One thing those crazy French people know is cooking. They take a simple ingredient and turn it into something wonderful. If you understand and appreciate the sophistication of French kitchen you’ll find new flavors from everyday ingredients – such as onions. This soup is a perfect example how you can make a tasty meal for the whole family from ingredients that cost less than 10 euros. Since it costs next to nothing, why not make a double portion for the next day as well?
Ingredients for French Onion Soup for 4 Servings
8 onions – cebollas
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour – harina de trigo
1,2 litres (5 cups) of beef stock – caldo de cerne
5 sprigs of fresh thyme – ramitas de tomillo
Sea salt – sal de mar
Ground black pepper – pimienta negra
4 pieces of bread (can be a bit old, too) – pan
2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
a splash of olive oil
grated cheese with strong flavor, such as gruyère – queso fuerte
Peel the onions and cut them in thin rings. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the onion rings. Let them soften on low heat for about half an hour. Stir every now and then. Don’t let them burn.
After that add the flour and stir some more. Add the beef stock and thyme leaves (leave some for the breads). Let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oven to 250 ºC (500 ºF). Pour some olive oil on the breads and add a pinch of garlic and thyme on top. Finish with generous amount of grated cheese. Put the breads in the oven for few minutes until the cheese has melted and it begins to brown. Put the bread on top of the soup on a soup plate.
It’s been quite hot in Costa del Sol area lately. Day’s highest have been around 38ºC (100 ºF). In this heat you don’t want anything heavy to eat. Therefore we decided to make some low fat fish with tropical salsa. All fruits are very fresh and delicious right now, so this combination would work just fine (with a glass of white wine, of course…). The best thing about this meal is that is very easy to make. If you have 15 minutes to prepare and 1 hour to wait for the salsa and fish to marinate, this is the perfect summer food!
Ingredients for Sea Bass with Tropical Salsa for 4 Servings
4 fillets of sea bass – filetes de lubina
4 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
sea salt – sal marina
ground black pepper – pimienta negra
juice of 2 limes – zumo de limas
1 mango – mango
1/2 of pineapple – piña
2 tomatoes – tomates
1 cucumber – pepino
1 dl (1/2 cup) of sliced jalapenos – jalapeños
1/2 red paprika – pimiento rojo
a splash of extra virgin olive oli – aceite de oliva virgen extra
a handful of fresh coriander – cilantro
a handful of fresh mint – menta
Let’s prepare the fish fillets first. If there are bones in the fillets, remove them. Slice 4 cloves of garlics and place them in between the fillets. Squeeze juice of one lime on top and season generously with salt and pepper. Let them marinate in the fridge for one hour.
Next, prepare the tropical salsa. Slice half a pineapple into cubes. Do the same for the mango. Remove the skins from tomatoes (if you will) and remove the seeds and most of the liquid. Slice into cubes. Peel the cucumber and slice into cubes. Slice a half of a paprika into cubes. Combine jalapeños with the other ingredients in a large bowl and season with a splash of olive oil, juice of 1 lime, coriander, mint, salt and pepper. Check the taste and season more, if needed. Put the salsa into fridge to rest for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes put the grill on high heat. Rinse all the liquid there may be in the salsa bowl (this is why we deseeded the tomatoes, because excess liquid ruins the salsa).
Put some olive oil on both sides of the sea bass fillets. Grill the fillets first skin side up for 1 minute, then turn and cook skin side down for another 3 minutes. Put a few tablespoons of tropical salsa on a plate and raise the sea bass fillet carefully on top.
I bet we are the last food blog in the Earth to blog about pulled pork, but we’ve done many similar dishes before, such as oxtail stew – rabo de toro, so it wasn’t on our priority list. However, over the last year pulled pork have became so popular in Finland that there are even convenience food versions available! So we decided to give it a try, but rather than mixing BBQ sauce with pork meat shreds, we wanted something more exciting.
1,5 kg (3 1/2 lbs.) of pork neck – cuello de cerdo
4 tablespoons of Chinese five-spice powder – polvo de cinco especias
4 teaspoons of sea salt – sal marina
4 star anises – anis estrella
2 onions – cebollas
2 cinnamon sticks – ramitas de canela
20 black peppers – pimientas negras
5 garlic cloves – dientes de ajo
2 chili peppers – pimientos picantes
4 cm piece (2″) piece of ginger – jengibre
6 lime leaves – hojas de lima
If the pork cut contains skin, fat and/or bones, don’t remove them. They bring rich flavor into the sauce and they are also much easier to remove after the meat is cooked. Our cut was from a local butcher and it had neck bones and skin with nice fat on.
Rub the five-spice powder and salt on the pork and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Remove the pork from the fridge a couple of hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Heat the oven to to 130 ºC (270 ºF).
Use a large cast iron made Dutch oven. Place halved onions on the bottom and the meat with the rest of the ingredients on top of them. Pour water to cover the pork.
Put a lid on the Dutch oven and cook in the oven for 6 hours. You can check the meat every 2 hours and scoop some of the cooking liquid on the pork to prevent it from drying. When the meat is almost falling apart remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Place the meat to the serving plate, cover the plate with aluminium foil and let it rest while making the sauce.
Ingredients for the Pulled Pork Sauce
8 dl (4 cups) of the cooking liquid – líquido de cocción
1 dl (1/2 cup) of soy sauce – salsa soja
1 dl (1/2 cup) of liquid honey – miel líquida
4 dl (2 cups) of tomato sauce – tomate frito
1/2 dl (1/4 cups) of red wine vinegar – vinagre vino tinto
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan bring to boil. Let it simmer on medium heat for about half an hour in order to reduce the sauce.
When the sauce is reducing, you can shred the pork. First remove the skin and bones, if necessary. Then use two forks to shred. When the sauce is thickened, pour 3/4 of it on top. Mix well and see if the mixture is too dry. Add more sauce, if needed. You can spare some of the sauce for dipping.
You can use the pulled pork to fill hamburger buns, but we preferred to make grilled pita breads. Check it out, they are awesome!
You can also chop some fresh vegetables for the filling of the pitas or hamburger buns. You can choose your favorite veges to give the dish some crunch, but we had some lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions. Fresh coriander would work as seasoning, too!