Yesterday was my first time going to the cooking class this year, and oh boy – it was even better than I had remembered!
Our chef, Lluis, was eager to teach us how to cook these traditional catalan dishes, so we introduced ourselves and got started right away. We chopped, sliced, blanched, peeled, stirred, grated, and mixed every item in sight! I have to say that my cooking skills are not exceptional so I was a bit nervous at first, but Lluis helped us each step of the way.
Our first starter was a tomato soup, similar to gazpacho. Topped with grated cheese, hazelnuts, and other seasonings it was a very refreshing start to the meal!
We also made the typical “tortilla de patatas” and “pan con tomate.” As we passed around the plates Lluis explained to us one important piece of etiquette; “You take the piece that you like the most, but make sure to leave the best piece for the last person.” Fair enough!
The most labor intensive dish was, of course, the paella. We lined up our ingredients and added them one by one, to the biggest paella pan you’ll ever see. Chicken, green beans, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, rice, and onions galore! As we mixed each ingredient in, Lluis reminded us that “it’s like a painting, think of it as a work of art.”
And when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore – the dessert! We prepared Crema Catalana, which is a custard type dessert with a hint of cinnamon and a layer of caramelized sugar on top. My favorite! The best part was using the blow torch to caramelize the sugar. As I always say, Spaniards really like to play with fire – this even holds true in the kitchen!