A series to pay homage to the biggest cycling event in Spain: La Vuelta a España. You can join this tour without a bike, but not with an empty stomach. For more Spanish recipes on this series, follow this link.
Manchego cheese has to be the most well-known variety of Spanish cheese around the world. Protected by a Denomination of Origin, and made with the milk of a special breed of sheep from La Mancha area, it has a sharp, distinct flavour that stands on its own, but also goes beautifully with nuts, salads and membrillo.
Arab-named La Mancha – Al-Mansha, “the land without water” – is an extension of arid, endless plains in central Spain – an unlikely place for heroes, no matter how quixotic. Luckily, it is not all hardships and fights with mills that turn giants here: La Mancha is also a land of simple culinary pleasures that stem from ancient pastoral traditions. As we Spaniards put it: all griefs with bread are less – “las penas con pan son menos”. And if you pair that bread with a plate of Manchego cheese and a glass of red wine, you have found the perfect remedy to leave behind the afflictions of the day. Oscar Freire, take note!
The extreme summer heat and unforgiving winter frosts of La Mancha have made their people thrifty, and they have a trick to keep enjoying this cheese when it starts going a little stale: try it it frito – that is, deep fried with a batter of eggs and bread crumbs – and you’ll have a simple, yet scrumptious, tapa.
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Like a smooth, flat ride in La Mancha’s plains
To avoid flat tires: careful with the timing! If you fry the cheese for too long it will break the batter and start to melt.
- Manchego cheese, cut in 1 cm thick triangular slices
- 1 egg, beaten
- A mix of bread crumbs, almond flour and basil
- Olive oil
- Cover the botton of a frying pan with olive oil – generously! – and heat
- Dip the manchego slices in the egg, then in the bread crumbs mix
- Fry in oil until golden, about 3-4 minutes each