Gooseberries, red plums, kiwi, edible flowers, and balls of watermelon and cantaloupe – topped with lychee sorbet and garnished with gold leaves. Finished with chilled chamomile-melon soup… poured table side.
I’m a big believer of using high quality ingredients, and can always count on great results when I am confident with what I put in to a dish. Whenever I can, I shop at the farmers market – Union Square in NYC has a great one. This time of year is my favorite to explore all that the farmers markets has to offer and try different ingredients, especially when I can be in the sun!
If you’re a first-timer to the farmers market, here are a few helpful tips from the Union Square Farmers Market website.
The latest special from the kitchen of SSPark….::tipped hat to Guille::
Grilled hanger steak with chimichurri frisée, fingerling potato salad, and cherry tomatoes – topped off with salsa criolla. The tomatoes add exciting texture and acid to the dish. The chimichurri friseé is a great ‘weight’ balance to the dish – but also a fun new pairing of chimichurri and steak, which, at Samba has been a longtime match made in heaven.
Alinea’s Chocolate Finale dessert is one fit for a table, literally. As a large sheet of grey silicone is draped over the diners’ table, servers gather around the table and place small bowl after small bowl of nougats, chocolates, sauces, herbs, and other sweet delicacies around the table. The servers step away as the chef walks out and approaches the table. The chef then begins to paint and create a dessert masterpiece right before the diners’ eyes.
Today my friend Carlos Naselli from Patagonic Beef dropped by with some great new olive oils for us to try from northern Argentina and Uruguay. The new Executive Chefs of our Las Vegas and London locations joined in…
There’s nothing better than waking up each morning to a tall glass of fresh Brazilian fruits. We’ve been trying new flavors at Apo’s across the street since we arrived…. everything from maracujá (passion fruit) and fruta do conde (‘sugar-apple’) to caju (cashew fruit) and, my personal favorite, cupuaçu. I’m not sure that I can compare the flavor of cupuaçu to anything, really – but if I had to give you a ‘taste’ in writing I’d say it’s like a juicy pear with a citrus kick at the finish.
While we’ve been serving fresh passion fruit purée in our cocktails at SUSHISAMBA from the start, in Brazil maracujá is served with the whole seeds. They add a complex texture to juice and caipirinhas – velvet on the tongue and a gentle crunch after each sip. Mere and I are going to do some detective work once we’re back in the States to see if there new ways to import these awesome fruits – and add them to the samba table.
Here’s a shot of Apo’s – which is a good example of a common fruit stand here in Rio – which also sells traditional Brazilian snacks.
We’re in the process of revisiting and reformatting the entire SUSHISAMBA recipe collection. It’s a lot of work but it’s been good to revisit the building blocks of our signature recipes. Yesterday I was thinking a lot more about dashi which is key for our miso soup – but an all-around vital ‘base’ Japanese cooking. There are two types: Ichiban dashi – which is stronger and most appropriate for soups and sauces. Then, there’s Niban dashi – which is a more subtle flavor. Because we’re using dashi daily for our miso soup – we use the Ichiban style: DASHI
Method: Add konbu to pot of water and bring to 140F for 40 minutes to exact the flavors and umami out of the kelp. Remove the kelp from the pot and add the bonito flakes. Bring the water to 170F and allow bonito flakes to sink to the bottom of the pot. Pass through a chinois with cheesecloth.
Chef’s Notes: Pass the broth through the cheesecloth SLOWLY to prevent cloudiness in the broth. Note: The vegetarian substitution for dashi is to use shiitake mushrooms instead of bonito flakes.