On a recent food trip to Galicia, a friend and I ate at O Celme do Caracol. It is a restaurant in Santiago de Compostella, Spain, that caters primarily to the locals. The owner, German Gonzalez Pose, went to school with my friend.
In a city where a friend of my friend is my friend as well, I was quickly included in the intimacy that old school chums share. In their company, I was amazed how different the city looked from the inside; when one sees it as a native rather than a tourist. There we were, a few guys talking over plates of food, sharing wine, lies, and laughter.
German is truly a generous man. Aside from feeding us, he graciously shared a handful of family recipes. Of course he demurred at first, then smiled, saying “it is a secret family recipe, but I will tell you.”
Then he’d carefully translate Spanish terms and techniques into English for me. By the end of the evening he gave me permission to publish them- for the first time.
Here’s German’s family recipe for the Galician sauce, really an oil, that can be used on many dishes:
First, he said “Take olive oil, garlic, hot and sweet paprika, and simmer it with a whole onion. Then remove the onion.”
When pressed, he elaborated:
One gallon of olive oil, 5 heads of garlic cut in half, and one whole onion – skins and all. Add 100 grams sweet paprika and 10 grams hot. (The paprika amounts can be adjusted depending on the spiciness you enjoy, but should not exceed 110 grams total.) Simmer “a long time” (40 minutes) then cool with the onion and garlic left in until room temperature. DO NOT STIR. (He confided that most people ruin the sauce either by stirring it, or not letting it cool thoroughly.)
After it’s cooled, Gently remove the garlic and onion, pour off the oil and reserve, being careful to leave behind the paprika, which will have settled to the bottom.
Discard the paprika. (It will make the oil bitter if stirred-in.)
The sauce/oil will keep at room temperature; store it in a squeeze bottle and apply liberally to just about any dish you want. (It would also be great as a dipping oil with a good crusty – think Galician – bread.)
O Celme do Caracol
Rúa da Raiña 22
Santiago de Compostela
+34 981 571 746