A pretty simple and tasty dish served in small “cazuelas” in almost every tapas bar in Spain. I like to add a touch of salsa verde on top of it. Not traditional but downright delicious.
A quick Spanish recipe that presents beautifully. If I am pressed for time I use good quality roasted red peppers in a jar rather than roasting them myself. The result is quite similar. Monkfish flesh is covered with a gray membrane that needs to be removed as it shrinks when cooked and looks unpleasant in contrast to the whiteness of the fish.
Polpo alla Luciana is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare this exotic seafood. A traditional recipe from Borgo di Santa Lucia, a picturesque district next to Naples’ port. Buying pre-cooked or frozen octopus really helps as it cuts down the preparation time considerably to about 45 minutes. Even in the US pre-cooked octopus is now more readily available in some supermarkets, like Costco.
A can of sardines is often a cupboard staple that can be easily forgotten. You can turn it into a spicy creamy spread in 10 minutes. A fork and a bowl are all you need as kitchen utensils. A food processor is not required unless you prefer it really smooth. I personally prefer it with a bit of texture. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are excellent to “mascarade” the fishy taste of the sardines and to give the pâté an appealing orange/red color.
Stir-fried eggplant and tofu is a delicious meatless dinner loaded with lots of flavors and quickly put together. Tofu’s crispiness is an important step when assembling this dish. It should not be overlooked, even if you are in a hurry. Start by pressing tofu down first, according to instructions. Every bit helps and splattering of oil will be greatly reduced when stir-frying. Serve with Jasmin rice.
Serving a lentil dish on January 1 is a tradition followed in many countries. The theory behind this custom is that you start New Year with a humble dish. Those of us, who have summer temperatures in January, surely don’t crave lentil soup to “warm us up “. A lentil salad is a definite answer in this situation. Elegant enough to be served at a New Years’ party and surprisingly delicious. Sockeye salmon with its vibrant color is a perfect match. The creamy honey mustard sauce livens up the contrast.
Crispy baked tofu and spicy peanut sauce is a rather fortuitous combination. Tofu straight out of the package doesn’t have much taste, but it’s ideal to absorb flavors like the rich and spicy sauce in this recipe. I use Sambal Oelek, the famous Indonesian spicy sauce so popular in Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. This dish rewards you with amazing flavors and instant gratification.
The “Noire de Caromb”, the dark Caromb fig is a very sweet, juicy fig that is firm when it is ripe. It”s much sought after in France during the summer. The first crop, in July, is a larger fig that is long and dark red outside and red inside. The second crop, in September, is more round and dark purple outside and red inside.
This classic of the Spanish and Portuguese cuisine is still a culinary curiosity in the US. Long hours of low and slow cooking or hitting it on a stone until tender are things of the past. A good brand of precooked octopus offers the same quality as a fresh one with the added bonus of less time in the kitchen.
In Peru, Bolivia and Chile “chupe” means stew, a word from the Quechua language. Chupe de Camarones is a specialty from Arequipa. The key ingredient is Aji Amarillo paste (aji=pepper, amarillo=yellow) available nowadays in most US supermarkets, your Latino food store or online. It balances its medium heat, which you’ll feel in the middle section of your palate, with a bit of fruity flavor, a very agreeable sensation.