If you love eating well then you know that food is a wonderful adventure that can open the door to not only new flavors, but to new cultural horizons. Food can help you discover and understand the story behind different towns, nations, or regions. I love what I do because it allows me to constantly discover new things. And though I am always trying new things and discovering new places, the two items that stood out the most during my visit to San Diego’s Latin Food Fest with Qué Rica Vida were the mescal and the uni sauce that came with carnitas taquitos created by chef Flor Franco.
Mescal is something quite special and shouldn’t be considered just another drink. Perhaps it’s due to the smoky aroma or its sensual personality, but the moment mescal touched my palate it was like the doors swung open to a dormant and, until that moment, unknown world. Today, many mixologists have begun to add and create mescal drinks. They’ve also taken to educating the public about its production and the different ways it can be used.
And though uni sauce isn’t anything new, it was certainly the way it was presented and prepared- as I mentioned, in taquitos with carnitas- that made it very special for me. Nothing less can be expected from the creative mind of chef Franco, who is inspired by the freshest ingredients that allow her to dare to break the rules and create new ones of her own.
But if serving uni sauce on pork is a little much for you, try something a little more familiar and use shellfish, mussels, shrimp or prawns.
To make uni sauce you’ll need to be sure to use fresh, high quality ingredients. You’ll only need 3 ingredients: very fresh uni, tamari or soy sauce, and sansho (Japanese peppers). These last two can be found at specialty shops. The amounts will vary depending on the dish and intensity you desire, but in general 4 ounces of uni with 1 tablespoon of tamiri sauce and 1 teaspoon of sansho should serve as a good base. Combine everything in a blender serve over grilled shellfish, pasta, paella, or a good shellfish risotto with uni.
I’m a chef, writer, editor and journalist. I’m also a big fan of narrative photography and culinary art. After years of writing and translating, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2003, in New York City. I always wanted to be a chef, and because I tend to follow my passions, I started training with the best chefs: Daniel Boulud, Jean Georges Vongerichten, and André Soltner, among others. After turning down offers at Ducasse and Jean Georges, I took a job at Daniel Restaurant in New York. While at the La Palma newspaper, the Spanish version of The Palm Beach Post, I worked as an editor, columnist and producer of the culinary section, both in print and the digital version of the paper. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I come from an Italian family. My mother was a writer, and I grew up among poems and books in Italian, French, Portuguese and German.