World Cup Cook-off: Spain vs Holland Final

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Stephanus Meyer with a serving of Salmorejo. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

ONE of the most successful World Cups in the event’s 80-year history is finally at an end – and South Africans are still rather chuffed with themselves over the country’s spectacular hosting of the soccer showpiece!

Sadly, also coming to an end this week is The Global Table’s World Cup Cook-off, a  four-month project which saw blogging couple Louise Liebenberg and Salvelio Meyer gather recipes representative of every one of the 32 nations that qualified for 2010.

And, as a tribute to Spain and the Netherlands, the last two countries to thrash it out for World Cup victory last weekend, we will be sharing a final recipe from each of these European soccer giants before continuing with the blog in its usual format.

As coincidence would have it Salvelio’s brother, Stephanus Meyer, lives in the Spanish city of Cordoba, while Louise’s sister, Kaylene Vrijburg, lives in Almere in the Netherlands.

Stephanus and Kaylene are both accomplished cooks – what better sources, therefore, for our last two recipes!

The Spaniards were ecstatic  following their historic 1-0 World Cup win over Holland, with joyous celebrations expected to last well into the weekend.

Stephanus’s dish, Salmorejo Cordobes, is a Cordoban speciality which reminds one of that famous Spanish cold tomato soup, gazpacho, but is much thicker. Having probably got its name from its salmon colour, it is typically topped with hard-boiled egg and Spanish serrano jamon, or cured ham, and finished off with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil. This dish can even be served as a tapa, in shot glasses, as part of a Spanish tapas menu.

Kaylene’s dish, Dutch Kroketten, are a snack staple in homes, cafes and bars across Holland, where the deep-fried, crumb-coated treats are often made with left-over beef, veal or chicken. Kroketten, or croquettes, originated in France where they were  a particular favourite of Louis XIV.  Today they are  popular in  many countries around the world, ironically also in Spain, where they are often made with jamon.

Scroll down for the recipe!

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Spanish Salmorejo Cordobes. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Salmorejo Cordobes from Spain: The Recipe

Salmorejo Cordobes is a simple and healthy speciality from Cordoba, in the south of Spain. Like its relative, gazpacho, it is prepared and served cold, making it ideal for hot Andalusian summers. It is, however, much thicker than gazpacho as a lot more bread is used. You need to have a blender to make it.

Ingredients

500g very ripe, very red tomatoes, peeled and chopped; 1 medium clove of garlic, chopped; 1 tbsp vinegar; 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; salt; 2 hard-boiled eggs and some chopped jamon (cured ham) to put on top; 1 smallish loaf of Spanish or French stick bread (the quantity is approximate); more bread for serving

Method

Remove the crusts from the bread and cut it into small pieces; place in a bowl with some water to it soak.

Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a blender; add the tomatoes, garlic and vinegar and blend until fine (don’t overdo the garlic). Add the oil and salt to taste, blending again and re-checking to see if more salt or oil are needed – you can be generous with the oil.

If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of water or an extra tomato; if too thin, add more soaked bread.

Let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

Dish up the salmorejo and serve it in terracotta bowls with some chopped egg and jamon and a light drizzle of olive oil on top.

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The Vrijburg family of Almere, from left Michael, Steven, Onno Jr, Kaylene and Onno Sr. Picture: Supplied

World Cup Cook-off: The Netherlands

Kaylene did a bit of research and discovered that kroketten originated in France, with the first official recipe for ‘croquets’ appearing in 1705 in ‘Le cuisinier royal et boureois’. They quickly achieved popularity among royalty and the social elite after being introduced to Holland by Johannes van Dam in around 1830.

The original kroketten were the size of an egg and did not contain bechamel sauce, but were coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried.

Holland’s Wilhelm I even supplied his version of kroketten for a recipe book published by Maria Haezebroeck in 1851. During the 19th Century kroketten became very popular amongst poorer people, as they offered a delicious way of using up leftover meat. At the beginning of the 20th Century they even got their very own course, being served between the soup and the main meal.

However, after the World War II they were downgraded to a snack, at which point many variations started appearing.

“The most popular are beef or veal kroketten, but you can also find goulashkroketten, garnaalkroketten (made with prawns or shrimps) and kaaskroketten along with a large variety of vegetarian kroketten, for example with asparagus,” says Kaylene. “In Amsterdam a favourite is satékroketten, which is based on an Indonesian peanut sauce with pork or chicken.”

Kroketten are extremely popular in cafés and pubs in Holland, but be warned … an organisation called “Wakker Dier” found a quarter of all kroketten contained horsemeat.

“I’d therefore advise tourists to stick to two well-known brands, either Van Dobben or Kwekkeboom kroketten.”

Van Dobben produced the world’s largest kroket in Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein in 2007. It measured 1,3 metres and weighed 250kg.

“If this is a bit too much to gobble up, you could always try and beat Jaap ter Naam’s record: he holds the world record for eating 68 kroketten in one hour,” Kaylene says.

“I would say, ‘Smakelijk eten’!”

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Dutch kroketten, bitterballen and other snacks. Picture: Supplied

Dutch Kroketten or Bitterballen: The Recipe

Kaylene says you can use the recipe below to make either kroketten – sausage-shaped croquettes – or bitterballen, which are round. Kroketten can be served on a slice of wholewheat bread or a breadroll (‘broodje kroket’) or with french fries (‘kroket met friet’) and a salad, she says.

Bitterballen can be served on a platter along with blocks of cheese and a Vietnamese chilli sauce. This is known as ‘bittergarnituur’. Both types should also be accompanied by mustard.  If a lighter kroket or bitterbal is preferable, use egg whites instead of the whole egg for the coating.

Ingredients

500g soup meat (beef or chicken); 1 litre water; salt and pepper; nutmeg; thyme; bayleaf

For the roux: 1 onion, finely chopped; 60g butter; 60g flour; 500ml stock (use the stock from the soup meat)

For the coating: Flour; 3 eggs, beaten; toasted breadcrumbs

Method

Boil the soup meat in water with the herbs and spices for 2 hours. Reserve the stock from the soup and either chop up the meat finely or use a handheld blender.

In a separate pot fry the onion in the butter until glossy. Add flour and stir into the onion mix. Gradually add 500ml of the stock, bit by bit, until you’ve obtained a nice thick sauce.

Stir in the soup meat and allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Once thoroughly chilled, roll into a sausage shape (about 10cm long with a diameter of 3cm) or into golf-ball sizes.

Use three deep bowls for the flour, egg and breadcrumbs. First dip the shapes into the flour, then cover thoroughly with the egg. Lastly roll in the breadcrumbs. Allow to chill in the fridge for an hour.

Once chilled, deep-fry the kroketten for 4 minutes and the bitterballen for 3 minutes.  Allow to drain on kitchen paper, then serve immediately.

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