérico and place them next to the grapes.
16
Add a line of picos camperos next to the lomo ibérico.
17
And then the turkey sausage next to the picos camperos.
18
Finish the platter by adding a line of regañás next to the turkey sausage.

This way of arranging things plays with the colours of the different elements and combines the charcuterie meats with the crispy breads and grapes. You can always choose a different arrangement of course, just make sure that the ingredients are clearly separated and can be easily identified.

And don’t forget the finishing touches

1) Put the olives in a bowl and set aside.

2) Put the vegetable crisps in another bowl and set these aside too.

Once you’ve prepared the hummus with the carrot crudités, the cheeseboard, the charcuterie board, and the bowls of olives and vegetable crisps, everything is ready for the table. At this point, just before sitting down to eat, be sure to serve your guests a glass of Cava Gran Reserva (aged for over 30 months). With the aperitivo on the table and the cava in the glasses, you’re ready to embark on a culinary experience to delight the palate. As you can see, cava is also an excellent way to begin your festive meals this year, there’s no need to wait until dessert. In fact another innovative suggestion from the Consejo Regulador del Cava is to continue with cava throughout the meal.

Tips

If you prefer, you can always serve the aperitivo on individual plates rather than in the centre of the table. This will avoid the need for everybody to take their food from the same platter, which may be a good idea given the current pandemic situation, and the need to introduce safety measures at the individual level wherever possible.

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