Little plates

Whenever I go out to a good restaurant, and I see tons of great stuff on the menu I want to try it all. Not everyone offers a tasting menu. But that’s one of the things I love about tapas restaurants-the chance to try several things at one sitting.
Couple that with the concept that says that anything you can do large, you can do small, and you’ve got it. The challenge for this type of menu is that everything is cooked to order, and there’s very little prep time involved. It makes it a little hectic, and it would be hard to do it for a huge crowd without a well set up mise en place.

Little plates night
Salmon crudo amuse bouche
Sauteed salmon “Nigiri” with tatziki
Cajun-style barbecue shrimp
Steak frites

Salmon crudo was a recipe of necessity. They had some good wild caught salmon fillets at the store, but they provided a bunch of the belly meat which left varying thickness of the fish. Solution? Cut off the thin part, skin it, and make a sashimi style appetizer.

Per person:
Bite size portion of salmon
Finely minced ginger, a pinch
1/4 tsp of toasted sesame oil
Sea salt
Pulp of a thin half-slice of lime
Lime zest

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

With the remaining salmon, I cut into portions that looked like a big piece of nigiri sushi.
Cut salmon into ~2×4 inch portions, season with salt and pepper, and sautee on high heat to medium rare. Set aside.
The tatziki was a little unconventional, but consisted of 1/2 cup of sour cream, tbsp of good olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 1/4 cup of diced cucumber, salt, pepper, and parsley. You can sub plain yogurt and mint or dill, and it goes great with lamb or oily fish.

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

The bruschetta was store-bought, but tasted pretty good. Harry and David for the olive/tomato relish and local supermarket for the ciabatta that we toasted in the oven.

For the barbecue shrimp, I took 12 in-the-shell shrimp combined with olive oil, parsley, 4 cloves of minced garlic, cayenne pepper, crystal hot sauce, and some Dizzy Pig Jamaican Fire Walk rub, combined in a bowl to dress. 2 tbsp of butter, and some oil in a large skillet, and cooked them on high heat until just pink. Shrimps out, reduce most of a bottle of beer with a tbsp or so of molasses for sweetness and color. Finished with butter (3-4 tbsp) until thick, and return the shrimps to the sauce. The result? Can you believe that it wasn’t spicy enough? Ultimately, we should have left the relish off the bread, and just used it to sop up the sauce.

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

The frites were really just thinly sliced, fried new potato chips with home-made Crystal hot sauce aioli. Totally forgot to do the microwave blanch, they would have been crispier. For the mayonnaise, consult any book, but it’s really pretty easy. In your blender, combine 1 whole egg with 2 yolks, 1 tsp of mustard powder, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, and salt. Blend to combine, and with the blender on, add olive oil very slowly at first until you get your emulsification. Keep adding oil until you get the consistency your looking for. The mustard is a good binder, and you can use prepared dijon mustard if you like, as well. To complete the aioli, mince as much garlic as you can stand (3-4 cloves or more), and add to your mayonnaise with juice from a half lime, a little salt, and Crystal hot sauce (or your favorite) to taste and color.

The steak was ribeye that we had cooked a night or two ago, and intentionally left one of them pretty rare for purposes of reheating. The mushrooms were stemmed, sliced thinly, and sauteed in butter with a little salt. Add just a dash of water to the pan and it creates a mushroom sauce. Cup of red wine reduced to molasses consistency for a little sweet kick on the meat, and that’s it.

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

The results? Well, the plate tells the story. The beauty of this menu and the way it was prepared, was that it didn’t all have to come out at the same time. With young kids in the middle of going to bed, we cooked one or two, took a break and dealt with the kids, and then came back and cooked some more.

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

Wine pairings:

Adegas Morgadio Legado del Conde 2006 Abarino

From Drop Box

Charles and Charles 2008 Rose

From Drop Box

Descendientes de J. Palacios “Petalos” 2007 Mencia

From Drop Box

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