DOS HERMANOS SUNDAY EDITION: PICANHA PEQUENA
While the rest of Britain shivered London sweltered (no, really) under an unrelenting sun. Well, that’s what it felt like in our south-facing living room. What with the heat and Brazilians doing so well in the EPL it seemed apposite to go Brazilian…food and drink-wise that is.
First up Caipirinha. Scrunch up lots of lime segments with some sugar in a thick glass until the sugar dissolves and the lime has given up it’s precious and rare oils. Fill the glass with ice then pour in a suitable amount of Cachacha. Stir around and drink while soaking up the sun and listening to some Tropicália on the stereo.
Next up a cut of Beef I’ve never tried before. Picanha is the Brazilian name for what we know over here as Rump Cap (aka Tapa de Cuadril in Argentina). My piece of meat was about 1.5 kg and came from the estimable Jack O’Shea. I was thinking of making some Empanadas for starters but settled for one of J’OS’s Sausage Rolls.
I forgot to give the roll an egg wash but after forty-odd minutes in the oven the pastry was nice and flaky and the meat well-seasoned , meaty and dense.
The Picanha went into a oven set at a fearsomely high heat for about 20 minutes. The oven was turned down for the remainder of the cooking time (about thirty minutes). This gave produced a joint that was mostly medium rare. I prefer it a bit rarer so if you’re a like-minded soul reduce the temperature for the second phase. You also need to rest the joint after cooking.
Compared to our usual Beef Rib the Picanha was quite different. You can cut big slabs of tender meat that have (obviously) a great taste – a combination of properly hung beef with nice layer of fat – but it does become a bit samey if you’re eating a lot.
I’d have to say I prefer the visceral pleasure of the Rib where you have a wider variety of bits to try and, of course, there’s a big bone or two to gnaw on. That said, it would be perfect if you were cooking it for a number of people as it’s easy to carve and there’s no waste.
For an accompaniment I made some Chimichuuri. Recipes abound on the internet so taking a bit from each my version was a mixture of the following: Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Oregano, Flat Leaf Parsley, Paprika, Spring Onion, Tomato, Garlic, Red Pepper and Chilli (dried and fresh). I made it a couple of days earlier and it was very tasty (I’m still eating it with the leftovers of the beef).
A bottle of Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva ’96 I had knocking around still had legs and brought everything together nicely.