A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to taste Bar Gitano’s rejuvenated menu. Chef Carlos Vázquez has added delicious small plates to the tasca’s already popular dishes – and inspired a salad recipe that would be right at home with them.
Some of Bar Gitano’s new menu items developed by Chef Vázquez include:
- Veal and pork meatballs braised in sherry with tomatoes, shallots and migas
- Arugula salad w roasted beets, fried goat cheese nuggets and pistachio and fig jam vinaigrette
- Brandada de Bacalao: Codfish croquettes with lime aioli
- Goat cheese pizzeta with romesco, fig jam, truffle oil & arugula
- Lamb skewers with mint salsa verde and fennel salad
- Mussels with chorizo in a rich pimenton-wine broth & toasted bread
- Medjool dates stuffed with Valdeón cheese wrapped in bacon
- Coconut Cake Gitano with guava mousse and topped with toasted meringue
I still had those Spanish flavors dancing on my mouth last week when I went to the farmers’ market. One of the dishes we enjoyed the most during the tasting was the coca de queso – a goat cheese pizzeta with romesco, fig jam truffle oil and arugula. It was the perfect blend of sweet, salty and bitter. I translated some of these flavors into a kale and rainbow chard salad with roasted calabaza, sautéed portobello mushrooms, lentil sprouts and a romesco vinaigrette.
Romesco is a Catalonian sauce made primarily with roasted peppers and nuts. There are many versions of this sauce out there, varying the nuts, adding garlic and other spices. I kept the recipe simple for our romesco vinaigrette, opting to use one roasted pepper, a handful of almonds, and a clove of garlic. The vinaigrette’s tang comes from sherry vinegar.
Bar Gitano – located on 1302 Ashford Avenue in the Condado area of San Juan – opens on Monday to Saturday from 4:00pm to 2:00am and on Sundays from 12:00pm through 11:00pm. Tempt your eyes through their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and pay them a visit soon. The new menu items were tasted as part of a media activity. All opinions are my own.