A Culinary Trip to Basque Country Via Miami Beach


Keri White

I tagged along with my husband on a recent boondoggle to Miami Beach. While roaming, I stumbled upon Time Out Market, a venue that brings the best local culinary talent together under one roof in a carefully curated — for lack of a better term — food court.

Cauliflower soup (Monika / AdobeStock)

But before you turn the page, envisioning a mall setting populated with Orange Julius and Cinnabon, hear me out.

TimeOut Markets, the brainchild of TimeOut Magazine, are located in trendy areas, often in historic buildings, and showcase everyone from Michelin-starred chefs to up-and-coming culinary innovators. They serve on real china, generally contain a few festive bars and you don’t bus your table.

Each chef runs a small kiosk (think a higher Reading Terminal Market) and patrons can sample dishes from a wide variety. Launched in 2014 in Lisbon, TimeOut Markets have subsequently opened in Miami, New York, Boston and Chicago. Should you find yourself in any of those cities, I highly recommend a detour.

Needless to say, I spent most of my time in Miami Beach sampling the goods in TimeOut Miami. I had vegan Chinese dumplings, Venezuelan arepas, Mexican tacos, all-American chocolate chip cookies, Cuban coffee and Spanish pan tomate.

I also had the good fortune to score a reservation at Lur, the creation of Michelin-starred chef Aitor Garate Berasaluze. This eight-seat-only Friday night special offers a multicourse meal served at a counter overlooking the bustling kitchen. The activity was staggering — chef and his assistant delivered world-class, beautifully presented cuisine and wine pairings, all while serving customers at the counter who ordered dishes from the tapas menu.

The tasting menu showcased dishes from Berasaluze’s native Basque Country in Northeastern Spain. I did not have sufficient chutzpah to ask for his recipes, but the following are a decent approximation of courses adapted for home cooks. If you are squeamish about raw egg, you can coddle it or poach it before serving, or just give the mushrooms a drizzle of best-quality olive oil instead.

Cauliflower Soup | Dairy

Serves 4

Chef served the soup with bonito flakes, which are dried tuna flakes. These are not for everyone; you can skip the garnish entirely or add some toasted garlic, toasted almond slivers, a sprinkle of fresh parsley or a drizzle of olive or truffle oil.

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 potato, peeled if desired, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • White or black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Garnishes: toasted almonds, chopped fresh parsley, truffle/olive oil or toasted garlic slices

In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion until fragrant. Add the salt, pepper, cauliflower and potatoes. Stir to coat. Add vegetable broth, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are totally soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Add cream, taste for seasoning and serve as desired.

Basque Seared Mushrooms | Pareve

Serves 4

The traditional way to serve this is with a raw yolk in the middle of the mushrooms — you break the yolk, and stir it into the cooked mushrooms before you dig in — the theory being that the hot mushrooms “cook” the egg. If you do go this route, be sure to use a fresh, organic egg.

  • 1 pound mushrooms (chanterelles, king oyster, et cetera), sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 4 egg yolks (discard whites or use for another purpose)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and sear the mushrooms over medium to medium-high.

Add the salt and pepper, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, turning once. When the mushrooms are nicely seared, lower the heat to medium, add the garlic, and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add fresh parsley and more salt and pepper, if needed.

Divide the mushrooms among four shallow bowls, leaving a space in the center of each.

Carefully place the yolk in the center, and serve immediately.

Keri White is a Philadelphia-based freelance food writer.

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