The Weekly Whisk 5/11/18
Musings from a foodie…
I don’t usually go beyond Page 6 for my blog but I’m making an exception for this one because the dinner in Spain was over-the-top wonderful. Dinners in Spain are a festive occasion that is marked with lots of hugging, smiling, laughing and general conviviality. So, it was with excitement that we were invited to a “special” invitational dinner for the international guests at a Spanish Dermatology conference on Mallorca. For starters, there is Mallorca. What an island! It’s like Kauai, the Big Island and Maui all wrapped into one convenient package. We were then just days after the Mallorca 312 finished which is one of “the” cycling events in the world where the cyclist circumnavigates all 312 miles of the island. But, I digress. Back to food… Off we went to Flanigan [ * * * * *] or, what we were told was King Juan Carlos’ favorite restaurant. I can believe it. First, if I were King Juan Carlos, I would travel to Mallorca as much as I could to get away from the stress of leading the country. And, second, I’d stop in at Flanigan on every visit. They would be my hideaway on the island.
The dinner started with Jamon Pata Negra. The term refers to the color of the pigs' nails, which are white in most traditional pork breeds, but black for the Black Iberian breed. I got a short lesson in the differences between all of the “jamon’s” and they are definitely not the same. The term pata negra is often used to refer to jamón ibérico in general, which generally refers to any one of three types of jamon. The finest is called jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn). This ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests (called dehesas) along the border between Spain and Portugal, eating only acorns. The ham is cured for 36 months with the meat divided into two types: 1) Black label – which identifies the jamón as derived 100% from pure-bred Iberian pigs; or, 2) Red label – which identifies the jamón as derived from free-range pigs that are not pure-bred. Since 2014, the percentage of Iberian ancestry in the animal must be specified on the label. The next grade is called jamón ibérico cebo de campo or Green label where the pigs are pastured and fed a combination of acorns and grain. Finally, the third type is called jamón ibérico de cebo or White label which is ham derived from pigs that are only fed grain. These latter two types of ham are cured for 24 months.
Following the obligatory Black label Jamon, we moved on to the Tostadas Tomate or, diced tomato on toast with olive oil. It was fabulous. They then served a salad of Malloca tomatoes, which are much more solid than other tomatoes bought in the US with less fluid and a much more tart flavor. The tomatoes were served with Ventresca de Bonito or white tuna in olive oil. Then, came the “Spanish tortilla” or a diced potato and olive oil combination lightly cooked inside of an egg omelet where onions can be added as an option. This was followed by a very small fish (I didn’t get the name) cooked in olive oil.
After this amazing start, we moved on the main course where we had the option of Hake, pan seared in olive oil or a classic seared beef filet with both options served with French Fries. The fries were quite like McDonalds except made from real potatoes and they were crispy with slightly less salt. And, if that were not enough, they served a small salad of cut lettuce and sliced white onions topped lightly with a sweet vinaigrette dressing. But, the piece de resistance was the ultra-thin apple tart served with a creamy vanilla ice cream. It was to die for and, at the end of the meal I figured out why King Juan Carlos liked the place so much.
It was a classic upscale Spanish restaurant with dinner starting at 10:00 PM and ending around 12:30 AM for an “early” evening. Consider it if you get to La Palma, Mallorca. It’s about a 20-minute cab ride from the downtown/beach area. The cabbies will know how to find it. And, the VERY BEST part was their business card which is a wooden clothes pin with the name, address, phone number and web address marked on the pin. It’s quite a reminder. I’m thinking about handing out baby whisks with my contact information. They’re remember me then… Enjoy!!! Flanigan – Puerto Portals, Local 16 – 07181 Calvia Illes Balears, Mallorca, Spain +34 (971) 67 91 91 – www.flanigan.es