As you may have seen from my recent posts, I enjoyed the food in Santorini immensely. After being home for a few days, I wanted to cook again, and last weekend had our good friends over for dinner inspired by and including some of the ingredients and recipes I learned there. It was a vegan meal, but it just worked out that way. Here’s the menu:
The first course — a richly-flavored consommé from roasted mushrooms — is documented in previous posts, so I won’t elaborate here. Yu Choy (or Yu Choi, or Yu Toy) is a Chinese vegetable I enjoy. I found some fresh Yu Choy at Russo’s, so I invented a little dish in which it is steamed, sauced with a little shoyu, olive oil, and finely chopped preserved lemon peel, then served with pan-roasted shitake and fresh Porcini mushrooms. It was even better than I imagined.
An important element of the meal was the fava beans — split yellow peas from Santorini. I had enjoyed the purée on the island several times, and I wanted to try my hand at making it. The purée turned out well, but the chicory I decided to cook and serve with it was nowhere near as good as the chicories of Puglia, so that element was disappointing.
These are the split peas I bought and brought back with me from the source:
Would this work with ordinary supermarket or health food store split yellow peas? Or perhaps channa dal? Who knows? Maybe worth a try, although the ones from Santorini are superb quality, that I can say with assurance. The beet dish and carrots were pretty straightforward, chosen as much for color as they were for flavor, and good on both counts. Having some boiled and sautéed nettles from a tea I made was a bonus.
Mushrooms grilled a la plancha, and the potatoes, arugula pesto and olives provided some weight to the meal. My only regret is that the marvelous Fried Tomato Balls (or Fritters) that Barbara made were consumed so quickly that I never got a chance to photograph them. She even made a little paprika-spiced mayonnaise to go with them. All I can provide is a photo of the recipe she started with, and a warning that she added an egg and about one cup more flour than prescribed, to get the right consistency.
The Villa Creek current wines, both white and rosé, were just right.