Luis Caseiro remembers watching his mother baking cakes in the family kitchen.
“I was truly intrigued by that,” Caseiro said. “So much so, that I tried to mimic her by making sugar and butter ‘sandwiches’ for my younger brother. That’s how I had my start in pastry-making.”
And the rest is history.
Caseiro, an innovative Portuguese chef whose culinary career spans more than 15 years, is the executive chef at New York’s Alfama restaurant. Previously, he was affiliated with Hotel Flor de Sal, a small luxury hotel in the charming Portuguese town of Viana do Castelo, 45 miles north of Oporto.
Having also lived on the Chinese island of Macau — a former Portuguese colony — for two years, Caseiro brings an innovative flair to Alfama’s traditional Portuguese menu.
“Portuguese cuisine is earthy,” he said. “The flavors are bold and its base is quite healthy — fresh seafood, vegetables and the purest of olive oils. Dry salt cod is a major staple and there are hundreds of ways to prepare it: broiled, boiled, baked, roasted, sautéed, fried, grilled and many garnishes to go along with it. There aren’t too many sauces to mask the flavor of anything. I’d call it ‘honest’ cuisine.
“What I bring to the table is the fact that I lived in Asia for two years, precisely in Macau, a former Portuguese colony,” Caseiro added. “What was interesting about living there was seeing how much of a culinary exchange had taken place between the two cultures — Chinese and Portuguese. Upon joining Alfama, I decided to create a section of the menu called ‘new wave Portuguese,’ which is reflective of the age of Portuguese navigation and discovery when the Portuguese were present in so many different parts of the world including India, China, Malaysia, Japan, Angola, Mozambique, Guiné-Bissau and Brazil. It is really amazing how we influenced the cuisines of these cultures and, in turn, were influenced by them.”
Seared red snapper in a mussel saffron soup with crispy leeks Serves 1
6-ounce red snapper fillet
1 leek, cut into thin strips
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup diced white onion
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shrimp stock or water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Trim away the heavy green part of the leek. Take the white part of the leek, cut away the root and halve it lengthwise. Peel away the layers until you reach the center; discard the yellow “heart” of the leek. Flatten the external white parts of the leek and cut into even-sized strips. Soak strips in ice water for at least an hour or overnight. Heat olive oil to 350 degrees and deep-fry the leeks until crispy. Set aside.
Steam 10 mussels in 1 cup water. Discard any that do not open. Remove from heat. Strain the liquid, set aside. Remove meat from the mussels and discard the shells. In a stockpot, heat olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add saffron and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mussel broth, shrimp stock (or water) and mussel meat. Simmer for 30 minutes, add cream and blend. Strain soup. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, make three evenly spaced slits on the skin side of the red snapper fillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil until it is lightly smoky. Add the fish, skin side down first, and cook until crispy. Flip fish over and add the saffron mussel sauce along with the five remaining mussels. Cook until mussels open and the fish is moist and flaky, about 5 minutes.
PRESENTATION: Place five mussels in bowl and top off with the red snapper. Pour the remaining sauce in the pan over the fish and garnish with the crispy leeks.
Crispy bronzini with gingered yams and arugula in star anise sauce Serves 1
6-ounce bronzini fillet
1/2 pound yams
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 pound butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup arugula
3 star anise pods
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
Boil yams in water until tender. Let yams cool. Peel and purée through a food mill or ricer (If you do not have either of these items you can just mash with a fork until smooth). Return purée to the stove and mix in grated ginger, butter, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Set aside.
Combine wine, star anise, onions and fish stock over medium heat. Reduce to half. Add remaining cream. Simmer until reduced by half. Blend sauce and strain.
Divide the bronzini into two equal pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Add bronzini and sear, skin side down first. Cook until tender, about three minutes each side. Reheat yam purée and adjust consistency with heavy cream.
PRESENTATION: Place yam purée in center of plate. Top with arugula, then the bronzini. Drizzle sauce around plate and serve.
551 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
tel 212 645 2500
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.