As well as being simple, these recipes are quick and tasty
A common joke amongst Brazilians is to say “you won me through my stomach”, with reference to how a tasty meal can be a big step towards winning the favour of people you like or someone you want to impress, without wasting hours in the kitchen or running the risk of making mistakes. Many practical recipes can take the place of more complicated, refined dishes.
We begin with the starter: this salad, always welcome at the table, holds its secret in its dressing.
Opt for greens that are in season, such as arugula, watercress and lettuce. Wash them well, let them dry and then tear by hand. This method ensures the salad retains nutrients and vitamins that are lost when cut with the metal of a knife.
Start assembling the salad in an attractive bowl, one that matches the table setting. Add tomatoes, either traditional or cherry tomatoes. If you choose the latter, cut them into halves. With traditional tomatoes cut them into small cubes.
If you like, add strips of yellow peppers. If so, cut them in half and remove their white insides and slice into strips (long or short). Another trick is to use fennel, which gives the salad a special touch. Take a bulb and dice into cubes.
Tip: The amount of leaves, tomatoes, yellow pepper, and fennel is up to you, depending on your tastes.
Now let’s prepare the dressing; one made with yoghurt, one made with mustard.
Use 1/2 cup of skimmed yoghurt, one soup spoon of olive oil and one of vinegar. Add 1/2 an onion, one clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything in a blender and your dressing is ready.
You can use mustard that already has honey, or simply add a little traditional honey to normal mustard. Mix three spoons of mustard with half a squeezed lime, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. If you like you can also throw in a little mayonnaise. Then you just need to mix everything by hand or using the blender.
For the main course, our suggestion is a good grilled sirloin steak with oven cooked potatoes with rosemary and garlic.
Opt for firm, medium-sized potatoes and cut them into quarters. Boil them in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. With an average flame, the cooking time is about 30 minutes but keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook: they need to be cooked, but firm.
After cooking, drain the potatoes and put them in a baking tray. Spread rosemary sprigs all over them and drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Also include a few large garlic cloves (as many as you wish), without peeling them. Cover the tray with foil with the shiny side down and preheat for 30 minutes at 150ºC. Then place them in the oven for 40 minutes, after which remove the foil and leave for a further 15 minutes, or until the potatoes turn golden brown.
Having seasoned with salt and pepper, take a frying pan and begin to cook the steaks. The best advice is to sprinkle the salt just before cooking as the salt tends to absorb the juices from the meat. Fry on one side until the thickest part begins to release its juices and then fry the other side. Don’t keep flipping the steaks while you cook them, this is a sure way to toughen the meat.
Serve the steaks with the potatoes and the roasted garlic – to remove the skin press them gently with a fork. The result is a pure aroma, a unique flavour, without the strong taste of raw garlic.