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The Best Restaurant in South America 2016: Central

Carmencitta Magazine - Chef Virgilio Martínez

About The Restaurant

Having a dinner at Central Restaurant in Lima, Peru, starts at 25 meters below sea level, then soars up into the mountains, across the desert, and through the jungle. Furthermore, the experience you will get is the exploration of the diverse Peruvian territory: ingredients, colors, stories and scenarios. In other words, it’s a journey through the extreme climates, altitudes, and biodiversity of Peru. Guests come from all over the world to explore the South American country through the eyes of Chef Virgilio Martínez. He takes his guests on a culinary expedition from the Amazon to Pacific coast.

Chef Virgilio Martínez

He is a Peruvian chef. The chef of Lima restaurant Central earned the top spot at the recent Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. The chef is famed for his beautifully creative dishes that showcase the diversity of Peru’s ingredients. He works alongside with his wife, Pia Leon. In addition to their efforts through their tasting menu to introduce novel ingredients that are indigenous to Peru.

Worth Notes

In Central restaurant all what you find is special and somehow unique. They are careful to each simple detail such as:

Water:

The bottle of water filtered and purified using reverse osmosis in the restaurant.

Mater:

They connect cooking with the earth by traveling across the country in search of ingredients and stories from local producers.

Garden:

Fresh herbs and spices that accompany the food are always at hand. Their idea is not only to have a garden but also to keep in constant contact with nature.

Country Adventure in 17 Courses

Chef’s efforts at Central show that Peruvian cuisine means delicious meals. Through their courses such the edible Chaco clay of the dry Andes, and the indigenous Amazonian palm fruit called ungurahui. Moreover, you will find the amazing taste in the white freeze-dried potato known as tunta or the fermented potato called tocosh. Furthermore, they serve cooked tuber below the ground on hot stones, an inspiring the dish called ‘Tallos extremos’.

Thai Green Curry

Carmencitta Magazine - Thai Green Curry
Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons green curry paste, Mae Ploy brand preferred
8 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
4 oz bamboo shoot
5 kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised
2 red chilies, cut into thick strips
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar or palm sugar (preferred)
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves

Method:

Heat up a pot over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the green curry paste until aromatic, add the chicken and stir to combine well with the curry paste. Add the coconut milk and water and bring it to a quick boil.

Add the bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, and red chilies. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the curry slightly thickens.

Add the fish sauce, sugar, and basil leaves. Stir to mix well. Turn off the heat and serve immediately with steamed rice.

HEALTHY VEGGIE KIMCHI RICE WITH HAPPY EGGS

HEALTHY VEGGIE KIMCHI RICE WITH HAPPY EGGS

INGREDIENTS

HEALTHY VEGGIE KIMCHI RICE WITH HAPPY EGGS

  • 1-2 Tablespoon oil (peanut oil gives this great flavor!)
  • ½ cup onion- diced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 cup chopped veggies (optional) of your choice: mushrooms, red bell pepper, zucchini, peas, carrots
  • ½ cup kimchi- chopped
  • 2 cups day-old cooked rice
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce (optional, only if necessary)
  • pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ⅛ cup cilantro
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil for frying eggs (or poach)
  • Garnish – Sriracha Sauce and fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

HEALTHY VEGGIE KIMCHI RICE WITH HAPPY EGGS

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring, then turn heat down to medium.
  3. Add ginger and veggies. Saute until ginger is fragrant and veggies are tender, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add chopped kimchi, and cook until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add rice, and continue cooking and stirring until warm and combined, about 3 more minutes.(Add a bit more oil or a little water if too dry.)
  6. Add salt, taste and adjust. *Kimchi adds a lot of saltiness, so add salt sparingly and to taste, as each kimchi is different. If tasting bland, add soy sauce.
  7. Stir in the scallions.
  8. You could also stir in a handful of greens at this point, like baby spinach or arugula.
  9. Divide among two large bowls.
  10. Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan heat over medium-high heat.
  11. Crack the eggs into the skillet, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover with a lid.
  12. Cook until the egg white is cooked through and the yolk is just set. (or flip to cook over easy).
  13. Place each egg on top of the Kimchi rice.
  14. Sprinkle with cilantro and a generous squirt of Sriracha sauce.
  15. Serve immediately, breaking the yolk and letting act as a sauce over the rice.

Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat

Carmencitta Magazine - Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat 1

Carmencitta Magazine - Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat 2Ingredients:

1 lb packaged yakisoba
3-4 tablespoons oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
8 oz cabbage, sliced
2 oz celery, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce

 

 

Carmencitta Magazine - Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat3Method:

Discard the seasoning packages of the yakisoba noodles. Loosen up the yakisoba and set aside.

Heat up a wok or skillet over high heat, add the oil when it’s heated. Add the onion, cabbage, and celery into the wok, stir fry and toss continously until the vegetables become soft and some of them are sligthly charred. Add in the noodles and stir a few times before adding the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir continuously to combine all the ingredients in the wok. Dish out and serve immediately.

WARM POTATO SALAD W/ MUSTARD SEED DRESSING

carmencitta Magazine - WARM POTATO SALAD W MUSTARD SEED DRESSING 1
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 pounds tiny baby potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped cornishons
  • 4 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula
carmencitta Magazine - WARM POTATO SALAD W MUSTARD SEED DRESSING 2
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Blanch the potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Chop the scallions and cornishons, and place in a bowl.
  3. Add the blanched potatoes.
  4. Add the mustard, olive oil, caraway seeds and gently mix.
  5. Stir in the salt, pepper and arugula.
  6. Place in a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temp. Salad can also be served chilled.

Best-Ever Pineapple Cookies (Pineapple Tarts)

Best-Ever Pineapple Cookies (Pineapple Tarts)
Best-Ever Pineapple Cookies (Pineapple Tarts)
Ingredients:

3 sticks butter (350 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 oz (100 g) sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
18 oz (500 g) all-purpose flour or plain flour

Pineapple Filling:

2 whole pineapples (8 lbs / 3 1/2 kg) or 5 lbs (2 1/2 kg) pineapple flesh
1/2 tablespoon cloves, optional
1 – 1 1/2 cups (250 – 300 g) sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Egg Wash:

2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon oil

Method:

Best-Ever Pineapple Cookies (Pineapple Tarts)Cut the stalk off the pineapple and follow by the skin. Make sure all divits are removed. Slice the pineapple flesh into pieces and blend in a blender until they become puree. Add the pineapple puree and cloves to a non-stick pot and cook on medium heat, constantly stirring to avoid burning. When the pineapple is almost dry, add the sugar and lemon juice, stir to combine well. Lower the heat to simmer and continue to stir until the pineapple filling turns golden in color and becomes very sticky. Transfer the pineapple filling out, remove the cloves and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Best-Ever Pineapple Cookies (Pineapple Tarts)Cream the butter and condensed milk until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk one at a time, and beat until well combined. Mix in the flour slowly to form the pastry dough. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands.
Read more at http://rasamalaysia.com/best-ever-pineapple-cookies-pineapple-tarts/#FKvKaKzcwKsSam5y.99

TURMERIC BROTH DETOX SOUP

TURMERIC BROTH DETOX SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • TURMERIC BROTH DETOX SOUP
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion- diced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves- minced
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder (or 3 teaspoons fresh grated)
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ – ¼ teaspoons chipotle powder or cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lime or lemon juice
  • Optional Soup Additions:
  • Middle Eastern “Minestrone”
  • ½ cup basmati rice (dry) or pasta, quinoa (or 1½ cup cooked)
  • ½ cup little dry lentils (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (or canned, drained)
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • cilantro as garnish
  • Chickpea Cauliflower Kale Noodle
  • 1- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or chicken)
  • 4 ounces dry noodles
  • 1-2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 large handfuls chopped kale
  • Garnish with fresh herbs: cilantro, scallions, mint or dill and serve with lime
  • Other veggie options: carrots, celery, fennel, cauliflower, tomatoes, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, greens
  • INSTRUCTIONSTURMERIC BROTH DETOX SOUP
  1. In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, saute onion in 1-2 T olive oil over med-high heat for two minutes.
  2. Add ginger. Lower heat to medium and saute 5 minutes until it begins to brown, stirring often.
  3. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes. Add all the spices and cook 1 more minute.
  4. Add water, stock and salt.
  5. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add vinegar or citrus.
  7. Taste. Adjust salt, acid and spice level to your liking. At this point you will have a flavorful base to add what you like. You can also refrigerate or freeze this in batches for later use.
  8. Remember uncooked pasta and beans will double or triple in size, so add moderately.
  9. Remember to think and be sensible about cooking times for each ingredient you add.
  10. (see notes in post )
  11. Also, if you are cooking the broth for longer periods of time, uncovered, remember it will reduce, intensifying the flavor and salt, so you may need to add more water.

