With centuries of tuna fishing comes real expertise in the preparation, cooking and preservation of the fish. Local specialists such as Herpac (Herpac.com) in Barbate, the tuna capital of the Costa de la Luz in southern Andalucia, sell the most fabulous tuna treats. Preserved in oil or pork fat, they’re sometimes smoked or canned, or in the case of mojama, salted and air-dried.
Mojama is an intensely savoury, salty and delicious way to appreciate tuna – perfect when nibbled alongside a chilled glass of fino or amontillado Sherry or even just a beer. Or you could make it the star ingredient, in this stylish starter from my friend Owen Morgan of wonderful Spanish restaurant group Bar 44.
Mojama, Leek Vinaigrette, Samphire & Toasted Almonds
Serves 4-6 for tapas
- 150g mojama
- 2 medium-sized leeks
- 30g roasted Spanish marcona almonds
- A handful of samphire
- Jamón (or for domestic purposes vegetable) stock
For the vinaigrette:
- 150ml mild olive oil
- 50ml sherry vinegar
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Preheat oven to 180C. Make sure leeks are thoroughly cleaned then place in a pan/large pot, just covered with stock. Bake in the oven or simmer on stove for 10-15 minutes or until the tip of a knife can pierce the leek easily. When ready, leave to cool in stock.
- Vinaigrette – shake ingredients together in a sealed jar.
- Remove cooled leeks from stock and slice on an angle into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Steep in the vinaigrette for 5 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
- Slice your mojama as thinly as you can across the grain with a very sharp knife. It has a strong flavour and goes a long way!
- Crush your almonds with a thick bladed knife. Wash your samphire, keep raw.
- Plate your leeks first, then your mojama, spreading evenly. Scatter your almonds and samphire, finally dressing with a little of the leftover vinaigrette.
Then enjoy with a beautiful glass of aged fino or dry amontillado. Salud!
This recipe comes from Owen Morgan – Director of the Bar 44 Tapas y Copas Group. Bar44.co.uk.
Looking to learn more about the culture of tuna on the Costa de la Luz? Read my reflections on the Almadraba.