With Henry still away, and a mountain of things to catch up on, I’ve limited the number of dinners over the last two weeks since returning. I’ve been spending a lot of time experimenting with recipes, some of which will be showing up over the next few weeks, some of which already have. Given the limited number of dinners I kept part of the menu the same both weeks, playing around with just a couple of the new dishes in rotation.
Our ever popular palmito tart with manchego cheese and chipotle chili. Instead of the usual swath of arugula or radichetta leaves, I thought that pea shoots would make a better garnish, both visually and flavor-wise. They worked.
A new soup on the roster – roasted cauliflower. Into the oven with a head of cauliflower, cut into wedges, a large white onion, and half a dozen garlic cloves. All splashed with some olive oil and roasted until soft and starting to caramelize. Then pureed with freshly made vegetable stock and just a little fresh rosemary. Garnished with sesame oil, garlic chives, and a crumble of spicy longaniza sausage and panko crumbs.
In the last post, our online cooking “competition”, I mentioned a couple of sauces – a savory lemon curd and a three paprika yogurt. I really liked both, and particularly in combination. So, one week, I brought back the milk braised matambrito (pork flank). I cooked it in advance, cooled it, shredded it, and filled canneloni with it and a dollop of the yogurt. Then baked them to order and topped with the lemon curd, a mixed herb (rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley) salsa verde, deep fried cherry tomatoes coated in panko crumbs and togarashi, baked green olives filled with roasted garlic puree, and a scattering of radichetta.
The second week I basically repeated the hueveras fritas from the competition. A few changes – I wanted to lighten it up a little, so instead of the pommes anna I went for a brown butter and balsamic daikon puree, and left off the bacon crumble, just scattering some quickly fried basil leaves. It was good, but I should have left it as is, because with the potato and the bacon, it rocked, plus, maybe too many purees in this meal…. To be repeated, but more as a main course instead of a mid-course.
The first week, brought back a chicken classic, poulet au vinagre, a favorite Lyonnaise dish from the 60s – creamed swiss chard, daikon fondant, and a scattering of toasted quinua. The second week, brought back a fish dish from a couple of months ago – spice rubbed sea bass over a spicy artichoke puree. Instead of frying the cherry tomatoes this time I roasted them in olive oil with sea salt. Somehow, the blanched brussels sprout leaves didn’t make it to the plate – but they made a lovely salad for me the next day. I did add in a salsa verde of parsley and oregano, and a little cured red onion salad. It was a hit, even without the brussels sprouts.
Another new dish I’ve been playing with. Your mother always told you to finish your vegetables if you wanted dessert – but how would she handle a dessert made from vegetables? I’m calling this “Peas & Carrots” – it’s a baked sweet pea pudding, a roasted carrot cheesecake, whipped cream, candied orange peel, walnut crumble, and a fresh mint fluid gel. One person between the two weeks found it a little “dietetic” and not sweet enough – but he was pushing for dulce de leche – nothing else is that sweet! I loved it, and it seemed like everyone else did too.
Off to Uruguay for a gastronomy and wine festival, news to come.