December 12, 2012

Chef Spotlight—an el Restaurante Mexicano Web Exclusive!

Ronaldo Linares

Executive Chef Martino’s Cuban Restaurant

Somerville, New Jersey (

Featured chef on BBC America's Chef Race and The Food Network's Chopped

Chef Ronaldo Linares, who heads the kitchen at his father’s popular New Jersey Cuban restaurant, is a busy man these days. He entered the realm of celebrity chef and television star with appearances on BBC America’s Chef Race and on The Food Network’s acclaimed show, Chopped. He kindly shares two of his favorite recipes with el Restaurante Mexicano, just in time for the holidays:

*Roasted Sweet Plantains with Roasted Poblano Pepper Guava Sauce

*Curry Adobo-Rubbed Flank Steak

Roasted Sweet Plantains with Roasted Poblano Pepper Guava Sauce and Crumbled Queso Blanco

Makes 2 to 4 appetizer servings

2 ripe plantains

1 poblano pepper (diced)

¼ cup cubed guava

2/3 cup stock

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

¼ cup rice vinegar

½ shallot (diced)

1 clove of garlic (diced)

½ cup queso blanco (white cheese)

2 large sheets of foil

Pre-heat oven to 400’ Cut of the ends (tips) of the plantain, insert the tip of a paring knife and run it from top to bottom about ½ inch in. Wrap plantains in foil. Place in oven for 20 minutes.

Wash poblano pepper, rub a little bit of oil on the outside and place on flame or in oven if you have an electric top until the outside is charred. Once pepper is done place in bowl and cover so steam could loosen the skin, then run under cold water to remove the char and dice.

In small saucepan add stock, shallots, garlic, poblano pepper, guava, and bring up to a rolling simmer, cook till paste is smooth. At this point add rice vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk well to make sure you don’t have any lumps in the sauce.  Turn to low temp for 2 minutes. Pour sauce in food processor or blender, blend till sauce is smooth.

Once the plantains are done, remove foil and cut into four equal pieces. Carefully split open the plantain where you made the cut to place filling.  Add guava sauce, queso blanco, and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!!!

Curry Adobo Rubbed Flank Steak

Makes 4 to servings

The Spice Rub

½ tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. cracked black pepper

½ tsp. Chinese ginger

½ tsp. ground cumin

Mix all the spices in a small bowl, set aside

The Steak

1 flank steak

½ medium onion (sliced)

½ red pepper (sliced)

½ onion (sliced)

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup stock

2 tbsp. olive oil

Cilantro minced for garnish.

Lay the flank steak on cutting board, round side would be the top and bottom side would be the flat side. With a meat mallet, pound the meat to tenderize it, but be gentle.  Always do everything with love. Rub adobo on the round side of the flank steak; make sure you massage the rub into every corner of the meat.  Set meat aside so it could come up to room temperature.  Setting meat at room temperature results in more tender juicier meat.

Pre-heat large sauté pan, once heated, add oil, wait 10 seconds and place flank steak rub side down, press it to the pan and sear for 3 minutes. At this point, season with salt and pepper, then flip over meat, sear 3 minutes. Set meat aside.

In same pan add the Sofrito (sliced onions and red+green peppers), tomato paste, season with salt+pepper and sauté until vegetables are translucent. Add stock to the pan to de-glaze and simmer for about 1 minute, add to casserole dish. Place flank steak on top and cover with foil. Place in pre-heated oven to 250° for 50 minutes. Once finished, remove dish from oven, remove meat and place on a rack to rest for 10 minutes.

In a blender, blend the sauce from casserole and the Sofrito to finish your sauce.  Add to a saucepan, reheat for 3 minutes, and adjust seasoning if needed.  Fold in cilantro and plate as you wish!!!

December 12, 2012

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