Several people have complained that I no longer do full write-ups of our Casa S dinners, having opted for a scattering of more detailed, individual recipes of dishes that have been particularly successful. On the other hand, when I was doing full write-ups, roughly the same number of people (possibly the same people, now that I think about it) complained that it was boring to read through descriptions of each week’s dinners, particularly since a couple of years ago we stopped doing the, more or less, never repeat a dish routine. We actually never had a never repeat a dish routine, but there was definitely less repetition prior to settling on what has become our style of cooking with its Andean and Mediterranean combo-bent.
So, I’m not going to go back to a weekly write-up, but an occasional, shorter one, particularly where I don’t feel like I’ve honed down any one particular recipe to what will turn out to be its more final version, may be in order. Mostly, I’m going to stick with the plate-by-plate recipe approach, which is also helping codify the long awaited Casa S cookbook, which is now pretty much written other than filling in some of the recipes.
I realize that this is not nearly as pretty as the animated version of a confit bayaldi as was passed off as ratatouille in the film of the same name, but it’s my version. Alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini and tomato roasted in a covered tray over a bed of chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic; a polenta and romano cheese crisp on the side; several tablespoons of a spicy dressing of brown sugar, peperoncino, anchovy, pink peppercorn and smoked mustard, and a toasted crumble of panko crumbs and serrano ham.
A completely new dish, inspired by one of the nigiri sushi that I tried at Osaka Puerto Madero last month. Here, jibia (Humboldt squid) tentacles pachamanca (braised in beer, beef stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, cilantro, oregano, huacatay, garlic) for about an hour and a half until tender. Served over a corn puree, with a saute of yuca, sweet potato, peas, and corn “planks”; drizzled with a reduction of of the braising liquid finished with a little butter, and scattered with cilantro leaves and thin rounds of ají limo chilies.
Quickly sauteed rubio (more properly rascacio rubio), a type of rockfish that we only get for a short period each year (tried the dish out with a type of shark one night, cazón, but wasn’t happy with the texture of the fish in the final plating). Served over a mushroom stock “ajillo“, or garlic sauce, and a bed of roasted mushrooms. Accompanied by a little puff pastry filled with spicy mushroom filling, roasted kale chips, and thin slices of red onion and rocoto chilies.
And, finished off the menu with a kumquat, cashew and brazil nut caramel tart; white chocolate and Hesperidina mousse; orange infused sugar syrup.
That should be enough to keep you for a short while, no?
Oh, and just an additional note – because we only reduced enough of the pachamanca braising liquid to create a thickened sauce for the squid dish, we had a couple of liters of it leftover, and Sunday afternoon “dinner” was a pachamanca de pollo for ourselves and visitors – a whole chicken, cut up, braised in half the liquid, onions, corn and sweet potatoes in the other half, and a little “salad” topping of cilantro, red onion, and serrano chilies tossed with vinegar and salt to top the whole thing.