April Cooking Hacks with Marti Buckley

April Cooking Hacks with Marti Buckley

Cookbook author, chef, and San Sebastián resident Marti Buckley shares tips on cooking from a Spanish kitchen from her upcoming book, The Book of Pintxos. Hint: bigger is not always better!

by Marti Buckley | @martibuckley

When it comes to garlic... use and infuse!

A lot of traditional dishes here start with browning garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. I always keep this oil, and sometimes even make some just to have around. I love the oomph that a bit of garlic-infused olive oil lends any dish. The taste isn’t overpowering at all, it just adds a little extra something.

Grating is GREAT

I never thought about the grater as a best friend for garnishes until I lived in Spain. Hard-boiled egg grated into a snowy pile is a favorite garnish for any type of mayonnaise-y pintxo, and it’s so pretty in a fun, retro way. The grater is fab for carrots, citrus, cooked vegetables…you name it, I encourage you to try it.

Pintxo-size is the perfect size.

Testing recipes for this cookbook, I threw a lot of dinner parties. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to serving full-size entrees! Eating in miniature is so fun, and you can even reverse-engineer your favorite dishes into a pintxo size. Getting creative with small plates is the best!

Don’t throw away the tin!

An old trick that people use here in Spain is to use some of the oil from tinned seafood and vegetables in dressing. They will take the oil from, say, cured tuna belly and mix it with olive oil and a bit of vinegar for a delicious, savory dressing.

Squirt bottles are your best friend.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but in the pintxo kitchen everything goes into a squirt bottle—parsley oil, balsamic reduction, mayo, caramel sauce...it just makes dressing and storing so easy! I like to stock up on miniature bottles that take up less space for the smaller quantities of dressings and sauces and syrups I have at home or save used bottles (like Graza’s Sizzle Oil) to repurpose.

Toast the bread base.

When it comes to making pintxos, or really any canapé that is going to sit out for a while, it helps with longevity to lightly toast the bread slices. That way they will stay strong as a base for whatever you stack them with, no matter how moist.