Andorra's Pa amb tomàquet and Mel i MatóMonday, November 21, 2016
It's been six months since I last posted for #GlobeCookingMad series. Trust me, I have been working on finding a good recipe for Andorra and even cooked some of them but they weren’t to my liking. There were days when I thought of moving on to the next country as I lost the "spark" for finding a good dish from Andorra.
Within the first few days of swarming the internet, I learnt that most of their dishes are seafood or not halal which left me with very few options. You should know by now, I don't cook seafood as F doesn't eat (except for shrimps) and I am not a great fan either. Currently, we have a whiff of tuna that Ragee relishes every day!
About the country, Andorra is officially called the Principality of Andorra and is in South-Western Europe sharing borders with Spain and France. Which is why Andorra’s cuisine is largely influenced by Catalan cuisine.
I spotted Pa amb tomàquet, which translates to bread and tomato in Catalan; a very easy recipe with most simple and basic ingredients. As it is too easy to appear alone on the blog, I continued the hunt for another Andorran recipe to adorn my blog and compensate the time I spent researching! :-P That is how I came across Mel i Mató, a cheese dessert!
Pa amb tomàquet
Pa amb tomàquet is traditionally served alongside a meal. The custom is to first rub a halved clove of garlic on a toasted slice of country bread, followed by a halved tomato, and finally, top it off with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt. Garlic, tomato with olive oil soaks into the bread resulting in an explosion of flavour that is crunchy and soft. I was truly amazed how a simple dish can bring out great flavours. This is also served combined with cold cuts of meat which I am sure would make a great snack.
Toasted slices of any rustic country bread
Serve as a starter individually or in a big salad plate so each one can dig in and make their own bread and tomato.
Mel i Mató
Mel i Mató is a very local Catalan dessert made from mató – a fresh whole milk cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk which is very similar in texture to ricotta cheese but milder in taste. Mel i Mató is served with any Fragrant or floral local honey, such as acacia, rosemary, or orange blossom, which is drizzled and a medley of nuts sprinkled.
I made the Mató cheese from scratch and was bowled at its smooth and creamy texture. Honey adds a sweetness and the nuts add a crunchy texture, resulting in a light yet delicious dessert. Mel i Mató is definitely a healthier option when compared to cakes and puddings so guilty feelings are at bay.
Adapted from Shbarcelona
500 ml full-fat whole milk
1/2 lemon's juice
Choice of honey
Choice of nuts, crushed roughly (walnuts, pine nuts, and pistachios)
Things: fine mesh colander and cheese cloth
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and then take it off the heat
- Add the lemon juice to the hot milk and stir well until it curdles
- Line a fine mesh colander with a cheesecloth and press the mixture through until all the visible whey is drained off and you have a lump of mató cheese
- Place the colander over a bowl and keep it in the fridge for couple of hours to drain off the excess water and keep the cheese cold and ready to serve
- When you’re ready to serve, add the honey and the crushed nuts
- Scoop and enjoy!
The flower you are seeing in the Mel i Mató pics is from the bouquet F got me that week. I used it to capture the memory of both the events - the gesture and the cheese making! :-P
Phew.. Adieu to Andorra!
Here I come Angola!