Basque pintxos

A lot can be learned about a people by looking at their food.  What they produce, who they interact with, even their culture and traditions.  For example, so many things can be said about the Basque country by looking at one of their most iconic dishes: the pintxo.  Just like the language, pintxos vary in ingredients based on where you go in the Basque country, be it the salty coast, featuring a myriad of seafood and fish, or the fresh meat, produce, and freshwater fish of the Ebro valley.  The way pintxos are served speaks to a certain stereotype of the Basques, that they are all parranda-zaileak (party lovers): pintxos are served as a quick, light meal at sagardotegi or cider houses, usually paired with some kind of alcohol.  A common weekend activity is to go to several different bars, taking a few bites of food from each and enjoying a cider or a wine here and there.

Here is a recipe for salmon pintxos with egg and mayo, adapted from www.tapasbonitas.com

Ingredients

  • 5-6 ounces smoked salmon
  • 10 slices hardboiled egg
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, grated;
  • A bit of black pepper
  • Small dot of mayonnaise
  • 10 slices long bread, fresh and crispy
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional: lemon or lime juice

Makes 8-10 pintxos

“Put all ingredients and plates etc. in the fridge for an hour or so to cool down before you start;
Load a slice of bread with the salmon and slice of egg;
Use a teaspoon to put a dot of grated eggwhite over the slice of hardboiled egg;
If you like, a few droplets of lemon juice or lime juice over the salmon;
If you like, a dash of ground black pepper over the egg;
Next comes a nice little dot of mayonnaise for garnishing;
Stick a toothpick through all ingredients to keep things together, it’s part of the tradition, and it makes it a true Pincho!”
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