Hello from Barcelona!
First: Let me tell you why I am in Barcelona. I am chaperoning a group of American high school students who are taking classes at a school in Barcelona. They range from 14-17 and are from all over the USA.Second: One of the classes being offered is a Spanish cooking class. Because the class is far away, a chaperone needs to accompany the students to the class. And guess who that chaperone is...you guessed it! Me!
In today's class, we made a Spanish tortilla and mushrooms al ajillo (in garlic). The mushrooms are what I want to focus on today...
The chef placed in front of each student a large bowl of mushrooms, a handful of parsley, 2-3 cloves of garlic and some olive oil. He also preheated the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
The chef had us cut the mushrooms in half (you don't want the pieces to be too small) and wash them. He then had us dice up the garlic and and parsley.
We placed the mushrooms in a small roasting pan and spread olive oil on the top (not too much, you don't want the mushrooms to swim in the oil). We mixed it all together in the pan and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes.
It was so good! The mushrooms were cooked enough that they were soft, but were not mushy at all. It was the perfect amount of oil and the garlic with the parsley was amazing. Cooking the mushrooms this way allows the flavors to mix well together, but not over power each other. Plus, the mushrooms don't have time to absorb the oil, so you are not consuming a large amount of it.
I spoke to the chef as to why he thinks Spanish people are so thin (they really are!). He said that they allow themselves to enjoy food, but not too much of it. That is why Spanish tapas are so popular. You can enjoy your food without feeling that you have overeaten. He also said that the Spanish walk a lot, so their weight stays constant naturally.
Truly, I think that I am enjoying the class more than the kids, and I am definitely learning more about being in the kitchen.