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      RECIPE TITLE "Enrique's Bread Bites (PIQUITOS de ENRIQUE DACOSTA) "
    Recipe excerpted from La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain, Copyright © 2005 by Penelope Casas

    yields makes about 15 bites time---difficultyeasy

    These small flatbreads serve the same purpose as bread sticks. They are crisp and flaky, and because of the olive oil (use your finest) and salty edge can easily be addictive. Based on centuries-old tortas de aceite, they are the specialty of young chef Enrique Dacosta, whose restaurant Poblet in Denia, Alicante, is the best regarded in the region. They are great with tapas.

    Instead of making bread dough for this recipe, I simplify by buying pizza dough from my local pizzeria, and the results are excellent.


    1/4 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
    Kosher or sea salt
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
    About 8 tablespoons flour


    Place the dough in a bowl and knead in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the flour and work with your hands to fully incorporate. Repeat three more times for the remaining oil and flour, adding 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons flour at a time. Turn out on a floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter into crescents or other shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden. Turn off the oven and leave in the oven for another 10 minutes to fully crisp.

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    La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain

    Long overshadowed by France and Italy, Spain has finally taken its rightful place as one of Europe's great culinary meccas. Consider the reborn cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao, the new respect afforded Spanish wines, the popularity of tapas bars in the United Sates, and Spain's widely influential Michelin three-star chefs, Ferran Adria and Juan Mari Arzak. Despite the worldwide acclaim for these chefs, arguably the greatest Spanish food is found not in the nation's restaurants but in private homes off-limits to tourists, where women still cook the recipes their mothers and grandmothers cooked before them. Now, Penelope Casas takes us into those homes to uncover the secrets of this simple, easily reproduced, and altogether marvelous cuisine.

    For La Cocina de Mama, Penelope Casas has collected recipes from great chefs and traditional home cooks in every region of Spain, all of whom have shared with her the dishes they grew up loving and still cook for themselves today. There are recipes for tapas like Clams in Garlic Sauce; elegant soups and hearty one-pot meals like Stewed Potatoes with Pork Ribs; many wonderful seafood dishes like Fish Steaks with Peas in Saffron Sauce; meat and poultry dishes such as Pork Tenderloin in Orange Sauce, Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Mushrooms and Scallions, and Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts; paella and other rice dishes-and even a few pasta dishes; unusual vegetable preparations including Sauteed Spinach with Quince and Toasted Sesame Seeds; and desserts like Basque Apple Custard Tart. Whether of Roman, Moorish, or peasant origin, all of the dishes appeal to today's tastes and exemplify the virtues of the Mediterranean diet-lots of olive oil, lean meats and fish, and vegetables. Sidebars throughout discuss ingredients, areas of Spain unfamiliar to most Americans, travel vignettes, and more. At last, Americans can discover the unique and irresistible flavors of authentic Spanish home cooking in La Cocina de Mama.


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