On Saturday, Donna and I had a few spa appointments to attend to at Montelucia. When we saw that there was an opportunity to attend a Tapas Demonstration at the beautiful Prado restaurant on property, how could we resist?
After a quick call to the spa to rearrange appointments, we were able to make the event!
We had about 30 minutes between our facials and the tapas demonstration. Being a spa resort, we showed up in casual spa attire and with freshly scrubbed faces and no one seemed to mind. Thank goodness it wasn’t one of those facials where I walk out looking like Santa. My sensitive cheeks often flare up, but this facial was just gentle enough to make us presentable to the public. Phew!
When we arrived, we were actually the first to the table. The tapas grill is located across from the bar, and contains the most beautiful wood fire grill. I didn’t realize until I took this class that this is where all the tapas magic happens. How awesome to be part of it!
What are TAPAS?
If you haven’t had the pleasure, tapas are AMAZING! Some might call them appetizers, but I think they’re missing the point.
Tapas are “small plates” or snacks, served hot or cold and often loaded with the Spanish flavors. My favorite places to enjoy tapas are at Firefly in Las Vegas and here at Montelucia. The chefs do a wonderful job of creating incredibly tasty bites that are so satisfying and can be enjoyed by a group. In most cases, several tapas can create a dinner for a group… and there’s always great conversation when you’re eating these, since there’s sharing and no one’s focused on their huge plate of food.
Chef Gigi led the demonstration and prepared the most beautiful salmon dish. Grilled salmon topped with avocado salsa served over mixed greens. Just beautiful.
The more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I enjoy watching chefs create. Everything from their techniques to create grill marks to the way they “measure” ingredients… I am fascinated.
Gigi did quite a bit of prep before we arrived, including pre-grilling the salmon. She shared that you can grill one side of the salmon the day before, so when you are preparing for guests you can just quickly grill the second side!
She also shared how important it is to let meat rest. So often, we’re tempted to cut into the meat to make sure that it’s cooked to our preference, where allowing it to rest and finishing “cooking” on a plate can make for the most amazing dish.
To me, the avocado salsa was the star of the show. She added some gorgeous red onion, jalapeno, avocado, chives, olive oil, mint (yes, mint!), salt and pepper to create the most beautiful salsa. It was similar to a guacamole, but not as mashed and well combined. The flavor was INSANE. And, from what I heard… it was PERFECT on the salmon.
My pickiness struck again! I’m not a salmon eater…. nor anything that swims really. So, my dish looked quite a bit different than everyone else’s…
The final dish was incredibly beautiful though. I had to snap a shot of Donna’s before she dug in.
This dish was not on the main menu at Prado, but was one that we enjoyed getting a chance to taste. The class itself was free to resort guests and $10 to visitors. Not only did we have a good time in the class, but it appeared our chef did as well…
Thanks, Gigi, for a fantastic session! We will definitely be trying this recipe out at home… and visiting your kitchen again during our next trip to Montelucia! xoxo