Chef Pernot works alongside native Cuban chef Chef Luis Alberto Alfonso Perez.
1¼ pounds malanga, grated
1½ eggs, beaten
⅓ cup water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic cloves, microplaned
Grate the malanga on a box grater with the fine side to get ‘ribbons’. Take 8 ounces of malanga and process using a food processor. Pulse several times to break it down more finely. Combine malanga, eggs, water, salt, cilantro, and garlic.
To cook, heat oil to 360ºF. Spoon malanga fritters into the hot oil using a small scoop. Fry until golden brown (approximately 5 -7 minutes).
Serve with a Taramindo Ketchup (recipe follows).
Makes 2 cup
7 ounces jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
1 ounce garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 ounces dark brown sugar
8 ounces tamarind pulp
¾ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup water
¾ cup ketchup
Combine all ingredients together until well blended.
Pulpo con Berenjenas
1 pound baby octopus, defrosted
1 gallon poaching liquid (recipe follows)
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 lime, juice and zest
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
½ tablespoon minced garlic
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil. Add octopus and allow water to come to a simmer. Once simmering, turn off the heat and allow the baby octopus to sit in the water for 5 minutes.
Remove from the water using a strainer or tongs and lay out onto a sheet tray. Allow them to cool without shocking them.
Marinate the octopus by combining the citrus juice and zest, red pepper, olive oil, truffle oil, minced garlic and chopped parsley. Combine with and allow octopus to marinate overnight in a shallow container.
Before serving, drain the octopus and grill on a cooling rack, so that the octopus does not fall through the grill until lightly charred and tentacles curled.
**Be sure to drain the octopus fairly well before grilling in order to avoid flare-ups caused by burning oil.
Serve with a Haitian Eggplant Salad (recipe follows).
Makes 1 gallon
1 gallon water
2½ tablespoons pickling spice
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
⅓ cup Kosher salt
1⅓ cups hot sauce
Combine all ingredients including juice from squeezed lemons and empty lemon halves, in an appropriate pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the solids and use the liquid immediately for poaching or braising, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze.
Haitian Eggplant Salad
14 ounces eggplant, peeled and sliced
Water to cover
½ tablespoon Kosher salt
1 ounce red bell peppers, very small dice
1 ounce yellow bell peppers, very small dice
1 ounce red onion, small dice and washed
⅓ knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
¼ tablespoon minced garlic
Peel the eggplant and slice into discs about 1 inch thick. Place the eggplant in a large pot and cover with water and salt. Put a plate on top of the eggplant to submerge it completely in water, then place on the stove. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and poach until the eggplant is translucent. Once the eggplant is done, remove from the water and strain. Once the eggplant is cool, chop to a fine consistency by hand. Combine with remaining ingredients.
Allow to sit for at least 24 hours.
Nationally renowned restaurateur Guillermo Pernot, a James Beard winner, has traveled to Cuba several times over the past year to absorb everything he could about the Cuban culture.
Atún en Lata
¾ pound tuna loin, cut into 12 slices
4 tablespoons blended oil
4 tablespoons Cumin Curry Oil (recipe follows)
1 ounce jalapeño chiles, cut into wheels
2 ounces kalamata olives
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
On the bottom of a shallow Mason canning jar, layer the onions, then season with salt. Top with a slice of tuna. Season the tuna with salt. Top the tuna with the olives. Top the olives with the third slice of tuna and season with salt. Top with jalapeño slices. Pour the oils in and seal the jar.
To cook the jars: Place a towel in the bottom of a pot and place the jars inside. Cover the tops of the jars by 2 inches of water. Slowly bring the temperature of the water up to 150º F. Once the temperature reaches 150º F, remove the jars from the hot water and cool in the refrigerator without opening.
Serve with a hard boiled egg, caper berries, Spanish chorizo, manchego cheese, pickled okra, mixed olive salad and a romaine and arugula salad with red wine vinaigrette.
Cumin Curry Oil
Makes 1-1/2 quarts
4 ounces shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cups blended oil
1 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for one minute. Set aside and allow to steep overnight. Strain and reserve the oil.
Sopa Levanta Muerto
4 ounces lump crabmeat
4 ounces shrimp (71-90 count)
8 ounces bay scallops
½ cup canned coconut milk
3 cups Levanta Muerto Soup Base (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons scallions, minced
4 wedges lemon
4 wedges limes
4 sprigs Italian parsley
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the Levant Muerto Soup Base along with the mussels. Cook until the mussels open. Add the remaining seafood and simmer for another 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk and swirl to combine. Transfer the soup to 4 serving bowls. Drizzle each bowl with truffle oil and garnish with chopped scallions. Serve with lemon and lime wedges and a sprig of parsley.
Levanta Muerto Soup Base
Makes 1 gallon
13 ounces canned coconut milk
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces diced onions
3 ears of corn, roasted and stripped from the cob
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 ounces red bell peppers, diced
4 ounces green bell peppers, diced
¼ ounce habanero chiles, minced
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 ounce fresh lemongrass, 3” pieces, bruised
1 pound Roma tomatoes, roasted, peeled and diced
1 gallon lobster stock
1½ tablespoons seafood base
½ tablespoon roasted southwest vegetable base
1 tablespoons Aji Amarillo
In a large saucepan, reduce the coconut milk over medium heat. While it is reducing, roast the tomatoes in the oven. Let them cool before peeling and dicing them.
In a stockpot, sauté the onions, corn, garlic, red and green peppers, habanero, sugar, spices, salt and lemongrass. When the bottom of the pot begins to caramelize, add the diced roasted tomatoes, lobster stock, seafood base, vegetable base and Aji Amarillo. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Simmer for ½ hour, skimming periodically if necessary. Add reduced coconut milk. Transfer to a storage container until ready to use.
Chef Pernot helping out at a Cuban pig roast.
Chef Guillermo Pernot prepping ingredients at Finca Miguel's open-air kitchen.
2 loaves Cuban bread, cut into thirds and halved
6 ounces Genoa salami, thinly sliced
12 ounces chef’s country style ham, thinly sliced
12 ounces boneless pork loin, thinly sliced (recipe follows)
6 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
6 ounces Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
6 ounces Pickle and yellow mustard relish (recipe follows)
Chef Guillermo Pernot is a nationally-renowned chef and restaurateur who currently runs Cuba Libre, with locations in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando and Washington D.C.