She started off by making a ginger and lemongrass tea with honey. Once steeped, it’s lovely by itself or makes a great base for a cocktail. And, then she realized everything we would be tasting that night would have ginger and/or cilantro in it. I was perfectly happy with that. Our first course was Ceviche with Mangos and Sweet Potatoes. Feniger’s preference is for ceviche to be about one-half fish and one-half other ingredients. The result is a nice mix of textures. Here, the ingredients were diced fish, lime juice, red onion, jalapeno, mango, diced and roasted sweet potato, aji amarillo, minced ginger, chopped cilantro, pickled red onion, and plantain chips for serving. You could fry long slices of plantain and pile the ceviche on top, or serve smaller chips for scooping.
Next was a salad that could easily be a meal in itself, and it will when I make it at home. The Vegetable Salpicon was a mix of julienned carrots, chayote, and radishes, blanched green beans, red cabbage thinly sliced, chives, and cilantro leaves. All of those vegetables were tossed with a dressing made with garlic, ginger, lemongrass, jalapeno, white wine, and champagne vinegar which were simmered until reduced. Then, saffron was added and allowed to steep before mayonnaise was incorporated. Crispy, shoestring potatoes were tossed with the vegetables and dressing, and the salad was topped with more potato strings.
And, then I was introduced to Shrimp Moqueca (photo at top). This lovely, spicy, shrimp stew can be dressed-up and garnished in various ways or kept simple as you wish. It’s started by cooking diced onion and bell pepper to which tomatoes and chiles are added. Fish stock and coconut milk are poured over the vegetables, and it’s left to simmer. Meanwhile, shrimp were cooked in a separate pan, and sliced green onions, lime juice, dende oil, and cilantro were added. Just before serving, the shrimp mixture was added to the simmering coconut milk mixture. To garnish, toasted coconut shards, diced lime supremes, and sweet-spicy little peppers like peppadews were placed on each serving. I’m so happy to have learned about this dish.
The last course of the evening involved a few different parts. First, there were quartered, cooked artichokes topped with an oregano salsa verde and served with olive aioli. Dipping the salsa-dressed artichoke leaves into the aioli was delicious. And, that was served next to sliced grilled skirt steak that had been marinated with a thick, pureed mix of jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil. Feniger suggested trying that marinade on fish before grilling, and I can’t wait to do that. The skirt steak was topped with a hearts of palm chimichurri which would also be great with fish. I’m not sure when I’ll get to Brazil, but in the meantime, I have several new dishes to make at home while dreaming about it.
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