I know that Stacked Food is oh, so very five seasons ago and since then the uber chefs of the world have moved on and through many other fancies and fads. We’ve had Fusion illusion, Tasting Menus and Tapa’s everything and now we’re looking at 100 mile menu’s and locavore, seasonal, home style cooking. All of which I’ve loved and lavished my attentions upon in turn in as much as I love food in it’s myriad of forms. The simple truth is that I am honestly as happy eating beans on toast in a greasy spoon as I am sampling the delicacies of the best sushi houses with the manicured and be-sequined. But there’s something about the stack that I keep coming back to. I think that at the end of the day, for a generally competent home cook, it’s such a simple technique that usually leaves me looking far more accomplished than I ever could be in front of a table of hungry guests. I love the way it leaves space on the plate for sides and sauces and I love that it’s obvious that the various layers where thought about and meant to be eaten together, to compliment each other; instead of a random selection of cooked things from what I happened to have in the cupboard at the time.
* note: I served this with Polenta at the base of the stack, cooked with water and a teaspoon of rosemary , finished with some Spanish goat cheese for a bit of cheesy zing. I’m not giving you the recipe for that as it’s pretty straight forward, non? There was a fresh salad of greens on the side and watercress as a garnish.
**you may be tempted to use a nasty wine in the dish; try not to. Use what ever you’re drinking at the table, you’ll taste the difference.
Spanish Stack with Chorizo
Olive oil (about 2 Tbsp)
100 – 150g Shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 brown onion, sliced2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
100ml dry red wine
½ large (or 1 small) red pepper, thickly sliced
1 Chorizo sausage, thickly sliced
1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
½tsp dried Rosemary
salt to taste
1 med head broccoli, florets only
1 medium shallot
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
Olive oil (about 2 Tbsp)
Squeeze of lemon juice (about 2 Tbsp)
salt and pepper to taste
– heat olive oil over a medium heat in a large sauce pan or skillet.
– gently cook the mushrooms with the onion and until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute to caramalise.
– deglaze with the wine then add the pepper and chorizo, then the spices and herbs. Simmer until the peppers are soft, about 10 mins.
– in a food processor, process the broccoli florets with the shallot until finely chopped (or chop by hand)
– heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the broccoli/shallot with the sesame seeds for just a few minutes, until tender but still bright green. Season to taste with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
-Layer your stack starting with the polenta, topped with the chorizo melange and ending with the broccoli. The watercress garnish worked very well with all those richer flavours.