Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Above is one way of wriitng recipes. Below is another.
I wrote the below as part of an aborted, failed and futile attempt to get a show on the telly. It was one of the three recipes I wrote for Grilled Ibiza, the book to accompany the promo. For many and varied reasons the promo was rubbish in the extreme. As if to compound its failure the book Grilled Ibiza dissolved itself off iPhoto leaving only a few pictures and hardly any text. AND NOW VERY BIZARRELY it has turned up again. Literally right now. It has been lost inside this MacBook for over a year and has just resurfaced as i did the above Recipix. Freaky. Anyway here it is.....
This salad is a work of art and like all great art, he said pompously, it utterly transcends its form.
It is also simplicity itself. It is an ancient Catalan recipe and very versitile. I prepare it here as an accompaniment to the beef but it can also be served on its own as a salad course, it is sublime on toast with Escala anchovies as a canape or starter and I have even heard of it served with foie gras which I think sounds frankly bizarre.
There are additions people make to it, garlic, tomato, courgette etc all of which is nice but entirely unnecessary. It does in fact distract one from what is a perfect dish. It needs no adornment nor chefs attempts to raise it. Follow the recipe.
It is said that the Catalan flag, La Senyera came in to being in the 9th Century when Wilfred the Shaggy and his old chum Charles the Bald where having a lovely battle against the Moors. At the point of victory the Hairy One drew his blood drenched fingers across the golden shield of The Bald One creating four red bars on a background of yellow. It is my private belief that escalivada emmulates this flag and I alway bear it in mind when laying out the salad.
As I say, this is a perfect dish. This is not my recipe, it is THE recipe. Do not veer from it.
2 large red peppers
2 large aubergines
As you are cooking the beef surround it with the whole untouched aubergines and whole untouched peppers. If there isnt enough room on the grill for this then do it after the beef. Or before it, It doesnt matter.
Char the peppers and aubergines on all sides until the aubergine has inflated and then collapsed and the pepper blackend and collapsed.
For this to work you must not balk at the seeming burntness of the vegetables. The flesh of the peppers not only has to blacken to allow peeling but the flesh must also be cooked. Keep it on the grill until it has completely collapsed and the flesh underneath is soft.
The same goes for the aubergines. An un or undercooked aubergine is a revoiting aubergine and if you are ever presented with one throw it at the chef, host, hostess, whoever. It is not to be tolerated
keep cooking the aubergine until it is completely collapsed and its flesh softened
STRIP AND LAY DOWN
Once the peppers are peeled and deseeded and the aubergines peeled pull them into strips and lay them on the plate in stripes. Season them with salt and finish with olive oil. Now stand back and admire what you have done. The chances are, if you have followed the recipe correctly, you will hear the heavenly choirs announcing to God that LUNCH IS READY
Monday, July 21, 2008
When I left England to come and live on Ibiza one of my biggest concerns was potatoes. Surely that tiny rock in the Mediterranean could'nt produce good ones. No way.
Boy oh boy was I wrong. The first meal we had here was on an easter sunday and was slow roast shoulder of lamb with potatoes and we nearly died of delight. The potatoes were from Ibiza and excellent. We bought them from the veg lady called Maria who has the first stall on the right hand side of the staircase entrance of Santa Eulalia market. She has what I consider to be the best vegetable stall on the island (that I have tried anyway).
My next epiphany was Ensalada Payesa in Cas Pages. Nothing short of celestial. Potato, roast red peppers, olive oil and salt. God loves a simple recipe. The key difference is that the potato is boiled in its skin then peeled. This means the already very starchy potato lets out none of its waxiness and it becomes one sticky little mother. Crush it and oil it and it becomes unctuous. And it glistens. Unctuous and glistening? There can be nothing better.
I almost invariably put in Catalunyas excellent Escalivada - roast peppers and aubergines, in my menus so dont really want to have roast peppers twice. So I needed to come up with my own version. The above recipix is that version. Make it. Enjoy it.