Thank you, Spain, for one of the best flavor combinations on earth: chorizo, Manchego cheese, and olives. Any combination of the three yields an irresistible tapa (Spanish snack), and this recipe is no exception. Turing the chorizo into a savory meringue is a nod to the textural transformations that Spanish chef Ferran Adrià pioneered, and which are now a hallmark of modernist cooking. Plus, it’s crunchy!
Makes: about 50 pieces
Total kitchen time: 2 hours (20 minutes working time)
- 1 dry-cured chorizo (available in the deli sections of finer grocery stores)
- 6 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 lb Manchego cheese
- 50 Spanish olives
- Preheat your oven to 300°F and set the top rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and dust with flour (adding a little cooking spray to the parchment helps the flour stick).
- Cut off about 4” of the chorizo and slice thinly. Use the remaining chorizo for a snack while you’re cooking – you deserve it. Blend the sliced chorizo in a small food processor until it is broken apart. This should yield about 1/2 cup.
- Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of your stand mixer, with the whisk attachment installed (you can use a hand mixer, but mixing times may vary). Beat the egg whites on medium-high for about 2 minutes, or until they hold soft peaks.
- Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. With the mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly drizzle in the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Continue mixing until the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks. Finally, mix on high speed for 45 seconds until the egg whites are stiff.
- Carefully fold the ground chorizo into the egg white mixture. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet until it is about 1/2” thick (this will occupy nearly the whole baking sheet).
- Bake at 300°F for 90 minutes, or until the top is light brown and firmly spongy to the touch. Remove the meringue and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool 10 minutes.
- Slice the meringue into 1 1/2” squares and top with a thin slice of Manchego and an olive.
I was hoping to find a way to make the meringue using my whip cream charger instead of the stand mixer. I did come close by rendering the oil from the chorizo and adding it to egg whites and cream of tartar. It foamed on its way through the charger, but without the sugar, the foam just wasn’t strong enough to hold up in the oven. Oh well, that’s the fun of experimenting!