Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Haitian Meal (Part 1)

A friend of mine has been begging me to write about this forever, but alas destiny intervened, and those that know the CC know that when destiny calls, the CC calls destiny back, and screws destiny to the wall.

However, that is tedious and time consuming.

But summer is here, and so are the good tomatoes. Since this recipe is tomato-heavy, the CC wandered down to the Farmer's Market to get some heirloom tomatoes. Once again, the guy berated me, "You weren't here last week. You expect me to sell these heirloom tomatoes to these proles?"

The recipe is somewhat time consuming but obviously worth it. If you think it's not worth it, we'll settle it like gentlemen, "Chocolate soufflés at ten paces."

I first had this meal at a Haitian restaurant. I desperately wanted to reproduce it so I consulted my two Haitian cookbooks.

They agree on the fundamentals, but differ slightly on the details.

Two things stand out:

[1] Haitian food is heavily influenced by French cooking. Not a big surprise there. The same themes stand out : skimming, rouille, etc.

[2] However, they adapted it to native fish, vegetables, etc. Shouldn't be a big surprise either.

I chatted with the woman who runs the restaurant, and she said while it was traditionally made with conch, it's really adaptable to any kind of seafood, and once you see the recipe, you will see why.

I made it with squid although I plan to make it with conch now that she told me where in New York I can find it.

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