Tour De Farm Preview: Rype and Readi
The following guest post was written by one of our own Board members, Mary Ann Rosenthal. Read on for Mary Ann’s bio. Ahh. . . . memories of Lisbon were dancing in my head recently at a Portuguese Cataplana cooking class, at the Rype & Readi farm market at the Route 207 and CR 305 intersection in Elkton. Recently back from a trip to Lisbon in late May, and still in love with the country of Portugal and it’s rich Moorish traditions and lovely tiles and architecture, my husband Bill and I were excited to see an actual demonstration of cataplana cooking.
Neither of us ordered it while in Lisbon, but our travelling companions did. They enjoyed their lidded copper cataplana (steamer) creation at a Rick Steves recommended restaurant above the Alfama district where we stayed, and directly below the Castelo de Sao Jorge. Lisbon, particularly the Alfama with its narrow streets and trolleys, is a very interesting city and well worth visiting. Cataplana, however was developed in the Algarve area of Portugal, far from Lisbon, and has been commonplace since the Moors ruled the area over 600 years ago. Now it is featured in Lisbon restaurants eager to introduce visitors to this lovely old world traditional cooking style.
Chef Gareth Alonso of St. Augustine’s Black Fly Restaurant, did not disappoint. Owner Sebastien Gros, Dr. Ripp Smith and Sebastien’s daughter Mimi, along with half a dozen other staff created a warm and gracious classroom dining area and offered typical Tapas, spicy Gazpacho, a Presunto and Date Salad and a homemade cinnamon ice cream dessert (topped with black cherries flambed in the steamer).
However the real stars of the class were the trio of beautiful, copper cataplanas or domed steamers with lids; one for each table, so students could create their own seafood combos from local shrimp and fish, Cedar Key Clams, PEI mussels and Steinhatchee scallops.
The shells went in first, followed by fish, some oil and seasonings, then the fish and scallops and finally the chorizo sausage and Mayport shrimp. A splash of Vino Verde or light white wine (not too much) was added and then the lid was clamped. The assembled seafood takes 10 minutes or less to cook on a gas flame, in the steamer, and the broth it creates is magic, perfect with an orzo or pasta companion.
Doing the class together was a special treat for Bill and me. Actually a belated anniversary — we decided to do this instead of a dinner “out.” Chef Alonso, Sebastien and all the staff made the class a pleasant learning experience and created a lovely variety of tastes to sample along with the Portuguese regional wines they served. Try one of his classes soon and look forward to stopping there on the November 15th Tour de Farm. Follow them on Facebook or visit his website often for more information on a Farm to Fork Brazilian Grilling dinner to celebrate the Tour de Farm — on the evening of November 14th. Stay tuned for more from this innovative farm stand operation and go visit them to check out their gourmet foods. Most are locally sourced!
Mary Ann Rosenthal has worked as a graphic designer, a marketing professional and is a web content curator for Thought Projects, LLC., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. She is a board member of Slow Food First Coast and is co-owner with husband Bill, of the St. Augustine Antique Emporium at 62 San Marco, St. Augustine, FL, and Vintage St. Augustine on Etsy.