What’s new at the OK Corral? (That’s Casa SaltShaker in case you weren’t sure.) We are, by the way, still cooking without gas, going on four months now. The trio of double hot plates that I borrowed from friends have been kept busy!
New take on our rocoto chili based ceviche. Fresh sole cured in a slightly creamy textured leche de tigre made from pureeing rocoto chilies, olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, ginger, garlic, celery, salt, and black pepper and giving it just a dab of xanthan gum to emulsify it. Mixed with chopped cilantro and the fish and left to cure for about 30 minutes. Served over a chiffonade of red oak leaf lettuce and garnished with guacamole puree, toasted poppyseeds, fried corn, and a drizzle of a reduced mirin and soy sauce glaze.
Handcut pappardelle made partially from grano arso, or burnt wheat, there’s a whole post on that here. In this case I didn’t want a pronounced burnt flavor so I didn’t toast the semolina as dark, and I mixed it 1:1:1 with untoasted semolina and low gluten flour, and egg yolks, so it just gets a sort of toasty note in the background. It’s tossed with olive oil, and then a saute of finely chopped shallots, peas, and hazelnuts, and at the last minute I throw in a handful of fresh mint leaves and aji limos.
In the north of Peru, about halfway between where Henry’s from in Trujillo, and Chiclayo, which we’ve visited, there’s a region called Chepén, a little inland from the coast. There’s a traditional duck dish there made with oranges and chilies and a touch of anise, called Pato al Chepén. These days, duck seems to have disappeared from the marketplace around here – my regular suppliers don’t have it, Chinatown only had a few frozen bits, so I decided to use it as an inspiration for a chicken dish.
Rehydrated some aji pancas and then pureed them with garlic, red onion, salt, pepper, and cumin in a little oil, and then cooked that mixture for about 20 minutes over low heat. Then I added skinless chicken thighs (reserving the chicken skin) to the mixture and topped it up with chicken stock and a couple of sprigs of fresh oregano. Cooked it slowly over low heat for about an hour and a half until the chicken was tender and near to falling off the bone. At the one hour mark I added in the juice of a couple of oranges (reserve the peel), and a good splash of anise liqueur. Set the chicken aside to keep hot, skimmed off as much of the chicken fat as I could that was floating atop, and then strained the cooking liquid and emulsified it with a little xanthan gum (I do like the way that I can control how thick the emulsification gets with that – much more control than you get adding in flour or cornstarch or something of that nature).
A pool of the sauce, some red quinua seasoned simply with salt and pepper and a little butter, fresh broad beans, diced orange segments, pitted black olives, the orange peel (remove white pith, cut in thin threads, and cook down in a mix of vinegar, sugar, and salt to both sort of candy and pickle it), and, the chicken skin (lay out on a baking sheet, dust with salt and togaroshi spice mix and then crisped up under the broiler. Our Pollo a la moda Chepén or at least an inspiration from the style.
And, we can’t finish off a post like this without a new dessert, can we? Cookie crust. Coconut milk custard (heat 3 cups of coconut milk to a simmer, temper into a a mixture of 8 egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, 6 Tb cornstarch, whisk well, return to the heat, cook until thick, flavor with 2 tsp vanilla and 4 tsp coconut liqueur) poured over the crust, left to cool, sliced fresh mangos and arranged the slices relatively decoratively around the top, chilled the whole thing, and then to serve scattered toasted coconut and grated lime zest over the top.
And that’s another round of new plates that have tickled the palates of our guests over the last few weeks!