For casual entertaining, the tapas experience translates well to the small home kitchen. One delicious hot tapas classic easily made at home is called pinchos Moruños, or Moorish skewers, essentially small kebabs of pork marinated in Arabic (Moorish) spices and grilled, usually on a hot steel plancha. Because most Muslim Arabs wouldn’t eat pork, one presumes the original dish was lamb. It’s anyone’s guess how it evolved into this ubiquitous tapa selection in Christian Spain. Nevertheless, now it means pork seasoned with garlic, cumin, coriander, pimentón and sometimes oregano. Once skewered, they need only about 5 minutes on a hot griddle.
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot pimentón
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Finely grind in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.
Season the pork lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cumin, coriander, pimentón, and oregano. Mix the garlic paste with the olive oil and drizzle over the meat. Rub the seasonings in with your fingers.
Thread the seasoned pork onto twelve short bamboo skewers. The skewers can be refrigerated for up to several hours.
When ready to cook, heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Cook the skewers for about 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.
Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.
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