Latin Influenced Menu

We are having our good friend Dennis over today, as he is playing the role of bachelor while his wife Kathy is out of town. Dennis is helping The Dude bottle his newest concoction, Stonehenge, a barley wine. It won’t be ready to drink until sometime this winter and it’s sure to have the kick of a mule!

Once again, it’s a scorcher here in NW Indiana, and since the men will be using the kitchen for bottling operations I want to use the grill as much as possible or make things that can be done in advance. I haven’t used the rotisserie on our grill yet this season, so I thought I would do a pork roast marinated in citrus and spice – a Cuban sort of vibe. Then I started thinking about my favorite tapas restaurant in Chicago – Cafe Iberico. They make a patatas alioli that is freaking awesome. It is a potato salad with a rich homemade garlic mayo. Oh yes! I’m also going to make my favorite roasted corn salad that I posted here previously. Finally, I will serve a lovely Spanish almond cake.

The best part is, the patatas alioli, roasted corn salad, and the cake can be made in advance. AND you can marinade the pork roast for up to 24 hours, then put it on the grill for about 2 hours and you are good to go. So, let’s start with the almond cake!

Almond Cake

  • 1/2 pound (1 3/4 cups) blanched whole almonds
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 drops almond extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Finely grind the almonds in a food processor.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.

The almonds, eggs and sugar. It’s almost like a paste.

With clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).

Egg whites meet the almond paste. This is going to be good!

Grease an 11-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, with butter and dust it with flour. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool before turning out.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Simple, light, and yummy!

Round two! It’s time for the yummy potatoes with garlic aioli.

Patatas Aioli

  • 3 pounds of small red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in cubes
  • water to boil potatoes
  • salt for the water

Bring salted water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes. Potatoes should be cooked through but al dente. You need potatoes that are going to hold up to being tossed with the aioli. Rinse in cold water and set aside to drain and cool.

Aioli

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1.5 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 T salt
  • 1.5 c olive oil
  • 1 c veg oil

Place in your food processor: the eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and saffron. Mix until combined. While the food processor is running, add the oil in the thinnest possible stream. You must add the oil slowly this way in order to avoid ending up with liquid that will never emulsify into aioli. When you have run out of oil, you will have aioli.

Before.

After. Oh my!

Mix the aioli with the cooled potatoes and enjoy!

Now on to the main dish – Roasted Cuban Pork!

Roasted Cuban Pork

  • 5-6 pound boneless pork butt
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 2 TBSP cumin
  • 1 head of garlic, rough chopped

Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Take your pork butt and score the fat side. Pour the marinade over the pork, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to grill, set the pork out for about half an hour before you put on the grill to get the meat to room temperature. If you are using a rotisserie, put the pork on the spit and roast on medium-low for 2-1/2 hours until meat thermometer registers 150 degrees. Remove from the spit and let rest – the internal temperature will rise to the desired 160 degrees. If you are putting the meat directly on the grill, start the grilling process with the fat side up – furthest from the heat. Turn the meat a quarter of the way through the cooking process (about 45 minutes in) and then again halfway through the process (one hour 15 minutes in), and finally at three quarters of the way through (about two hours in). Be sure to let the meat rest about 1/2 hour. Slice and serve.

Well,  dinner was a huge (and delicious) success! The pork was tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The salads? The bomb! The almond cake? So moist and delicious – almonds and citrus together in perfect harmony.

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About Eileen Dominick Long

Diva, dog lover, and main squeeze to the Dude.
This entry was posted in Desserts and Sweets, Main Dishes, Side Dishes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Latin Influenced Menu

  1. Dennis Sommer says:

    Dinner was delicious!!!!!! Thanks so much for allowing me to partake in your culinary concert. You may have me hooked on the food channel.

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