Tuesday, May 13, 2003

:: Culinary curiosities ::

Last week I experienced some “firsts” as far as Spanish cuisine is concerned: migas and cuajada.

Migas is a dish made from bread torn or shredded into little pieces, toasted lightly with some olive oil, garlic, and some other stuff. Think fried rice but using bread instead of rice. We had it as a side dish to accompany roast lamb. Excellent.

I had seen cuajada served various times last year, but my aversion to milk-based products (with the exception of chocolate and ice cream) kept me from trying it out, mostly out of fear of my stomach reacting badly.

This year, though, I resolved to throw caution to the wind and be game enough to try out anything that is proposed to me, whether it be a weekend hike to a place I know nothing about or some unknown dish. Thus came the offer to drive out to a small restaurant in overlooking the Ulzama valley to take cuajada. I had to look up the term in the dictionary, which gave me the translation: curds. I had to reach far back into my childhood to remember Miss Muffet, who sat on her tuffet eating curds and whey. Needless to say, remembering Miss Muffet gave me no idea what cuajada would be like, so I just jumped in when the dish was brought before us.

Cuajada is served cold, and has the consistency of taho. It has a similar taste, but more bland. We took it with miel (honey) and nueces (walnuts) instead of arnibal and sago, and it turned out to be surprisingly good. It was a heavy dish, though, and after a small bowl I was full.