I made a fusion dish tonight, out of my head, with food that originates continents away from each other. Actually I amalgamated elements from three recipes and pulled some ideas out of the ether for good measure. I thought that a Thai approach would blend favorably with the unique favor set of the Peruvian pepper.
Did it work?
Yes, I would have to say it did, after a quick save from my wife. But caution and care is needed to find the appropriate middle ground.
I patted some chicken dry and then gave it a salt, garlic and onion powder and Peruvian aji panca rub. Added a bit of paprika and cayenne. I was cautioned not to use black pepper as it fights with the delicate flavor of the aji amarillo. Did add a healthy dash of red pepper, for a little more heat.
I dredged the organic thighs and drumsticks and cooked them in a bit of oil, skin side down for six minutes in an enameled cast iron skillet. Flipped them and cooked them for another ten minutes, until the thermometer showed the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.
I proceeded to add a healthy couple of tablespoons of aji amarillo paste, the basis for so many wonderful Peruvian dishes.
I let it cook for a few minutes and finally added a half cup of chicken broth, a can of coconut milk and a squeeze of half a lime.
I added the chicken back into the pot and let it simmer for about twenty minutes. Added a little butter to the broth.
About this time Leslie came home and I asked her to taste the sauce.
She thought I went overboard on the citrus but had an easy fix, adding about one and a half tablespoons of brown sugar.
This was the perfect balance, the flavor melded together wonderfully, just what the doctor ordered.
Thank god she was there to save me from myself, knew exactly how to make it work.
It's not easy, especially for a beginning cook like me, to make disparate food elements mesh with each other but these did. I made a pot of rice, ladled the sauce over everything and added organic cilantro.
One of my base recipes called for the addition of heavy cream to thicken the sauce.
Others add greek yogurt, feta or parmesan. We have done that before.
But she thought that this was fine the way it was and I did too.
Just have to watch the lime next time or forget it completely.
I think that the next time I make this or something like it, I will fry plantains again, I think it would be a great finishing flavor set.
Fallbrook is not exactly a culinary hotbed but there are good things around to eat.
My favorite used to be Delos's shrimp diavalo at La Caseta, Robert's pork normandy at Le Bistro, both now long gone.
I love Rosa's camarones de mojo de ajo but it is almost too much food. I am a freak for Trupianos penne rustico.
Here are three nice dishes to try around town. At least I really like them.