Montaditos are a Spanish institution. Eaten as a mid-morning snack, washed down with a ice-cold cerveza at lunch, or used to awaken the senses after an afternoon siesta, there is barely an hour of the day that passes without someone, somewhere in Spain, munching down on one of these cute little toasted sandwiches.
There are a multitude of possible fillings, but the large majority of montaditos take no more than 10-15 minutes to put together, making them a perfect snack or quick lunch. If you are fed up with your standard rotation of sandwiches, inject a bit of Spanish flair with one of these recipes.
Each recipe yields four small rolls. The bread available at your local bakery or supermarket will obviously dictate the exact size that you end up with, but the ones I used were around 5 inches by 2.5 inches. Feel free to use brown or gluten-free options.
Cut each roll in half lengthways and toast the insides in whatever manner is most convenient in your kitchen. Once toasted, create a sandwich as instructed below and serve with a handful of plain crisps and/or a side salad, and a chilled beer or drink of your choosing.
Filling One: Prawn and Garlic Alioli
2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and finely sliced
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise (low fat is fine)
3 Tablespoons Greek yoghurt (low fat is fine)
20 medium-sized peeled raw prawns (shrimps)
Olive oil (to pan fry)
Half and then thinly slice each clove of peeled garlic and place the slices in a small mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise and Greek yoghurt and mix, using the back of a teaspoon to squash the garlic into the mixture at regular intervals. Taste and make any necessary adjustments before putting to one side.
Add a dash of olive oil to a frying pan and cook the prawns for 3-5 minutes, turning once, until they turn pink and are cooked through.
Place the bread roll halves on an even surface and spoon a tablespoon or so of the alioli mixture onto each of them. Place five of the cooked prawns on each of the bottoms and then put the tops on to form four sandwiches.
Filling Two: Smoked Trout, Fresh Cheese, and Anchovies
4.5oz fresh cheese (queso fresco or queso blanco – usually available in Latin supermarkets)
3.5oz smoked trout (smoked salmon could also be used)
8 canned anchovies (Cantabrian, if possible)
Slice the cheese into four pieces, or any multiple of four if the shape of it makes it difficult to produce four evenly-sized slices. Separate the smoked trout into four even pieces.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the top and bottom halves of each toasted roll and spread with a knife. To layer the sandwich, place the cheese on the bottom, the smoked trout on top of it, and finish with two anchovies. Put the tops on to create four sandwiches.
Filling Three: Chorizo and Blue Cheese
5oz chorizo (spicy or regular)
3.5oz blue cheese (preferably Queso de Cabrales, but any strong, crumbly blue cheese will do)
Slice the chorizo into 12 slices, each of around 0.4 inch thickness. Cut the blue cheese into equally-sized pieces in whichever multiple of four is easiest to achieve.
Cook the chorizo slices in a frying pan over a medium heat until they have begun to crisp up. Once the insides of the rolls are toasted, place the blue cheese on the four bottoms and put under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese has softened.
Place three slices on chorizo on top of the softened cheese and put the tops on to make four delicious sandwiches.
All photos are courtesy of the author.