Green Chimichurri Sauce

This sauce  is ubiquitous in South America, where it is a significant player in the art of churrasco: meat, most often beef, that is grilled over charcoal or a wood fire. Parsley is the traditional base, but cooks vary the herbs and spices. I flavor my green chimichurri heavily with robust, earthy oregano, which is what the gauchos use, according to famous Argentinean churrasco chef Francis Mallman. Chile is not typically added in Argentina, he says, but this seems to be a very purist approach in practice. Pass the sauce at the table or use it as a marinade.

Moreover … It is amusing to note that chile peppers do not grow well in the country of Chile. The climate is too chilly (pardon the pun) for them.

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Romesco Sauce

 

This classic Catalan sauce is often thickened with fried bread; here, I have used almonds, which are also traditional and make the recipe gluten-free.  Romesco sauce is a wonderful finish for grilled fish and seafood (especially shrimp), poultry and meat (especially pork) and even vegetables. It is actually a slight variation on a sauce served in the province of Tarragona in Catalonia, where it stars in an annual celebration along with a local onion known as the calcot.

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Ajvar

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Ajar is a  delicious Balkan red pepper and eggplant spread. It’s really simple to make, too.  Vine Vukicevic, my Pilates coach, introduced me to ajvar.  She is from Bosnia and tells me that no house in the former Yugoslavia is ever without this tasty spread.  She always looked forward to arriving home after school and enjoying it as a snack, spread on bread and sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese. Once I learned to make ajar, it quickly became a popular appetizer at my house – I spread goat cheese over toast triangles or crackers and top them with a good dollop of this instant, positively ambrosial treat. 

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Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Cachupa)

Cape Verde is a collection of islands off the west coast of Africa, and cachupa is their national dish. There are many different versions, but most are based on some kind of pork or perhaps freshly caught fish, although vegetables may be substituted. Since Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony, this rendition contains chorizo. Because sausage is relatively pricy, the result is probably deserving of the description cachupa rica, which means it was prepared when the family was feeling prosperous.

 

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Original San Antonio Chili

If you are looking for the ground beef chili your mother made for Friday night dinner, this isn’t it. If instead you want to taste what amounts to a fabulous, highly spiced beef stew, then I highly recommend this chili. Leftovers reheat well.

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Catalonian Grilled Vegetable Salad

Catalonian Grilled Vegetable Salad
This salad is a specialty of Catalonia where it is known as escalivada, which means "to cook in ashes". That's why, for the most authentic smoky flavor, I recommend roasting the vegetables on a barbecue.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  2. 1 eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs/750 g), sliced
  3. 2 red bell peppers
  4. 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick rounds
  5. 4 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick rounds
  6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
  8. 1 red finger chile, cut in paper-thin slices
  9. Dressing
  10. 1 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  11. 1 tsp (5 mL) red wine vinegar
  12. 1 tsp (5 mL) ground dried nora pepper or sweet paprika
  13. 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  14. 1 clove garlic, pureed
  15. 1/4 cup(60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. 1. Brush olive oil over eggplant, bell peppers, red onion and tomatoes. Place on preheated barbecue and cook, turning occasionally, until nicely charred. When bell peppers are done, place in a bowl and cover with a plate. Set aside to sweat. When cool, life off the skins, seed and cut into strips, reserving accumulated juices. When the onion is cool, cut the rounds into quarters.
  2. 2. Dressing: In a small bowl, combine vinegar, nora pepper and salt, stirring until salt is dissolved. Add garlic and reserved juices from roasted peppers. Whisk in oil.
  3. 3. Arrange vegetables on a platter.Drizzle dressing over top.
  4. 4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and finger chile. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. The vegetables will be done at different times; watch closely and remove them as completed and set aside to cool.
  2. Nora is a type of pepper that is associated with Catalonia. It has a rich, sweet flavor. If you can't find, sweet paprika (preferably Spanish) works just fine.
  3. If you want to add a bit of smoky heat to this salad, add 1/8 tsp (0.05 mL) hot smoked paprika to the dressing.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/

Parsnip Soup Shooters

How’s this for cold-weather hospitality? If you are entertaining on a chilly night, start the evening with a welcoming shooter of hot soup. I serve this parsnip soup in espresso or demi-tasse coffee cups before a glass of wine. It makes about 16 shooters.

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