The holiday market at La Feria de Mercado del San Miguel at Bayfront Park closes Wednesday night, but the pop-up will continue to serve the foods of Spain under a giant tent through the end of January. The mercado, a spinoff of the historic one in Madrid, will move on to other U.S. cities.
Happily, I was able to snag the recipe for the traditional Tarta de Santiago from the purveyor and have adapted it for home cooks. The cake is mostly almonds, and no flour, so it is naturally gluten-free. It is usually marked with the cross of the knights of Santiago. You can actually buy a stencil, but I simply Googled “Santiago cross” and then printed out one on paper. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, remove it carefully, and you’ve got tradition covered.
La Feria de Mercado del San Miguel is located at 301 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami. Its hours through the end of the month are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday.
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Miami’s perennial cooking contest finalist, Naylet LaRochelle, has done it again. She is one of 10 to make it to the final stage of Lucky Leaf’s “Not Just Pie” national recipe contest. Her recipe — for a mascarpone- and cherry-filled cannoli — will now face off for public votes at LuckyLeaf.com/NotJustPie for a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize.
You can do a good deed by voting to support her: The company is donating $.50 for each vote cast to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Questions: Shrimp and sumac
Q. Right around Mother’s Day in 1986, you had a recipe for a shrimp dish made with so much butter you could only eat it for a special indulgence. I made it for my wife for her first Mother’s Day after our daughter was born. Now my daughter is having her own first child, and I’d like to make this for the welcome-home party if you can dredge up the recipe. I also remember it had cilantro, which was why I made it in the first place since my wife loved it.
Bill G., Miami Beach
A. The recipe came from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples, and was created by executive chef Bruno Mella. It is not only butter rich, but also uses cream — a certain New Year’s resolution-buster!
Q. I recently read a recipe in a magazine for a chickpea sandwich that called for sumac. The only sumac I know of is the stuff like poison ivy I learned to avoid at Girl Scout camp many years ago. Can you explain?
Donna Freck, Macon
A. The sumac referred to in the recipe is a ground, dried berry from a bush that grows wild in places like southern Italy and Iran and Africa, and is used pretty often in Middle Eastern cooking. It tastes kind of lemony and is quite astringent. I think the flavor is close to that of ground coriander, though some say it is more like a tart raspberry. It adds a beautiful punch of color when sprinkled on pale foods.
It is related to poison sumac, but its berries are red and your Girl Scout camp nemesis has white berries. There are professional foragers who can find edible sumac in the United States. It was once used as a medicine and was smoked in pipes by Native Americans. But I’d suggest picking it up in a market or online.
And, in a pinch, make that chickpea sandwich with just a squirt of lime or lemon as a substitute.
Linda Cicero: @TasteMemories. Write to Cook’s Corner at Food, Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.
Tarta de Santiago
Recipe from La Feria de Mercado del San Miguel. Marcona almonds are traditional. You may want to add the zest of an orange or lemon; add when beating the egg yolks.
8 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups ground) raw almonds
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs (7 large)
Butter for pan
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Grind the almonds fine in a food processor, pulsing carefully to avoid creaming. Set aside. Beat the egg yolks until light, then beat in the sugar until no grains remain. Fold in the almonds. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the batter, until no streaks remain (the batter is quite dense, so this will take some effort).
Generously butter an 11-inch torte or springform pan. (If you don’t have this size, use 2 8-inch cake pans). Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 25 minutes. (Note: I baked significantly longer to get a crispy top, about 40 minutes.) Let cool to room temperature and sift powdered sugar on top. If desired, use a sword stencil on the cake to create the traditional motif.
Yield: 12 servings
Gulf Shrimp Pasta with Garlic and Cilantro Butter
Recipe from Cook’s Corner archives, recipe by Bruno Mella.
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (15 per pound) peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh shallot
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (packed) chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 pound unsalted butter, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
12 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté shrimp on one side in heated olive oil in large heavy skillet. Turn and add garlic and shallots and sauté briefly, being sure not to brown the shallots. Remove shrimp so they will not overcook. Add the wine, vinegar and cilantro, and reduce until almost dry; do not burn the shallots and garlic. Add heavy cream and reduce until slightly thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in 2 1/2 sticks of the butter a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and finish with lemon juice to taste; you are looking for a slightly tangy taste. Add cooked shrimp and heat through. Sauté cooked angel hair pasta in 1/2 stick of the butter until melted and season with salt and pepper. To serve, divide pasta between plates and top with shrimp and sauce.
Yield: 4 servings
Cheery Cherry Coconut Cannoli
Recipe by Naylet LaRochelle. Toast coconut on a skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until lightly browned.
1 (8-ounce) package mascarpone cheese, softened
1 (21-ounce) can cherry fruit filling and topping, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, optional
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
6 ounces white chocolate, squares or chips
10 unfilled cannoli shells
Powdered sugar for dusting
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat mascarpone and 1 cup of the fruit filling until well combined and smooth. Stir in remaining fruit filling, vanilla extract and coconut extract. Cover; refrigerate while making cannoli shells.
Place coconut flakes in a small bowl. In a medium microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate until melted, about 1 minute. Stir until completely smooth. Immediately (working quickly), dip both ends of a cannoli shell in the white chocolate, then in the coconut flakes. Repeat on all shells and then place on a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate until chocolate is completely set.
Spoon cherry filling mixture into a piping bag; snip tip large enough for cherries to pass through. (alternatively, use a large resealable bag; seal and snip off one corner). Carefully, fill each cannoli shell completely with cherry filling. Arrange cannolis on a decorative platter and dust with powdered sugar to serve.
Yield: 10 servings