Catalonia - José Pizarro

The Catalonia region, in northeastern Spain, is known for the lively beach resorts of Costa Brava, the energy of Barcelona, and the Pyrenees Mountains. The cuisine of this region is often classified as "Catalan mountain" or western Mediterranean and boasts some of the best chefs (Ferran Adrià) and cooks in the world 

In Catalonia: Recipes from Barcelona and Beyond, José Pizarro traveled from Barcelona to the ruins in Girona and secluded beaches in Costa Brava in order to gather inspiration and teach us how us how to create the best loved dishes of his beloved Spain. 

Originally from Cáceres, José, has lived in London for nearly two decades. Having worked at some of London's most prestigious Spanish restaurants, he is often described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking. In 2011, José struck out on his own and opened his first solo venture, José Tapas Bar on Bermondsey Street, and has since gone on to open two additional restaurants in the Capital: Pizarro and José Pizarro. 

Pizarro has authored three prior cookbooks, BasqueJosé Pizarro's Spanish Flavours, and Seasonal Spanish Food all of which are highly acclaimed. Here in his fourth book, Catalonia, he brings together a variety of old and modern recipes in hopes that we will become as inspired as he is by the people, places and cuisine of this stunning region. 

The experience of eating in the little bars of Barcelona is one the author hopes to bring to our kitchens with small plates like the Bermondsey bomb we are sharing with you today (which I made a few months ago and we all loved). Recipes such as Meatballs with cuttlefish or Rigatoni with prawns and mussels can set the mood for a Hazelnut and plum cakes or a Brazo de gitano (a fruity cake roll) dessert. All these lovely dishes are nestled in between gorgeous photographs of the landscape and people of Catalonia. The book also includes menus and drinks suggestions to help you plan, shop, cook and, most importantly, enjoy this wonderful way of eating and socializing.

Until we can travel to Spain, we can dream while paging through this beautiful book or we can re-live our vacation travels with this book. Books such as this bring about an incredible urge in me to wander this world. Special thanks to Hardie Grant for supplying a recipe for our members and for providing three copies of Catalonia in our contest below.

Update 4/22: Our will give you a look inside this beautiful book.


Bermondsey bomb
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La bomba de la Barceloneta is one of the most popular tapas in Barcelona. It's a big fried ball made with mashed potato and normally stuffed with spicy carrots or meat.

I'm not sure if it's true, but La Cova Fumada is renowned as the birthplace of this dish. It is definitely worth a visit - it's a lovely old-fashioned bar serving great food. Enjoy a vermut with your bomba - they cook a stunning local version with prawns and octopus, it's very tasty.

La Barceloneta was badly destroyed during the civil war, as was the area in London where I have two of my restaurants, Bermondsey. We've used a little bit of irony here, and called this dish the 'Bermondsey Bomb' as it appears on my menu.

Makes 6

  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) desiree potatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 good pinches of chilli flakes
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin tomatoes
  • 160 g (5 1/2 oz) minced (ground) pork
  • 75 g (2 1/2 oz /scant 2/3 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz / 1 cup) dry breadcrumbs
  • olive oil for deep-frying
  • 1 quantity alioli to serve

for the alioli

  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 75 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 75 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • lemon juice to taste

To make the alioli, whisk the egg yolks with the vinegar and some seasoning. Gradually whisk in the vegetable then olive oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the time until you have a thick, glossy mayonnaise. Whisk in the garlic and lemon juice to taste. If too thick, whisk in 25-30 ml (1 fl oz) of water. Set aside.

Put the potatoes in a large pan with cold salted water and bring to the boil. When cooked through, drain and let cool. Peel and mash the potatoes. Season to taste and set aside. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan and add half of the onions. Cook over a medium heat until they start to caramelise (about 20-30 minutes), then add the garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes. Cook for another minute and then add the meat. Cook for 10 minutes and season to taste. Set aside.

To make the spicy tomato sauce, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan and cook the rest of the onions over a medium heat until soft. Add a pinch of chilli flakes and the tomatoes and cook until reduced, with almost no juices left. Season to taste.

Make a ball of around 100 g (3 1/2 oz) mash. Use your thumb to press a hole into the centre. Fill the cavity with the meat mixture and cover with more mash to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining mash and meat mixture.

Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. One by one, roll the balls first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.

In a deep pan heat enough oil to cover 2-3 'bombs' to 180ºC (350ºF) or until a cube of bread browns in 20 seconds. Fry the bombs until golden - use a thermometer to make sure they are hot inside. Spoon some alioli in the centre of a plate and place a bomb on top and spoon over the spicy tomato sauce. Serve hot.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Catalonia by José Pizarro, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2017, RRP $40.00 hardcover.

