Tuesday 9 March 2010

Cocina Mediterránea

My first course at Gato Dumas, Tartas, Pizzas y Empanadas, was good fun, and we were making authentic Argentinian food. But the teaching wasn’t especially sophisticated, and I couldn’t understand a bloody thing. I didn’t really come to Argentina to learn about Mediterranean food, but last week, that’s what I had.

There were only five of us in the class, and in a different kitchen, we were right in front of the action. Taking the class was Ezequiel - a very good chef and an excellent teacher. He speaks a bit of English, but more importantly speaks clearly, so I could understand most of what he said.


Each day we cook three courses, and each plate is very carefully thought out and balanced. Day one, we make filo vegetable rolls with balsamic reduction, papardelle with pancetta and chocolate fondant. The filo pastel is really good, as is the fondant, though the recipe doesn’t top the Gordon Ramsey one from the F-Word that I’ve always used.

Pastel de espinaca, feta y almendras

On Tuesday we knocked up Moussaka. I have no hesitation is saying it is the best moussaka I have ever tasted. Carefully arranged in a terracotta dish lined with the thinnest slices of aubergine, it is deliciously moist and succulent. For dessert we make baklava, one of my favourite things in the world. We also knock up a pretty good dish of chicken couscous.

Pechuga de ave con cous cous de frutos secos

My teammates and I

Next up, a rocket salad with goat's cheese. To follow, grilled tuna, but we use bonito (also Spanish for ‘cute’) instead. It’s served with confit fennel, creamy potato cake and garnished with tapenade and saffron infused oil. For dessert we have fruit kebabs with an awesome marsala foam.

Ensalada de rucola con queso de cabra

Bonito grillado con tapenade y torta de papas

Brochette de frutas con espuma de Marsala

Lastly, fried mozzarella, lamb chops and citrus fruits with honey and caramel shards. A great lesson in balancing dishes, plates and presentation. The lamb (undercooked for my liking) is paired with a cabbage and pancetta and a beautiful stuffed tomato. There's nothing too crazy about the other dishes - the cheese needed plenty of salsa, and the dessert spoke for itself.

Queso frito con salsa pomodoro

Costillas de cerdero

Cítricos con miel con sorbete de límon

I certainly didn't come to Argentina to learn about Mediterranean food, but it turned out to be a great reminder that you can learn a lot with great recipes and a good teacher, anywhere in the world. It was nice back in a kitchen, and a timely reminder of what my intentions were for the months ahead. I think I’d said something about learning how to cook…

1 comment:

  1. Current Masterchef delicacies hold nothing on the look of that food, yummy!