Tastes of the Camino with Yosmar Martinez

Originally published on October 15, 2016

Author:  Laurie Ferris, www.thecaminoprovides.com 

I recently had the opportunity to attend a hands-on cooking class with guest chef Yosmar Martinez, author of the new cookbook, Tastes of the Camino. Yosmar planned a delicious four-course meal based on recipes from Spain and her new cookbook.

• Pan con Tomate y Jamón Serrano (Toasted bread with Tomato and Serrano ham)
• Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)
• Paella Mixta (Chicken and Shellfish Paella)
• Tarta de Santiago (St. James Almond Cake)

Fourteen of us gathered at Back to the Table Cooking School and Production Kitchen in Lafayette, California, where we donned red aprons, rolled up our sleeves and worked for our supper.  Under Yosmar’s guidance, we chopped, peeled, diced, sliced, puréed, sautéed, whisked, folded, baked and sprinkled.

Yosmar gave us the essential instruction such as mise-en-place (putting everything in place), sauteing and slicing techniques and the importance of salt.  She also had menu-specific tips on making paella with saffron, sofrito, chicken and shellfish. Mussel debearding is a tough job but someone had to do it! It wasn’t me, for I kept myself busy with the food processor, an appliance I can handle. Then it was time to decorate the Tarta de Santiago we prepared at the beginning of class. Her recipe is amazingly simple, and it’s gluten free, so everyone can enjoy it!  And when it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, we celebrated the feast with wine at a big communal table, Camino style!

Yosmar and I chatted about our Caminos and I thanked her for sharing her passion for the Camino and good food with us. She said, “It’s easy when it’s from the heart.” Amen, Camiga! She signed my cookbook, which now has a special place in our kitchen. These will make a great holiday gift for anyone who has walked the Camino.

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