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US, UK, NZ and AU. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on May 19th, 2018.


  • Jennybec  on  4/10/2018 at 4:45 PM

    So many of the recipes sound wonderful but I think whole roasted cauliflower with anchovy sauce would be my very first pick!

  • Mrs. L  on  4/10/2018 at 5:04 PM

    That recipe sounds amazing (like it better than something that was full of carrots).

  • GregH  on  4/10/2018 at 5:11 PM

    Chicken stew with langoustines

  • heyjude  on  4/10/2018 at 6:01 PM

    Pollo with Chocolate

  • Nhcookingdiva  on  4/10/2018 at 6:20 PM

    Love the food of Barcelona! Shrimp and octopus, a dream come true!

  • cora429  on  4/10/2018 at 6:33 PM

    Pan-fried pork belly with courgettes, fennel & preserved lemon salad

  • Scotsman61  on  4/10/2018 at 9:14 PM

    Bermondsey Bomb, I like Bermondsey in London, so it fits

  • DarcyVaughn  on  4/10/2018 at 10:56 PM

    Warm duck, pumpkin & Pardina lentil salad

  • Foodycat  on  4/11/2018 at 3:23 AM

    The panfried pork belly with courgettes, fennel and preserved lemon salad sounds lovely!

  • vickster  on  4/11/2018 at 7:28 AM

    Roast Artichokes with dipping sauces

  • dbielick  on  4/11/2018 at 9:04 AM

    Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with asparagus & samphire

  • sgump  on  4/11/2018 at 9:19 AM

    The rice with ceps & artichokes sounds rather straightforward--and really nice!

  • Wende  on  4/11/2018 at 10:24 AM

    The Crema Catalana!

  • jifar  on  4/11/2018 at 11:15 AM

    Whole roast cauliflower with anchovy sauce.

  • ravensfan  on  4/11/2018 at 12:25 PM

    Pollo with chocolate

  • kmn4  on  4/11/2018 at 12:45 PM

    Bacallà a la llauna, spinach & piquillo peppers

  • lean1  on  4/11/2018 at 1:31 PM

    Xato would be my first choice because its easy and I love salads.

  • SarahGelle  on  4/11/2018 at 4:07 PM

    The Bermondsey bomb looks amazing, we just got back to spain and can't wait to cook what we ate!

  • jmay42066  on  4/11/2018 at 5:28 PM

    Rigatoni with prawns & mussels

  • sarahawker  on  4/12/2018 at 7:10 AM

    Patatas bravas

  • kedmiston  on  4/12/2018 at 11:50 AM

    Chicken stew with langoustines

  • sugo  on  4/12/2018 at 7:22 PM

    Pollo with chocolate

  • lgroom  on  4/13/2018 at 4:18 PM

    Roasted cauliflower with anchovy sauce

  • Livia  on  4/14/2018 at 1:16 AM

    It has got to be the Cured red cabbage with fried goat's cheese & caramelised apples :)

  • shellee  on  4/15/2018 at 9:05 AM


  • rachael_mc  on  4/15/2018 at 6:16 PM

    Rabbit rice

  • LaurenE  on  4/15/2018 at 6:27 PM

    Roasted cauliflower with anchovy sauce

  • thecharlah  on  4/15/2018 at 8:26 PM

    Mussels in escabeche (Mejillones en escabeche)

  • Carolyn99  on  4/16/2018 at 10:30 AM

    Strawberries with vermouth vinegar

  • RNJessicaK  on  4/17/2018 at 1:23 AM

    The Cured Red Cabbage w/ Friend Goat Cheese & Caramelized Apples sounds amazing!!

  • robynsanyal  on  4/18/2018 at 1:33 PM

    Roast Artichokes with dipping sauces

  • Karla123  on  4/18/2018 at 7:00 PM

    Catalan simple yet so delicious.

  • lapsapchung  on  4/19/2018 at 5:01 AM

    Black pudding & apple croquetas for two reasons - I'm just back from a trip to Spain where I fell in love with croquetas and also I really love morcilla but have never managed to cook successfully with it, it always disintegrates into a grey sludge, so I'd like to pick up some tips

  • allegoricus  on  4/19/2018 at 5:17 AM

    Pan-fried pork belly with courgettes, fennel & preserved lemon salad

  • mjes  on  4/19/2018 at 5:48 PM

    I'm into soup and sandwich at the moment Sardines on toast with suquet

  • nesshawk  on  4/19/2018 at 6:47 PM

    Civet of Venison with Ceps! We have a deep freeze full of elk and venison so always looking for new ideas!

