The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors From Europe's Western Coast by David Leite (Clarkson Potter, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the First Book: The Julia Child Award
category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide.
David Leite is a James Beard award winning author who was raised in one of the largest Portuguese communities in the US. In 2004 he took his love of Portugal a step beyond merely exploring his heritage and became a Portuguese citizen. Knowing that, it should be no surprise that for his first book he chose to share his love of Portuguese food.
In the New Portuguese Table you'll find an exploration of Portuguese food that mixes both the past and the present. For those unfamiliar with the cuisine you'll find new flavors and new uses ingredients that will make you wonder why you've not tried that before. You'll also learn that Portuguese cuisine is yet another amazing European cuisine.
For more on The New Portuguese Table check out my review with the recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Piri-Piri Sauce.
Fried Cornmeal - milho frito
From The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors From Europe's Western Coast by David Leite (Clarkson Potter, 2009)
Makes thirty-two 1 by 2-inch rectangles
Along with Maderian Griddle Bread (page 190), milho frito is the traditional accompaniment to Grilled Beef Kebabs (page 143), beef threaded on long bay leaf skewers and grilled over an open fire. The classic recipe is nothing more than cornmeal, lard, water, and salt. What makes it delicious is that it's deepfried. This version gets tons of flavor from stock, cream, and butter. Kale, a common ingredient, and cheese round out the flavor atencao
Don't use stone-ground or coarse cornmeal, or the result will be hopelessly mushy.
- olive oil for greasing, plus more for panfrying
- ¼ pound collard greens or kale,thick center stems and fibrous veins removed, sliced crosswise whisker-thin
- kosher salt
- 2 cups chicken stock (page 243) or store-bought low-sodium broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal (preferably goya brand) or instant polenta
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
1. Lightly brush an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with oil, and set aside.
2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the collards and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes. Dump into a colander to drain and cool.
3. Meanwhile, add the stock, cream, ¾ cup of water, the butter, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens to the consistency of smooth mashed potatoes and pulls away from the pan, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ricotta until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the collards, take a taste, and sprinkle in more salt and pepper if needed.
4. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and level the top with a greased offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Let sit until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Cut the cornmeal into 1-by-2-inch rectangles. Brush a large skillet, preferably nonstick, with oil and heat over medium heat. When it's hot, brush the rectangles with oil and sear, in batches, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.