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sexta-feira, 14 de agosto de 2009

Daring Cooks' Challenge

As i said on previous post, last Sunday (august, 9) was Father's Day here in Brasil, so I decided it would be the perfect day to cook my first DC Challenge.
The August 2009 Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes. She chose a Spanish recipe, the Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes, by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment. He trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his three Michelin star restaurant El Bulli. José Andrés lives now in Washington DC and he owns several restaurants in Washington DC area (El Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel…). The recipe Olga brought us is from his US TV show Made in Spain
I will post below the original recipe from Olga. My comments are written in red.
Ingredients (serves 4):
· 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
· 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
· 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
· 1 glass of white wine
· 2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh). I used squid.
· “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
· 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person)
· Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
· Saffron Threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
· Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional

Directions:
1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. Cut artichokes in eights.
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.
I couldn't find good artichokes. They were too small, too ugly and too espensive. And so were the asparagus. I bought only one artichoke and completed with fresh heart of palm. They are very common and cheap here. They have a very good taste too.
I had some ground safron, but it didn't give much colour to the rice. I don't know what might have happened. I added a pinch of ground "urucun", a kind of seed used to colour fish dishes. It has no taste nor smell, just a redish beatiful colour. Here they are:











Sofregit
(a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at timesdifferent vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms). Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

Ingredients:
· 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
· 2 small onions, chopped
· 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
· 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
· 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
· 1 Bay leaf
· Salt
· Touch of ground cumin
· Touch of dried oregano

Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)












Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.
Ingredients:
· 4 garlic cloves, peeled
· Pinch of salt
· Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
· Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

Directions:
1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

José's tips for traditional recipe: It's hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don't give up. It's worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you're adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients:
· 1 small egg
· 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
· 1 garlic clove, peeled
· 1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
· Salt to taste

Directions:
1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
3. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
4. Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
5. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
6. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
7. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
8. Add salt to taste.

José's tips for modern recipe:(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don't throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

Olga’s Tips:(1) In Spain, rice is not stired as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.(7) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video(8) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.(10) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.

I made the traditional allioli and it was wonderful. Very good texture and added an umbelievable flavour to the whole thing.

This is the rice at the pan













This is the dish served. Look at my safron/urucun olive oil












My husband and kids loved it. Thanks Olga for this amazing chance to try something new.

5 comentários:

climbhighak disse...

Is there a version of sofrito in Brazilian cooking?

Lauren disse...

Congrats on your first challenge!! It looks amazing, and your plating is beautiful =D.

Maria Beatrix disse...

Thank you very much Lauren. I'm glad you enjoied.

climhighak, yes, you can say so. You see, Brasilian cooking is made of many influences: Indians and Europeans. The last one mostly due to Portuguese and Italian cooking. We use something very similar to sofrito, we call it "refogado". It is used to flavour pasta, fish, minced meat, stews in general ( meat, fish, poultry, lamb and so on)

Audax disse...

Just love how you used local and cheap ingredients (a sign of a great chef) to make the dish. I noticed in my store that they had tin of artichokes and palm hearts so your choice was superb. Love the pictures also especially the last one.

Maria Beatrix disse...

Thanks Audax. You are always so kind... And, yes, we often use palm heart instead of artichokes and asparagus as well. We can find it all over the year. Some times not so cheap, but still cheaper than the others.