With Spanish food becoming more and more popular, Omar Allibhoy – his mantra is ‘tapas not pasta’ – is a man on a mission. Taken from his new book, Tapas Revolution, these pork skewers with Moorish spices are a very popular tapa, although you could make them with any other meat. Mojo picón is a pepper sauce from the Canary Islands and is a fantastic accompaniment to meat, fish or potatoes. Picón means spicy, and you’ll see why… >>
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 5 minutes
For the pork skewers
500g pork fillet (you can also use chicken, beef or lamb, see note below)
1 teaspoon hot or sweet pimentón
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mojo picón:
1 slice white bread
4–5 tablespoons Spanish olive oil, plus extra for frying
2 garlic cloves
5 dried cayenne chillies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1. Trim the pork fillet of any excess fat and then cut into 2cm cubes. Place the meat in a large mixing bowl and add the pimentón, cumin, some black pepper, oregano, thyme and garlic. Mix well, drizzle over the olive oil and leave to marinate for at least an hour, but anything up to two days is fine.
2. Meanwhile, make the mojo picón. Start by frying the bread in a little olive oil, drain on kitchen paper and tear into pieces. Using a pestle and mortar, mash together the garlic, cayenne chillies, cumin seeds, pimentón, fried bread, vinegar and salt until you have a smooth paste. You could also use a food processor for this bit. Start adding the olive oil in a thin drizzle while you are still mixing.
3. When you are ready to cook the pinchos, thread the meat on to skewers (if you are using wooden skewers, it’s a good idea to soak them in water for 30 minutes to stop them burning). Pinchos morunos can be cooked over charcoal (the best way, in my opinion) under a hot grill or in a griddle pan over a very high heat. Cook for about two minutes on each side – you want them to be cooked through but still juicy on the inside. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with the mojo picón.
If you want to make these with chicken, use the thigh. If you are using beef, use the skirt or flank and if you want to make lamb skewers, use the leg.