  • PrairieGal  on  4/20/2018 at 1:15 PM

    Pollo with chocolate, Baby!

  • tamt  on  4/20/2018 at 8:22 PM

    Roast monkfish tail with lemon thyme salsa

  • t.t  on  4/20/2018 at 8:35 PM


  • RSW  on  4/21/2018 at 5:08 PM

    Black pudding & apple croquetas

  • Yarnia  on  4/21/2018 at 11:54 PM


  • EmilyR  on  4/24/2018 at 1:16 AM

    Aubergine stuffed with samfaina

  • essptee  on  4/26/2018 at 3:37 AM

    whole roasted cauliflower with anchovy sauce!

  • PeavineBlues  on  4/26/2018 at 7:52 AM

    Pa amb tomàquet

  • patioweather  on  4/26/2018 at 9:37 AM

    Whole roasted cauliflower

  • jd5761  on  4/26/2018 at 9:20 PM

    Pollo with chocolate for me

  • Julia  on  4/26/2018 at 9:42 PM

    Patatas bravas

  • fbrunetti  on  4/27/2018 at 11:15 AM

    Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce

  • Clove  on  4/27/2018 at 8:52 PM

    Quince cooked with vermouth

  • sequoia55  on  4/28/2018 at 1:06 AM

    Whole roast cauliflower with anchovy sauce

  • Dannausc  on  4/28/2018 at 5:40 AM

    Rabbit rice

  • chimpbob  on  4/28/2018 at 8:56 AM

    Rigatoni with prawns and mussels

  • gypsymagic  on  4/28/2018 at 2:27 PM

    Fricandó of beef with pied bleu mushrooms & black olives

  • PennyG  on  4/28/2018 at 3:58 PM

    Snails with garlic & parsley oil

  • Laura1  on  4/28/2018 at 5:29 PM

    Patatas bravas

  • MiMi60  on  4/28/2018 at 8:07 PM

    Pollo with chocolate

  • Werepanda  on  4/30/2018 at 3:48 AM

    Trotter sliders - always want more offal recipes

  • sfgirluk  on  4/30/2018 at 2:10 PM

    The ox cheeks for sure!

  • sywcindy  on  5/1/2018 at 3:04 AM

    Saffron and pine nut ice cream

  • Teruska  on  5/1/2018 at 5:12 PM

    The Pollo with chocolate brought back some fun memories of trying to interest my youngest sibling in cooking. We made roast chicken and I let her put 12 chocolate chips inside the cavity because her 7 year old self thought that would be delicious! (It was delicious roast chicken despite the chocolate chips.) Really though, I would make the Marinated Squid. Yum!

  • jillrowe  on  5/1/2018 at 10:57 PM

    Sautéed baby squid with broad beans & mint

  • AnnaZed  on  5/3/2018 at 4:18 PM

    Chicken stew with langoustines (page 36)

  • SallyCristina  on  5/3/2018 at 7:35 PM

    Pan-fried pork belly with courgettes, fennel & preserved lemon salad

  • Katiefayhutson  on  5/3/2018 at 11:04 PM

    Saffron and pine nut ice cream

  • Shelley.b  on  5/6/2018 at 8:55 PM

    Pollo with chocolate

  • Radley  on  5/7/2018 at 2:39 AM

    Vegetarian Coca

  • parnassus  on  5/7/2018 at 9:34 PM

    Monas de Pascua

  • rchesser  on  5/11/2018 at 8:25 PM

    Bizcocho with candied orange.

  • cake17uk  on  5/12/2018 at 2:42 AM

    Definitely Crema Catalana - such a reminder of holidays in Spain

  • catmommy9  on  5/13/2018 at 6:47 PM

    Rigatoni with prawns & mussels

  • Ishtar  on  5/15/2018 at 4:44 PM

    Quince cooked in vermouth

  • littleminxgirl  on  5/18/2018 at 12:16 AM

    The pan fried pork sounds pretty good

  • orchidlady01  on  5/18/2018 at 6:09 AM

    Wild mushroom tortilla

  • Curlyfatkins  on  5/19/2018 at 10:02 AM

    Mussels in escabeche (Mejillones en escabeche)

  • Siegal  on  5/19/2018 at 2:01 PM

    I want to make mussels in escabeche

  • Shelley.b  on  5/19/2018 at 6:38 PM

    Bermondsey bomb

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