World Cup Party: Viva Spain!

Rachel Tepper Paley

We’re watching the World Cup with an eye to food (of course). Here’s a kicking dish from a nation whose game is on today. 

Photo credit: Everyday Food. Illustration credit: Rachel Tepper

Rooting for Spain? Hopefully you’re not an anxious mess, desperately praying that things go more smoothly at today’s World Cup match against Chile than they did at Friday’s game versus the Netherlands (which was quite the walloping).

But if you are—no judgment!—calm your nerves with shrimp and mussels draped in an authentic Spanish sofrito, a hearty sauce of sautéed onions and fresh tomatoes. Because no one should cheer on an empty stomach.

In his 2005 cookbook “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America,” Spanish chef Jose Andrés wonders aloud what Mediterranean cuisine would be without sofrito,”the basis for a thousand dishes across the region.”

It would certainly be a loss for Spanish (and Spanish-American) culture, so give the sofrito recipe here—a super-savory mix of plum tomatoes, yellow onions and red bell peppers spiked with bright cilantro and pungent garlic cloves—a whirl.

Then spin it together with mussels and shrimp, plus a glug of dry white wine to bring the flavors together. Have a few slices of crusty bread on hand to sop up the extra juices. Trust us, you won’t want them to go to waste.

From Everyday Food
Makes 3 cups

2 pounds plum tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 medium yellow onions
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bunch cilantro, large stems trimmed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarsely chop tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Combine with garlic and cilantro. In batches, pulse mixture in a food processor until finely chopped. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced, 25 to 30 minutes (reduce heat if browning at edge). To store, let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container; refrigerate, up to 2 weeks, or freeze, up to 6 months.

Shrimp and Mussels with Sofrito
From Everyday Food
Serves 4

1/2 cup Sofrito
2 pounds mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Crusty bread (optional)

In a large pot over medium, stir together sofrito and mussels. Add wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp, cover, and cook until mussels open and shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 minutes, stirring once. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve with bread.

For more World Cupinspired recipes, hop over to Everyday Food.