Today, we went to the Mercado San Anton (Chueca) for lunch. It’s a very old market, but with the latest makeover, it’s an awesome, three-storied market+bar+restaurant. You’ll find your greengrocer, baker, butcher, fishmonger all under one roof, as well as other stalls selling local products and produce and fine choice of food from around the world. On the first floor is the traditional market. Move up to the second floor, and there are casual snack/tapas stalls not just from Spain, but all over Europe, and even Japan! Greek Tapas is so awesome! We had our lunch here, nibbling a bit of this and that. But you could also move up to the third floor for the restaurant “La Cocina de San Anton” and they will cook the meat and produce you bought from the market, however you want it. There is also a rooftop bar with amazing view of the chic Chueca area.
My favorite shop was the artisan bread store, “Viena La Baguette” which sells a whole range of fresh breads, baguettes and rolls. The tomato boule called out to me, I had to buy it. There I got my dinner inspiration, and also bought some vine ripened tomatoes from greengrocer, having decided to make a hearty tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich to go with it.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (makes 2 servings)
Tomatoes – 6
Garlic – 1/2 a head of garlic
Fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme and basil about a teaspoon each
Olive oil – about 2 tablespoons
Vegetable stock – 1 cup
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Cut tomatoes in half, and place them on a sheet pan, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper and roast in a 200C (400F) oven for an hour or so.
2. Cover the 1/2 head of garlic in foil and roast it along with the tomatoes.
3. Cool the tomatoes a bit, peel them (the peel comes off easily), and blend them along with the roasted garlic (also peeled), fresh rosemary and thyme. Don’t blend it into a smooth paste, chunky is good.
4. Mix the blended tomatoes with the stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
5. Serve topped with fresh basil.
It’s more a method than a recipe. Use good crusty bread, not sliced bread. Smear a bit of roasted garlic (smashed with a fork and it’s a fine paste) or mustard, and good grated cheese (I used cheddar and gouda, fontina would be nice too) between two slices. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, the s/w goes on the pan, and cover it with another pan, weighed down with a tin (or I used a small stone mortar :)). Wait for a minute, then flip it over and cook the other side. Cut in half and eat immediately, if not sooner.
1. Blend the soup smooth, and add 1/2 cup of cream or half and half for a cream of tomato soup.
2. Top off the soup with broiled homemade croutons and serve it with a nice salad instead of the grill cheese for an even healthier option.
3. Roast the entire garlic covered in tin foil. Squeeze the cloves out, and store the roasted garlic in the fridge for later use. Smear it on toasted bread for a quick garlic bread fix, it keeps for a week.