A blog about Spanish food--how to cook it, how to eat it, here or there. The focus will be on simple, easy and mostly healthy dishes, with lots of options for vegetarians, vegans, and folks (like me) on low-cholesterol diets.
Put them together and you have a fantastic sandwich. The lomo curado is so flavorful that nothing else is necessary. In fact it would be a shame to detract from the lomo with unnecessary additions. The point of this sandwich is to showcase the taste of lomo curado. There's really nothing quite like it.
While shopping for lomo curado you will see lomo curado ibérico, made from the loin of a special Spanish heirloom hog, and less expensive lomo curado serrano, the more ordinary sort. My father-in-law Andrés always thought that regular serrano pork was just fine for sandwiches and indeed most tapas, while pricey ibérico pork is best reserved for special occasions. I agree. Both types are outstanding, just different.
Cut some thick slices of manchego, tuck it into the bread, and that's it. You have a bocadillo de queso manchego.
It's as simple as that.
You don't need to add mayo, or ham, or lettuce and tomato. The manchego is flavorful enough, and rich enough, to stand on its own. The point of this sandwich is to enjoy as completely as possible this fantastic cheese.
In Spain we do sometimes see sandwiches with manchego combined with other ingredients, such as this mini-bocadillo of manchego and smoked fish we had in a neighborhood bar.
I admit, they're pretty good. Maybe if I lived in Spain and could eat manchego and jamón serrano and out-of-this-world smoked fish whenever I wanted I would mix things up more often, just for a change of pace.
But as things are, when I get a chance to enjoy manchego, I really want to taste manchego, so usually I go for the simplest--and most traditional--form of the sandwich, un bocadillo de queso manchego--hold everything but the manchego.
A word about Spanish hams. When shopping you will probably see the special (and expensive)jamón ibérico--ham made from an heirloom Spanish pig called pata negra, "black hoof." You will also come across the even more expensive jamón ibérico de bellota--ham from a pata negra raised free-range on wild acorns. The latter is the ham that frequently makes international news because of its high prices. These luxury hams are best reserved for special occasions, served on their own, as an elegant tapa or appetizer. Ordinary jamón serranois quite good and perfect for sandwiches or indeed most tapas. I don't consider jamón serranoinferior to these other, far more expensive hams (nor did Andrés, my father-in-law). They are just different styles of cured ham. Each has its own merits.
Bocadillos are simple sandwiches made with Spanish baguette, barra de pan. A bocadillo may be filled with slices of Spanish ham (jamón serrano) or Manchego cheese or fried calamares or many other things. Unlike American subs or hoagies, which often have literally dozens of ingredients piled on, the fillings of a bocadillo are simple, rarely combined, and then only with care. You wouldn't want to muddle the flavor of jamón serrano with a lot of unnecessary toppings. The simple combination of good bread and ham is perfect as it is. Bocadillos are minimalist for good reason.