Curaçao

When faced with yet another country that I have never heard of…

Step 1: Pull up a map on the nearest electronic device and figure out where it is (island in the southern Caribbean).

Step 2: Look up the pronunciation (cure-a-sow).

Step 3: Google/Wikipedia it (turns out it’s also the name of a liquor).

With that out of the way, from what I recall, Curaçao did not have an abundance of recipes to choose from. As with many of the Caribbean nations, there were several other cultural influences in developing the national cuisine.  I selected tutu, which is another variant of the starchy mush that we are getting used to seeing in the Caribbean and Africa, and a marinated fish recipe descriptively titled “Curaçao Style Snapper” (spoiler alert–pretty sure we didn’t actually use snapper.  It was probably tilapia.).

Curaçao Style Snapper (recipe)

This started with a tasty looking marinade of lime juice, garlic, habanero pepper, and ground pepper.  Then the fish were breaded and fried.  The fish frying pan was deglazed with the remaining marinade, in which the tomatoes, onion, and pepper were cooked.  The fish filets were topped with the veggie mixture and baked in the oven for another ten minutes.  I’m not sure why the recipe asked us to line the baking pan with aluminum foil, but we did as we were told.

Curaçao_snapper_dish

Yum.

Curaçao_snapper

Tutu (recipe)

We’ve had mixed luck in the past with these starchy mush side dishes, but we seem to be getting better.  This one used cornmeal and was a little unique in that it also included black eyed peas and was cooked in coconut milk.

It started pretty liquidy:

tutu_step1

Gradually thickened…tutu_step2

And eventually was firm enough to hold its shape.tutu_step3

From here it was smashed between two plates (which I don’t remember being anywhere near as disastrous as I expected) for the final presentation:

tutu_complete

The recipe recommends serving it with cheese (check!) and cod fish (snapper… cod fish… tilapia… same difference, right?)

The finished meal:

Curaçao_meal

This was a winner!  The lime juice really came through in the fish, but not overpoweringly so.  We loved the flavor and the addition of veggies on top.  The tutu, aside from having a fun name, was surprisingly good and was better than most of the dishes we have made like this.  It was sweeter than I expected–probably thanks to the coconut milk–but that was countered nicely by the cheese and the tart fish.

Overall meal rating: 4

Next up, Cyprus and Czech Republic (we were pretty excited at the time about having a couple European countries and finishing the Cs!)