Fish and chips Media Ración style … feat. La Panesa

The bar of Media Ración is a special place: top class food, wine, service, comfort and condiments – it really has everything. Including fish and chips. Not on the menu, admittedly, but if you simply take the soldaditos de pavia (deep fried cod “soldiers”) and request some chips, Robert is your father’s brother as they say.

Best of all, and as previously reported on this blog, you can splash the resulting plate with a liberal quantity of really top class, tasty vinegar, sprinkle on some salt and wash it down with an absolutely superb fino: la Panesa.

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Callos and the pairing of callos

No sherry here, just a spot of scientific research into alternative possible pairings for callos at the bar of Media Racion with some white, red and bubbles.

The bubbles, a recommendation by David Outeiral, the new somm here, actually work pretty well: that sharpness and acidity really stands up well and cleans out the palate.

But for me you still can’t beat an oloroso – it not only stands up to the callos, it lifts them up. Fight fire with fire people!

Tio Pepe en Rama 2016 in the Taberna de Pedro

The Taberna de Pedro is a cracking spot to restock on vitamins: tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, peas, runner beans, green beans, borage, chard, peppers, mange tout, all of the above (menestra), pisto (con dos huevos) – the man is a genius with the green stuff (and if you are short of vitamin C the callos are outstanding).

All cracking sources of nutrition but notoriously tricky pairings, so a nice glass of fino like this one goes down a treat. Topical too – just this week I think they released the new edition of this classic fino.

I haven’t seen that new one yet but this will do. Yeasty, bready and nutty nose, juicy, bity bitter almond palate and a lingering finish.

Very enjoyable.

Manzanilla pasada and milk chocolate 

Top pairing this – the zingy manzanilla lifts the milk chocolate, which in turn really brings the nuts and fruit of the manzanilla pasada out. The result is creamy, nutty, fruity, and salty.

Lets be honest it is a good excuse to eat chocolate buttons – my daughters will understand (or never find out at least).

Michelangelo’s second law

Michelangelo was a genius in many ways, but I must admit I have struggled to come to terms with his second law: “no anchovies, dude” (it is to Michelangelo the mutant ninja turtle that I refer, not to be confused with Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, the sculptor, painter, architect, and poet).

He was referring, of course, to pizza (the first law being “never pay full price for late pizza”) and for years I have tried to find sense in this. I love anchovies, and I find it hard to believe that a sophisticated and fun loving reptilian oriental assassin such as Michelangelo did not. So what did he mean?

It may of course have been a reverse homage to the supreme pizza ingredient, pepperoni sausage, and an ackowledgment that adding any other source of protein when you might have pepperoni would be a grievous error, but why not say that directly? And why pick out anchovies? Why would Michelangelo’s laws stay silent on the numerous other deranged and inappropriate ingredients being used on pizzas, from onions (never, never) to frankfurter sausaes, merguez or kebab, or even leafy salads? Or was his opposition to the delicious anchovy founded on his concerns about the possible pairing issues for which anchovies are famous? Was it that he had been lead to believe that your only realistic pairing was a mediterranean white or rosé?

I suppose we will never know the answer, but my preferred interpretation is that what he meant was that we shouldn’t misuse anchovies by letting them roast in a sea of cheese, but that rather we should enjoy them as nature intended, preferably with a nice glass of chilled manzanilla, like this lovely Manzanilla Zuleta.

 

Oloroso el Galeon

A delightful wine and a delightful pairing. We were having a spot of lunch in la Chula de Chamberi and this magically appeared in the centre of the table ar more or less the same time as a bevy of grilled razorclams (navajas a la plancha). Or maybe I should say hoved into view, because this is Oloroso el Galeon.

It is a 100% palomino, 20 year old oloroso by Sanchez Ayala in Sanlucar (better known for their Gabriela and Gabriela Oro manzanilla, not to mention the special bottlings of their wines by Equipo Navazos and Sacristia AB) and it was indeed delightful. It is, as you can see thanks to my much improved photography, a beautiful red amber colour – just look at the brilliant reflections in the glass. On the nose it had a nice salty caramel effect – very appetising indeed – then on the palate it lived up to that billing and them some: tasty, light on its feet, salty but with an almost delicate acidity and lovely balance.

Really good stuff – and an excellent pairing with the salty, juicy razorclams.