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Green Olive and Manchego Puffs

Green Olive and Manchego Puffs
Spaniards have an affinity for sausages, and they make many different kinds. But the most popular type is undoubtedly chorizo, made from pork and heavily spiced with cumin, garlic and paprika. The last is what gives the sausage its deep red color. In this recipe, chorizo is combined with green olives in crisp deep-fried fritters. Manchego cheese, a hard, ivory to pale gold sheep's milk cheese from La Mancha, is available at most fine cheese shops.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup beer, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut or corn oil for deep-frying
  • 10 oz. chorizo sausages, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup grated manchego or Parmigiano-
      Reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup Spanish brine-cured green olives, pitted
      and chopped
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the red pepper flakes and stir to mix well. Make a well in the center. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a medium bowl. Beat the yolks with a fork just until blended and pour into the well in the flour. Add the beer, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Using a spoon, mix well, but do not overmix or the batter will get stringy. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

In a deep, heavy saucepan, pour in oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

While the oil is heating, place the chorizo in a fry pan over medium heat and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. At the same time, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites, chorizo, cheese, olives and parsley into the batter. Working in batches, drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot oil; do not crowd the pan. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer puffs to paper towels to drain. Keep warm.

Arrange the puffs on a warmed platter and serve immediately.
Makes about 30 puffs; serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Small Plates, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1998).