Friday, June 12, 2009

* A Delicious Failure *

For the first time since we moved to Mexico my husband and I were able to go out on a date. We hired a baby setter and simply went out for dinner but I was still the first time the two of us got to do something together in months, without the kids.

We went to a Peruvian restaurant near where we live called La Mar that was highly recommended by some friends and the food was good (not great) and the staff were very helpful and even found and old menu in English for us and a staff member that spoke a little English. After pouring over the menu and asking for suggestions we ordered the clasico seviche and the Parmesan scallops for our starters.

The seviche was ok, it was covered in cilantro and that was all I could really taste and being a person who apparently has the anti cilantro gene the whole dish tasted like soap to me.

The scallops we cooked perfectly but the thick layer of cheese over them over powered the dish, I pulled the cheese off and very much enjoyed the scallop underneath.

For our main courses I had the atun (tuna). This was a tuna steak grilled, placed over a bed of mashed potatoes with a sauce/gravy. As I ate the tuna the center was raw, not rare but raw, I could tell that the tuna was still frozen in the center when they put it on the grill. I think that if that spot in the center had not been frozen when they put the fish on the grill it would have been done perfectly with the right amount of seasoning, the mashed potatoes were nice but the sauce was a little overpowering for the dish.

My husband got the parihuela which is a seafood soup with a tomato chili base and it was WONDERFUL the highlight of the evening. This soup was so good that I now have to figure out how to make it and this post is my first attempt at the soup and it was not even close; however, it was delicious.

After doing a little Internet research on Peruvian cooking I learned that there are a few ingredients that are very common such as chillies, potatoes, onion and seafood. With that information I attempted the following.

I made a fish stock with some great mackerel I found at the market along with some carrots onions and celery.

2 tomatoes
1 large potato, diced
1 large onion
a few dried chilies (guajillo chilies is what I used)
8 cups fish stock
10 shrimp
1 mackerel cut into pieces
fresh parsley or cilantro
salt and pepper

On a hot cast iron pan blacken the tomato, onion and chillies on all sides. Place the blackened vegetables in a food processor or blender with a cup of stock and blend until smooth

In a large soup pot add fish stock, blended vegetable and potatoes. bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the fish and cook for about 3 minutes then add the shrimp, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until shrimp is just done. Serve and top with a squeeze of lime and fresh green cilantro or parsley.

While this soup was good it was nothing like the Peruvian soup at La Mar. The base was flat in comparison to the real thing and the chili used was not a good choice. This chili had a rich almost cocoa flavor to it and not the hot crisp chili that this dish needs.

We are going back to La Mar tonight just for some more Peruvian Seafood soup.

No comments: