Pretend you’re kicking back in a Barcelona bar with a simple but boldly flavoured dish that can be easily tweaked to suit your needs

Mushrooms al ajillo.






Mushrooms al ajillo.
Photograph: Cultura RM Exclusive/BRETT STEVENS/Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive

This is a very traditional tapas dish, simple to make and very tasty. It is also vegetarian, for those looking to cut down on meat or cater for those who are, but is still punchy enough for most carnivores. At the same time, it works brilliantly as a side to a simple grilled fish or meat dish, or a just a big salad.

I make this kind of meal often after a long day cooking in the Barrafina kitchens. There’s a lot of tasting in my job, with a complexity of flavours going on all day, so it’s relaxing to have something simple.

This recipe is all store-cupboard ingredients or those you could easily nip to the corner shop for. Because it’s quite boldly flavoured, it’s very good with a cold beer or wine, and puts me in mind of being in a bar back in Barcelona, where I’m from.

If this becomes a staple dish for you, there are a few twists you can add to keep things exciting. Sometimes I add prawns or scallops to the mushroom mix. Or you could add cream to the mushrooms and stir through pasta instead of serving on bread. Or serve the mushrooms on top of a nice steak. Experiment by adding different herbs – thyme is good, as is rosemary or bay leaf. I like to go for woodier, drier herbs in the colder months and fresher, lighter ones in summer.

Angel Zapata Martin is executive chef of Barrafina

(Serves 4)

80g extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
320g baby button mushrooms
85g fino sherry
1tsp chopped parsley
4 slices bread (ideally coca bread)

Method

In a frying pan, drop a small amount of the olive oil and fry the garlic a little until it starts to brown. Add the mushrooms, then add the fino and continue to cook until the alcohol is evaporated. Add the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

Toast the bread and serve the mushrooms on top.

Angel Zapata Martin is executive chef of Barrafina



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