Put a Portuguese twist on your next holiday dinner
George Mendes, chef and owner of Aldea restaurant in New York City, is spicing things up with his Portuguese take on a traditional holiday meal. Here, he makes sea scallops with olive oil and lemon, cod gratin, his family's rice pudding and a vodka smash to start things off.
- 4 fresh cranberries
- 5 mint leaves
- 4 lemon wedges
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 ounces vodka
- Club soda
Muddle first four ingredients. Add vodka. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Top with club soda.
- 1 pound 10/20 size dry sea scallops
- Kosher salt and fresh white pepper to taste
- Wondra flour (for dusting) as needed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
- 1 whole lemon, cut in half, seeds removed
- 1 fresh lime
- 1 fresh orange
1. Heat a medium size sauté pan over medium-high heat.2. Remove the muscle on the scallop (it looks small, rectangular, tendon-like), then blot dry with an absorbent towel. Season both sides evenly with salt and pepper. Dust one side evenly with the wondra flour.3. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil to the hot pan. Place the scallops (as many as can fit into the pan without overcrowding and touching each other) floured side down. Let cook over medium heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Turn them over and cook the other side. Remove and place onto a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining scallops. 4. Drizzle more olive oil as preferred over the scallops on the platters. Next, squeeze fresh lemon juice over them. Then, using a microplane or a zester, zest fresh lime and orange over the top of the scallops as well. Stick one toothpick into each scallop and serve to your guests warm.
Makes 4 servings
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 2 small onions, quartered and very thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 fresh bay leaves, notches torn
- Kosher salt as needed
- 12 oz. poached cod (see below), flaked into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes
- Freshly ground black pepper as needed
- 2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch slices
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced crosswise, plus garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, very finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.Poach a 1-inch-thick, 12 oz. cod filet in barely simmering water to cover for 10 to 12 minutes until the tip of a knife or cake tester goes through without resistance. Remove from water and use a fork to flake into ½-inch pieces. You should have 2 cups. Heat a small (4-quart) cast iron cocotte (Dutch oven) over medium heat and coat the bottom with oil. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and a generous pinch of salt. Stir well, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes.While the onions cook, place the cod in a medium skillet and add enough oil to coat it well. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently, until heated through, about 1 minute. Peel the potatoes and use a mandolin to cut them lengthwise into 1/16-inch slices. Don't rinse them; you want all that starch.Transfer the onions to a bowl, using a rubber spatula to scrape the cocotte clean. Discard the bay leaves. Coat the bottom of the cocotte with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the oil. Cover the bottom of the cocotte with a layer of potatoes, overlapping the slices slightly.Season with salt, then cover with a thin layer of the onions and a tablespoon of the olives. Now, layer potatoes, salt, pepper, oil, onions, salt, olives and 1 cup flaked cod. Use a spatula to press down hard on the layers. Top with a layer of the egg slices, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper and another layer of potatoes. Press hard again. For the final layering: salt, oil, pepper, the last of the onions, olives, cod and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil, and press down hard with your hand to get it as compact and even as possible.Cover and bake until the top is lightly browned and the potatoes are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil, then garnish with the parsley and sliced olives. If you're not serving immediately, run the casserole under the broiler just before serving.
Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 cup Carolina white rice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 piece cinnamon stick
- 1 fresh vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot and mix with a wooden spoon to blend all well.2. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.3. Turn temperature down to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and rice is cooked very soft. (about 45 minutes)4. Remove from the heat and let cool. Adjust consistency with additional heavy cream if needed.5. Serve with poached or fresh fruits of the season.