empanada the fromsoiltosoul way!


Last night I cooked dinner at my friend Levis’ house on the island of Ometepe, in southern Nicaragua. The menu was very Spanish, and the same dishes I’ve been cooking lately at the houses I’ve been staying at: empanada, tortilla de patatas and a salad. The difference last night was how we procured some of the ingredients. The fish we caught straight from the lake, where Levis showed off his skill with the atarraya, the local round net used for fishing from land or from a boat. The lake was actually quite rough, since it had been windy all day, and it didn’t make for the best fishing conditions. Neither were there many fish around nor was it easy to throw the net whilst being bashed about by the waves. Despite all these difficulties, Levis showed us how it can still be done, and we came back after just about an hour with six fish, two guapote, two mojarras, a guabina and a sandillero or chavarrillo, which is silvery like a sardine, and only our friend Carlitros came out with a small scrape from being dragged over a rock by a swell.
Once we got home it was time to start cooking, and the stakes were high. We wanted to make three different dishes and I still wanted to make some banana bread to sell after that, plus we were all hungry already… So I started by slicing the onions and peppers for the empanada and the omelet, so that those could start cooking while I prepared the fish. In the meantime we had another team building the fire in the oven and in the fire pit outside to fry the onions and potatoes for the omelet and some other people preparing the salad and heading out at regular intervals for some nice cold 1-litre Toñas. The dough for the empanada had been rising since before we went out fishing. 😉
The empanada had fried onions and peppers with some garlic, the meat we managed to pry away from the fish and tomato paste, which we wet with a broth we made from the fish heads and bones, to enhance the fishy flavour of the not-so-generous-on-fish empanada.
The tortilla was a standard Spanish omelet, with just onions and potatoes and five eggs. We made it on a stove that wasn’t very level, so it came out much thicker one one side than the other, but it was still tasty. 🙂
The salad we made using carrots, tomatoes, a cucumber and beetroot with an orange juice dressing.
Unfortunately we were all so busy fishing, cooking and greedily gobbling down the meal that I don’t have a single photo, but I’ll try to make up for it with photos from other similar occasions to help you get an idea of how it all went down.
Happy cooking and happy living to you all! 🙂


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