BEIRUT: It’s not every day that a huge event like the World Cup is around — no really, it’s only here every four years — and the best part about special events like these, is the get-togethers and watching parties that happen during that one month of non-stop football. Scratch that, the best part is really the food, which is actually the key to a successful get-together.
This World Cup has been no stranger to surprises, especially after the most historically powerful teams not even qualifying to the upcoming quarterfinals (i.e.: Germany, Spain, etc...)
With the countries that are left competing for the golden cup, it might be a good idea to celebrate them, the sport, and the get-togethers with a selection of snacks, originating from the countries that are qualifying to the quarterfinals.
So, let’s begin with the first three countries of these series.
Traditionally, this dish is served as an appetizer-dinner, which means that they only have this appetizer for dinner. It’s a very simple, go-to summery appetizer that can be easily prepared in a matter of minutes, and also perfect for sharing. It’s ideally served with garlic-parmesan sauce, garnished with fresh herbs.
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
2-3 sliced tomatoes
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp of Mayonnaise
2 crushed cloves of garlic
Fresh herbs to garnish (basil, oregano, thyme, etc)
1. Slice eggplants, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Use an electric grill, and place the eggplant slices for about five minutes until they are cooked; you can also fry or bake the eggplant slices.
3. Mix the grated parmesan cheese, crushed garlic, mayonnaise and pepper in a small bowl.
4. Arrange the eggplant slices on a plate, top each one with a slice of tomato and a spoon of the garlic-parmesan mixture.
5. Garnish each slice with a fresh herb.
Is it possible that Luis Suàrez and Edinson Cavani snack on those during halftime?
In other words, Chickpea Flatbread. Believe it or not, this flatbread is normally served with pizza! No, no, not as a base for pizza toppings, but actually alongside it. As it’s essentially made of chickpea flour, this recipe is ideal for anybody with gluten allergies; also note that the recipe is vegan-friendly.
2 cups (500 ml) chickpea flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to grease the pan
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
1. In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, Parmesan, olive oil and water. Cover it and let it rest for at least three hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
3. Take out the batter and add any additional spices of your choice (salt/pepper/rosemary.)
4. Heat an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to grease the pan, and allow it to heat for one minute. Quickly add the Fainá batter. It will bubble up immediately. Place the pan inside the oven.
5. Bake until the Fainá crisps around the edges, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and turns lightly golden on top, this will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Remove the Fainá from the pan, and let it rest before cutting it into wedges.
Feel free to break the norms, and have the Fainá bread without pizza, instead, you can have it dipped in salsa, guacamole, or your favorite dip.
No doubt that France is the holy land of Crêpes, and here is the perfect, shareable, crêpes-related recipe to have, while watching Les Bleus conquer the World Cup games!
Gâteau de Crêpes (Crêpes Cake)
In France, this recipe is called Mille Crêpes, which translates to a thousand crêpes. Of course, the cake is not literally made of a thousand layers, but the thousand is a reference to the many layers of this recipe.
Normally, in order to achieve a rather large-sized cake, a minimum of 30 layers is ideal, with each layer being topped with your choice of toppings (whether it’s Nutella, whipped cream, pastry cream, jam, peanut butter, or maybe even a combination of some!)
It’s essential that the crêpes are prepared the right way, for a guaranteed great taste; so here’s how to pull this cake off:
For the crêpes:
3 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
3 3/4 cups of whole milk
8 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and at room temperature.
Prepare the crêpes:
1. In a blender, combine the flour, sugar, salt, milk, butter and eggs. Blend until a smooth, lump-free mixture is formed, with bubbles on top (20 to 25 seconds or mix with a handheld tool for about 1 minute).
2. Cover the batter with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to 24 hours.
3. Heat your skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan lightly with butter, just enough to coat the bottom.
4. Add a 1/4-cup of batter into the pan, and immediately pick up the pan, tilt it, and swirl the batter around the entire perimeter of the pan, making sure it completely covers the bottom of the skillet.
5. Cook until the edges are lightly browned and the bottom has become a pale golden-brown, 45 seconds to one minute (peek by lifting an edge slightly with a spatula).
6. Gently work the spatula under the crêpe and carefully flip it over. Cook the second side until it has a few brown speckles and there is no raw batter visible (45 to 50 seconds.)
7. Use the same method to prepare the rest of crêpes, not forgetting to coat the pan every eight to ten crêpes, to make sure the batter doesn’t stick on the pan. Also, let the crêpes rest when they are done cooking (ideally in the fridge.)
Cake assembly and serving:
1. Take 1 crêpe from the pile, place it on a serving platter or plate, and using a spatula or smooth knife, gently spread 2 tablespoons of the filling of your choice, evenly over the crêpe, leaving out the edges.
2. Layer the next crêpes the same way; place on top of the first and repeat with spreading on the filling.
3. Chill cake for at least two hours. Let the cake sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Too many tempting toppings to choose from!
Stay tuned for part two!
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