Chef English Renshaw, based at La Bodega’s Boulevard location (703 Southwest Boulevard), brought a plate of Montaditos del Carne de Cerdo ($9.50), one of the restaurant’s tapas caliente, to the table. This hot tapa builds layers of paprika-encrusted pork, roasted red peppers and Roncal cheese atop two slices of crusty bread, perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce.
“We used to prepare montaditos with slices of pork loin, but now serve it with shredded pork,” says Renshaw. Each bite of tender pork is the result of preparation that begins well in advance. “The pork is marinated in beer, orange juice and many other ingredients and slow-cooked for 10-12 hours.”
Part of La Bodega’s appeal is its use of authentic Spanish ingredients. The Roncal cheese in this tapa is made from rich sheep milk produced in Navarra, Spain, the province that was the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” Made in one of seven villages in the Valle de Roncal, the eponymous cheese has nutty and piquant flavors with a firm texture.
Montadito stems from the Spanish verb montar (to ride). This style of tapas involves a topping that “rides” or “mounts” small slices of bread. “It’s basically a type of open-face sandwich,” Renshaw says.
While a montadito can be prepared using many different combinations of ingredients, La Bodega’s version is a ride worth taking.
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) – pulled pork
4 slices – Roncal cheese. Or substitute Manchego.
2 slices – grilled bread such as baguettte
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) – tomato olive tapenade
1 tablespoon – roasted red bell pepper
½ tablespoon – olive oil
minced parsley for garnish
Drizzle two slices of baguette with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Next grill bread and set aside. Reheat the pulled pork in a warm saute pan. Then take two of the four slices of Roncal and place on top of the bread. Place half of the pork on each piece of bread. Top with the two remaining slices of Roncal. Place it in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted. Top with tomato olive tapenade, two roasted red bell pepper strips and a pinch of chopped parsley. Drizzle on a little olive oil before serving.