José Pizarro cookbook: 3 recipes from Spanish Home Kitchen

for me, this is the best sandwich in the world, and – top tip – it’s the most incredible food for a hangover,” says José Pizarro. “People seem surprised to hear that some of the best and freshest seafood in Spain be found in Madrid.”

The chef worked in the capital of Spain in his early twenties. “I had a great time exploring the nightlife and parties and then discovering places to get something to eat – this was the best way to discover incredible street food.”

It was the El Mercado de San Miguel where he discovered the best bocadillo de calamari. This recipe is an ode to it.

Fried calamari sandwich

Total time: 25 minutes


Serves: 2

Ingredients(For 2 people, takes 25 minutes)

For the aioli:

1 free-range yolk

1 garlic clove, finely pressed

Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice to taste

1 tsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Pinch of sea salt

150 ml olive oil

For the calamari:

1L vegetable oil or light olive oil, for frying

120 g flour

1 tsp Vera bell pepper

500g small squid, cleaned, tentacles removed and body cut into rings

1 crusty baguette, cut into 4 pieces and each halved

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Start by making the aioli. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, lemon zest and vinegar. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt. Slowly drizzle the olive oil, whisking constantly, until you have a thick, luscious aioli. Add lemon juice to taste and set aside.

2. To cook the calamari, pour the oil into a large saucepan (you want it half full). Heat to 190°C, or until a cube of bread is browned in 20 seconds. While the oil is heating, combine the flour and pimentón in a large bowl and season with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the squid and stir until well coated with the seasoned flour.

3. Fry the squid in batches for about three minutes or until golden brown and crispy, remove from oil and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt as soon as you remove it from the oil and move on to the next batch. Lightly toast the baguette slices and layer the sandwiches together by dividing the aioli over four of the slices, then add the fried calamari. Top each with the remaining baguette slices and enjoy.

Cherry Engazpacho

Many people are surprised to learn gazpacho can be made with such a variety of things

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Many people are surprised to learn that gazpacho can be made with so many different things

(Emma Lee/PA)

“Many customers and friends are surprised to learn that gazpacho can be made with so many different things,” says Pizarro, meaning it’s not just a classic tomato.

Gazpacho is essentially a cold soup that can be smooth or textured, thin or thick. “Here I make it with cherries because I grew up with some of the best cherries in the world. It is a remarkably high-quality product from Jerte, just north of my home village in Spain.”

Total time: 20 minutes plus 2 hours marinating


For the gazpacho:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 slice of stale white sourdough

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

500 g ripe red cherries, pitted

½ cucumber, peeled and diced

300 ml tomato juice

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp to emulsify

For the toppings:

2 tbsp olive oil,

1 thick slice of stale white sourdough, cut into small cubes

1 sprig thyme, leaves picked

½ small red onion, very finely chopped

50 g goat cheese, crumbled

¼ cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. For the soup, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the bread until golden brown on both sides.

2. Place the baked bread in a bowl with the rest of the gazpacho ingredients (except the two tablespoons of oil) and let it sit for a few hours.

3. For the topping, heat a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and thyme and cook until you have golden croutons. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and season to taste.

4. Puree the soup very well with an immersion blender and push it through a coarse sieve into a pitcher. Whisk in the two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Pour into four bowls and garnish with all the toppings, along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Tip: You can roast the peppers if you want to give the soup a milder taste.

Moorish meatballs with spinach, pine nuts and spiced saffron yogurt

Meatballs are Pizarro’s favourite thing to cook

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Meatballs are Pizarro’s favorite thing to cook

(Emma Lee/PA)

“Meatballs are one of my favorite things to cook. They’re a great way to play with different flavors,” says Pizarro.

“This recipe is very quick and very different from all the meatball dishes I’ve made before. Perfect for a weeknight supper or tapas evening.”

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4


2 tbsp olive oil

1 banana shallot, finely chopped

300 g minced beef

300 g minced pork

2 thick cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp hot smoked Vera paprika

1 tsp sweet smoked Vera paprika

1 tsp ground cumin handful of chopped coriander, plus extra for garnish

30 g pine nuts, toasted

250 g baby spinach

30 g raisins

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread, to serve with it

For the yogurt:

300 g Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, grated

1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves

A pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tsp boiling water

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas 4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet (skillet) over low heat and gently fry shallot for 10 minutes until soft. Set aside and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine both ground meats with the garlic, chilled shallot, herbs and chopped coriander. Season well and form 16 walnut-sized balls.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until golden brown, then pop them in the oven for five minutes to finish cooking. Transfer to a warm plate and cover loosely with kitchen foil.

4. Meanwhile, make the spiced saffron yogurt. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic and mint and season well, then stir in the saffron and soaking water.

5. Place the skillet you used for the meatballs on high heat and add the spinach and raisins, along with a small splash of water. Stir together and let the spinach wilt and mix with the cooking liquid from the meatballs. Add the pine nuts, return the meatballs and any remaining juices to the pan and stir to combine.

6. Divide the yogurt among four plates and garnish with the meatballs and spinach. Serve with crusty bread.

‘The Spanish Home Kitchen: Simple, Seasonal Recipes And Memories From My Home’ by José Pizarro (published by Hardie Grant, £27; photography by Emma Lee), out now.