Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Con Salsa [With Sauce]

I'm a fan of saucy food - be it a curry, a stew, bistec con salsa 'gravy'. Sadly, most Spanish eateries think that a fatty slice of unnamed animal with a few underdone chips and not even a smidgeon of sauce is an acceptable part of a meal. This always disappoints me. So I was very interested to read about Momo in Chueca on Notes From Madrid - most of their main dishes feature a sauce and you get a decent helping of spuds. I went to check it out yesterday lunchtime and was suitably impressed: they will definitely be getting a lot more of my custom in future.

But it's a shame that there is such a dearth of sauces in Spanish café food when one of the key ingredients, a good stock, is widely and cheaply available. In Dubai I used to make my own stock, boiling vegetables with beef bones or chicken carcasses until you finished up with a flavoursome liquid. But it took hours to do and was generally a pain in the backside. If I had no stock to hand, I would use cubes: Oxo were ok, Knorr were lethally salty. Quality liquid stock is available in big supermarkets in the UK, but it's prohibitively expensive. In Madrid, you can can buy a litre of caldo (chicken, beef, fish, vegetable) for about €1.60 at any supermercado and lots of alimentaciónes. And it's brilliant: not salty, but really tasty.

It's still raining.

1 comment:

Marina said...

I'm very glad that you liked our recommendation:-)

I've heard the same complain about the sauces from some of Ben's friends in the past.

Spanish food in general is very simple and all about the ingredients, no sauces but best quality meat or fish.

If you tell a Spaniard that you are going to serve a piece of meat with sauce, they probably think that the meat is not of the best quality and that you are trying to hide that fact. On the other hand if the meat is really good you don't need to add much to make it a succulent dish.

There are a few exceptions, which you might like, like the stews: "Ropa vieja" or "Ternera en salsa".