Here are the perfect snacks to have with Abby’s gorgeous cocktails: pintxos!
Pinxtos (pronounced ‘pinchohs’) are the Basque version of tapas. They are very popular in the Basque country(and beyond!). San Sebastian, just across the Spanish border, is renowned for its pinxtos bars but there are lots of popular pinxtos bars in the French Basque country too, especially on the coast, in my mother’s family’s stamping ground of Biarritz, Bayonne, Anglet, St Jean de Luz and so on. And people make them at home for parties, family gatherings etc. They are pretty hearty and a plate of assorted ones can constitute a real meal! Pinxtos differ from tapas in that they are always served on bread( very often slices of baguette), with a toothpick holding down the topping(actually ‘pintxo ‘ literally means ‘spiked’). The toppings will often feature Basque staples such as tomatoes, ham, eggs, capsicums, fish, seafood, cheese, etc, but can be as simple or complicated as you like, and there’s no one right way to do it: it’s totally up to you what you do! Just the bread and the toothpick are the basics:-) Piment d’Espelette of course can add that authentic touch!
With most, brushing the bread with a bit of olive oil first is a good idea.
Here’s some ideas for simple Basque-inspired toppings to get you started:
Roasted capiscum with marinated squid/octopus;
Semi-dried tomatoes with soft goat’s cheese and a dab of cherry jam on top (the combination of cheese and cherries is very popular in the Basque country)
Black olive tapenade with Serrano-style ham or salami
Green olive tapenade with half a boiled egg and a sprinkle of piment d’Espelette or paprika
Grilled or barbecued prawns on cooked spinach
Marinated sardines or anchovies with caramelised onion
Mix of roasted vegs(eg capsicum, tomato, eggplant–or your choice) with roasted garlic