Roasted Shrimp Scampi

Carmencitta-magazine-Roasted-Shrimp-Scampi-1.j

Ingredients:

8 oz shelled and deveined medium-sized shrimp
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons melted butter or 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
Pinch of salt
3 dashes ground black pepper
Big pinch red pepper flakes
Lemon wedges, for serving

Carmencitta magazine- Roasted Shrimp Scampi 2

Method:

Carmencitta magazine- Roasted Shrimp Scampi 3

Preheat the oven to 550 F for broiling.Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. In a baking dish, combine the shrimp with the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine well.Roasted Shrimp Scampi – the easiest and BEST roasted shrimp scampi ever. 5 mins to prep, 5 mins in the oven and dinner is ready Transfer the baking dish to the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes, in the middle rack. Remove from the oven once the shrimp are cooked. Serve immediately with some lemon wedges, over pasta, rice, or eat as is.

 

BREAKFAST STRATA WITH MUSHROOMS, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE & THYME

Carmencitta MAgazine - STRATA WITH MUSHROOMS, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE & THYME 1
INGREDIENTS

Carmencitta MAgazine - STRATA WITH MUSHROOMS, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE & THYME2

  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
  • 4-5 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion – very thinly sliced into rings
  • 1-2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk (or half and half)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4-6 ounces goat cheese
  • thyme sprigs for garnish.
  • 1½ cups grated gruyere, jack, mozzerella cheese
INSTRUCTIONS

Carmencitta MAgazine - STRATA WITH MUSHROOMS, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE & THYME3

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut bread in to ¾ inch cubes, lay on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. If adding bacon, spread out on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crisp. (Blot, then cut into small pieces)
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add thinly sliced onions. Saute, mixing often for 2-3 minutes, then turn heat down to medium low, continuing to cook until golden and tender; about 10 minutes. In another large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add fresh thyme and a generous 3 finger pinch of salt and pepper. Add the caramelized onions to the mushrooms and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, add the toasted cubed bread. To this, add the mushroom-onion-thyme mixture and bacon crumbles if using. Add the grated cheese and ⅔ of the crumbled goat cheese (saving the rest for the top), and gently mix.
  7. Pour in the eggs and give a gentle stir. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir again and pour into a well greased 4 quart baking dish. (At this point you could refrigerate overnight).
  9. Cover with foil and place the 400 F oven and bake 35 minutes, Uncover, lower heat to 375 F and continue baking 20-30 more minutes until puffed and golden. During the last 10 minutes of baking, scatter the remaining goat cheese over the top and let it melt.
  10. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs.

Sweet tart blueberries

Carmencitta Magazine - Sweet tart blueberries 1
INGREDIENTS
  • Carmencitta Magazine - Sweet tart blueberries 21½ Cups Black Barley – or grain of your choice
  • 2 Cups blueberries
  • 1 Fennel bulb, shaved thinly
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 Orange, peeled and segmented, or sliced
  • ¼ Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • ¼ C walnuts
  • Citrus Bee Pollen Dressing
  • ½ C fresh orange juice
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • ⅛ Cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen ( optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place black barley in a medium pot with 4 Cups water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer one hour, until cooked al-dente. Drain and chill.
  2. Prep all the veggies, taking care to thinly slice the fennel bulb and red onion.
  3. ( I often use a sharp vegetable peeler or mandolin.)
  4. Carmencitta Magazine - Sweet tart blueberries 3Divide Black Barley among 4 bowls.
  5. Divide the rest of the ingredients- blueberries, fennel bulb, red onion, watercress, avocado, orange slices and walnuts – among the bowls.
  6. Make the dressing -stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  7. Divide the dressing among the bowls, drizzling over all the ingredients.
  8. Enjoy!

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