Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Taking your nibbles up a notch

We returned across the bridge to yum yum land to sample, before they close for Christmas, our friend Fabios new menu at LPA.New menu, new format, but some old die hard favourites still there.This menu is all about upping his game, and this is a class menu full of surprises.Having closed for the season I now have quality time for recreational cooking.I am currently in the enviable position of development chef.I have no guests to cook for but I have the time to experiment with what I may or may not be putting on plates when Casa Rosada opens again in the Spring.
I spend a lot of time here at Casa Rosada reinventing recipes. Instead of adhering to received wisdom,I try to push beyond that, seeking methods and techniques that get us to an even better version of the dish than most others have. Whether sneaking something secret into the meatballs, changing The Portuguese national dish from fish to vegetarian, or fish sauce to, well, just about everything.Its great fun thinking outside the  traditional pot. This is the time when ideas I have been keeping in my back head and references remembered can now come to the fore and be tried and tested.The Christmas season is a great time to put this into practice.Its the season of entertaining and as a host or hostess you want to set tongues a wagging.Making an extra effort will get you better results.The thespian is good at this and constantly reminds me that " you can do better than that"
Bearing this in mind you want your traditional pigs in blankets to be the pork of the town and so one of my first refreshments is to reinvent a tapas item and transform it into a petisco.The particular item a pincho (tapas designed to be eaten with a cocktail stick ) "Honey and sherry coated chouriço" I think has now lost its edge and using the same ingredients I am going to present it as a pate spread on Tostinhas

Pãté chouriço de porco preto Alentejana com pérolas esmeraldas

250g chouriço Alentejo without skin
125ml white wine
125ml water
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tablespoons dry sherry
150g butter 
Cooked frozen peas for garnish
Chop or crumble the skinned sausage into small chunks. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chouriço softens, the first 4 ingredients in a pan small enough that the liquid covers the sausage.Drain the liquid from the pan and discard.Let cool slightly then put in the blender with the butter and 2 tablespoons of sherry.Blitz until smooth consistency is reached.Serve warm on small toasts or crostini.

THE SECRET: Go easy when adding the sherry and taste the mixture as you go.The layers of flavour are very subtle here the smokiness of the pork combined with the wine it has been cooked in does not want to be overshadowed by the sherry.The Pãté keeps well in the refrigerator but must be re-heated in a pan to regain its consistency before you serve it.

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