Thursday, August 23, 2012

inauthentically delicious

We have added two foods to our summer repertoire of dinner recipes this winter, both with staunchly ethnic roots, both Americanized for my tastes.

Banh Mi -- very little cooking involved, refreshing with its creamy/sour, meaty/crunchy combo of flavors and textures, and infinitely customizable, we've enjoyed creating sandwiches whose only commonality is the pickled veggies, light smear of mayo, and soft, crusty bread. We've found the rolls at Whole Foods' bakery work well, even though they aren't baguette at all, but rather soft rolls. I haven't found the perfect baguette here - they're all too thick-crusted, and I have trouble getting balanced bites with crusty loaves. We use the master recipe here, more or less, alongside the pickled veggie recipe from the same blog. Since I am among the cilantro averse, I've added parsley in place of the devil herb, and I tend to lazily buy whatever meat is on the hot food bar at the Whole Foods, which completely obviates the need for cooking.

Lomo Saltado -- I had this at Acuario's in Port Chester NY, and (aside from having to pick off all the cilantro), it was quite perfect: marinated meat over an order of fries, with the juices from the meat basting the fries. Peruvian poutine. I tried out Food and Wine's recent recipe, adding just a bit of cinnamon, and pouring the meat over potatoes that we doused in olive oil, salt and pepper and threw on the grill. Perfect the first day, and just as good wrapped into a tortilla with cheese and lettuce, burrito style, the next day.

Lomo Saltado, adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

1/4 cup + a couple tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound skirt steak
1 red onion, halved and slivered
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup parsley
3-5 medium sized yukon gold potatoes

  • Throw the steak in the freezer for about half an hour to make slicing it thin easier. 
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/2" cubes, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put potatoes on the grill over medium heat. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. 
  • Cut the steak into 4-inch pieces; slice the steaks across the grain 1/2 inch thick and add to the bowl along with the onion. Marinate for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat a large griddle until very hot. 
  • Add the steak and onion and stir-fry over high heat until the meat and onion are cooked through and lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add the tomato and cook until softened and beginning to char, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the potatoes and parsley and flip with a spatula to combine. Serve right away.