Courtesy Cristina Ibañez, chef, San Sebastián Food
Cristina Ibañez was raised in a traditional Basque kitchen. When not cooking for San Sebastián’s aristocracy, Ibañez’s amona (grandmother) taught her the cornerstones of local cuisine, from assembling pintxos (small snacks generally served on toothpicks) to preserving their own bonito fish.
San Sebastián is considered Spain’s premier food city, and Ibañez’s classes at San Sebastián Food’s new cooking school in the five-star Hotel Maria Cristina are not to be missed. She might teach participants how to build a gilda (a pintxo made with a pickled Gernika pepper, a slice of anchovy and an olive) or make her award-winning marmitako (tuna soup).
With Ibañez, it’s not all Basque, all the time. She also makes a mean paella, big or small. And by big, we mean one capable of feeding more than 250 people. When not teaching Basque cuisine, you can find Ibañez styling film sets or digging into a plate of barnacle-like creatures called percebes, her favorite dish.
- 4 wooden skewers
- 1 pound monkfish, cut into cubes
- 12 shrimp, peeled and cleaned
- 4 slices bacon, cut into quarters
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- ½ dried red chili
- Fresh parsley, chopped
Place monkfish, shrimp and bacon on skewers, alternating each.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan. Heat to medium-high. Sauté skewers 2 minutes per side, until fish and shrimp are golden brown. Remove from pan. Add remaining oil to pan. Sauté garlic and dried chili until garlic turns golden.
Spoon garlic/chili-infused oil evenly over each skewer. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4.