On my recent visit to Seville I had a day to myself as my wife had gone on a trip to Granada and I couldn’t face the 6 hours of travelling, no matter how beautiful the sights of Granada are! So I decided to enrol at the Taller Andaluz de Cocina – Cooking School (Taller Andaluz de Cocina – Cooking School is one of the few cooking schools in the world located within a traditional food market, where you can find the best fresh and seasonal products) to learn how to cook some authentic Spanish dishes namely Salmorejo soup, Spinach with Chickpeas and authentic Valencian Paella (no Jamie Oliver rubbish here!).
The neighborhood of Triana is one of the most vibrant and spectacular of the whole city, where it is easy to find the essence of everything inherent in Seville and that characterizes its inhabitants. It is a neighborhood of baroque spirit in which sailors, potters, bullfighters and flamenco artists have lived for generations.
Today, the market looks to regain the splendor of another era with the opening of new lines of business that complement the traditional stalls of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, olives and pickles, etc. So nowadays within the market you would be able to find everything from a theater to a craft beer factory, and numerous places where you can enjoy tapas, pinchos, live music, freshly cooked seafood, pies, etc.
Our group for the day consisted of three Americans, four Australians with myself flying the flag for GB. We started the course around 10.30am with a tour of Triana market (led by the wonderfully knowledgeable and informative Maria) to learn about the history of the market and view the stunning displays of fruit, veg and meats, particularly Iberico hams……….what a pity this type of market has virtually disappeared in the UK.
On our return we worked in pairs preparing the Salmorejo cold soup, which was then put in the fridge to chill, and then proceeded to construct the Spinach and Chickpeas dish, very simple but looked delicious in the pan. It was at this juncture two very large Jugs of Sangria were placed on the table to ensure our cooking performance was not affected by dehydration, obligingly we followed instructions to “keep drinking”.
Finally under the strict tutelage of our chef Domenico we learned how to put together a Paella. It was stressed that this was the AUTHENTIc paella that originated in Valencia and contained the following ingredients:-
Ingredients (6 people): 450 g (15 oz) round grain rice (approx 70 g/ 2.5 oz per person), the legs and wings of one chicken, 4-5 green beans, 2 artichokes (if in season), 200 g (7 oz) tomato puree/chopped tomatoes, 6 garlic cloves, chicken stock, saffron, sweet smoked paprika, salt and olive oil. Optionally, rabbit meat can be added.
You will note that there is no sea food or chorizo, apparently Jamie Oliver is “persona non grata” in Spain for putting chorizo in a paella in one of his latest recipe books.
One important lesson I learned was that once you have put the rice into the dish (as the last ingredient) you do not stir it but leave it to cook for eighteen minutes, after which you should be able to lift the pan and hold it vertically and the paella will not drop out of the pan!!! The chef demonstrated this and we were all suitably impressed. It then came to light that our chef was born in Bari in Italy……….and we all smiled.
The day ended when we sat down to eat the food we had prepared accompanied by some very nice red wine. Although not a great soup fan, the Salmorejo cold soup was simply stunning………..we rounded off with a Lemon Sorbet with Cava in a very tall glass, absolutely gorgeous.
It is fair to say that the school is more of a demonstration of the dishes with limited input from participants, but if you want to learn about authentic recipes, enjoy good company in lovely surroundings then give it a go.
My thanks for such an enjoyable day go to my fellow participants and Maria, Alberto and Domenico from the school who were a delight to work with.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018