Take this dish we had at Lokal, which you may recall from my last post:
So, to get this flavor profile without the heaviness, I used grilled portabellas rather than meat, a fluffy carrot puree instead of a gravy, whole grain wheat berries in place of starchy white bread, and a lemony, tart cranberry creme fraiche. This was, in a word, a hit.
Grilled Portabella with a Garlicky Carrot Puree, Wheat Berries, & Cranberry Creme Fraiche
8 oz carrots, peeled
1/3 cup table cream
1 T lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter, unsalted
salt & pepper, to taste
Boil the carrots until very soft, and plunge into cold water. Pat dry. Mash by hand and combine with the cream and lemon juice. Puree with an immersion blender or in a stand blender until smooth. Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat until melted. Add the garlic and allow it to infuse the butter. Add the carrot puree and heat until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
1 cup wheat berries
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 T fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
Toast the berried in a saucepot over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until soft and the liquid has absorbed; about 1 1/2 hours. When finished, stir in the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Cranberry Creme Fraiche:
2 T dried cranberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Combine ingredients and blend until almost smooth
salt and pepper
Remove the stem from the mushrooms and gently wipe any dirt from the caps. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill either on a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium heat for about 6 minutes per side.
I think the dish is best when you get a forkful of mushroom, carrot puree, and cranberry altogether - the sweet, salty, tangy and umami is in great balance ... if I do say so myself. As I am a firm believer that all leftovers taste better in taco form, if you have any, chop up the portabella and mix it with the wheat berries and carrot puree and eat it on a corn tortilla.
Stay tuned for more adventures in Prague!