Odd the way that synchronicity pops up. While I was on vacation, I had been brainstorming on what dishes to make when I got back. I needed to have a bit of a plan in place to prevent an abject fall into meandering depression and inaction. What can I say, forethought prevents laziness. So, I started thinking about Peruvian cuisine and hit upon the idea of making Lomo Saltado. Great idea says i. and then, wouldn’t you know it, our dear friends invite us to dinner the night before I leave and what is on the menu? Lomo. Of course. Mike has the advantage of having the cuisine in his lifeblood, I almost feel bad about even trying to cook it but hey, I decided to give it the old college try.
Lomo is basically a south American stir fry. It is traditionally served on fries with rice on the side. Easy, one dish, tasty. I like it. The key for me is the marinating time. The longer the meat marinates, the more flavorful and tender it will be. Start by thinly slicing a pound and a half of sirloin into strips, cutting against the grain and at a slight angle. Against the grain will minimize the length of the connective tissues in each slice, increasing tenderness in the end product. Thank you mister Alton Brown for my continuing education in all things culinary. Place in a large glass dish that you have a lid for so that you can refrigerate after mixing the marinade. Add to this one head of garlic, peeled and crushed, a liberal pour of white vinegar, the juice of one lime, a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, a liberally sprinkling of cayenne pepper, a bit of ground cumin and salt. Refrigerate for 3 hours, shaking the dish every half hour or so to make sure everything is nice and coated.
Meanwhile, turn your attention to your fries. Peel and cut 3 russet potatoes into fry shapes. I made mine relatively thin, make them thicker if that’s what appeals to you. I decided to cook them in two stages, first, tossed with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes to soften them. Then, I shallow fried them in hot canola oil for about three minutes until crispy on the outside, working in batches and draining well. Put the fries back in the oven, lowering the heat to warm or 200 degrees to keep them at a nice temperature while you finish everything else.
For the rice, I had a bit of spicy chicken broth from when I cooked down some chicken thighs a few meals back in the freezer so I decided to use it in place of water for the additional flavor. It was also pre salted so I didn’t need to season the water whatsoever. Bring 2 cups of broth to a boil and add 1 cup of rice. Stir in a small can of corn kernels and the remainder of the chopped cilantro left over from the bunch you mangled for the marinade. Cover and turn the heat off, leaving to cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Back to the lomo itself. This dish required a bigger pan that I had available to me but I made due with the biggest one I had. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan or wok if you have one. Stir fry the beef until it starts to brown and then add in 2 red onions, cut into eights and 4 red jalapenos, deseeded and cut into strips. Cook these until the onions begin to soften and then add 4 large tomatoes cut into quarters. Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the tomatoes are warm and start to soften. Serve over the fries with the rice on the side.
There is something to be said about not just what you eat but where you eat it. While this dish was prepared well and tasted outstanding, I definitely preferred the lomo that I ate sitting beside my wife at the table of my great friends Mike and Jess… that’s an ingredient I am definitely missing here in korea. (no disrespect meant to eddie, he understands I am sure.)