Not our last dinner forever, but for a couple of weeks, as I’m off to Costa Rica. For those who’ve missed the various announcements, I’m doing my first “pop-up” dinner, in Playa Jacó, Costa Rica, on Valentine’s Day. But, before heading out, a quick look at the new dishes of this last week – both were evolutions to past dishes….
A new version of our watermelon gazpacho. The base quite similar – a simple strained and chilled puree of watermelon, red bell pepper, red onion, red jalapeño, garlic, red wine vinegar (lots of red!), olive oil, salt and white pepper. But I wanted a prettier presentation, and this gets in a nice range of colors – there’s homemade lightly salted ricotta in the center. Surrounding that, rounds of plum tomatoes that have been drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano, and just briefly broiled to concentrate them. Slices of cucumber cured as “szechuan pickles“. Some drops of parsley oil and a basil leaf.
And, a variation on our lemon cake – beat together 4 eggs with 1 cup of sugar and the grated zest of two lemons until pale and relatively thick. Mix in 165 gm cake flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp baharat (spice blend). Whisk in 90 gm melted butter, 3 tbs milk, the juice of a lemon, and 160 ml good olive oil. Pour into a buttered and floured cake mold and top with 500 gm pitted sweet cherries. Bake at 180°C/350°F for roughly 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from mold and cool.
Top with Pineral gelato – 360ml each of cream and milk, 170 gm sugar, 2 eggs – whisk together and then cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until it’s glossy and just slightly thickens, to coat a spoon. Strain into a container to remove any coagulated egg, whisk in 120 ml Pineral and chill. When well chilled, churn in an ice cream maker.
And, decorated with a simple salted caramel sauce – follow the recipe here but with just the sugar, cream and butter, and then whisk in a teaspoon of fine sea salt. Let cool.
Next up, a last “Bite Marks” before heading out tomorrow night, and then two weeks of tales from Costa Rica.