My Vegetable Motivation …
Researching the culinary history of great recipes is somewhat of a passion of mine. I thoroughly enjoy learning about the true roots of a dish before I make it, especially when there are real people involved that I can associate with. Coxinhas happen to be precisely one of those magical foods that got me very excited, and I simply could not resist the back story and allure of this obviously satisfying and delicious dish.
This lazy Sunday morning I was parked at my familiar post in front of the computer looking for inspiration for this week’s simple fare to feed the kids, and to give us adults a few tasty leftovers to enjoy at the office. As I was taking notes of the predictable ingredients I would need for our grocery run, I was admittedly looking for a cool new recipe for something deep fried. I know, it’s not a healthy thing to look for, but I was genuinely trying to find some inspiration for a fried-nugget-recipe that the kids would “love”, while tricking them into eating a vegetable … ANY vegetable!
Lo-and-behold I just happened to stumble upon this interesting recpipe for Teeny-Weeny Coxinhas on Epicurious by Teri Lyn Fisher & Jenny Park and it really caught my attention. Deep-fried is always a no-brainer for comfort food but this recipe seems special somehow, like it had more to it than just the average golden nugget.
The Unwavering History of Coxinhas
Hungry for more details, I couldn’t wait to find out what had motivated Teri & Jenny to post this cool culinary post, and at first I was very pleasantly surprsied. As it turns out, Princess Isabel of Brazil had a very particular son, and the ingenious Chef of said Princess (the hero of this story) magically concocted a dish to appease the boy’s appetite for chicken thighs by creating a deep-fried dish of such immense success that even Empress Teresa Cristina took note … how awesome is that, way to go Chef!
What’s less impressive though, the quoted paragraph by Nadir Cavazin about coxinhas in the book of Stories & Recipes is basically the only English reference on any page on wikipedia (or anywhere else for that matter) that can offer any meaningful insight into this clearly intriguing culinary story … so it sucks, but I can’t really find any more historically accurate details about this cool dish. Any readers with authentic Brazilian or Portuguese roots are MORE than welcome to partake in the conversation!
My Pescatarian Rendition
Undaunted by the lack of an internet-accessible deeper history, I was still intrigued by this dish and couldn’t wait to put my own spin on it. Although my kids and I are carnivores, my wife is pescatarian, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to transform this great recipe into a seafood variant that would certainly keep the whole family coming back for more. Armed with 2 fresh fillets of Turbot, and a gluten-free, dairy-free dough as the secret ingredient, I was determined to make this work.
With a small fryer of sunflower oil at the ready, and a digital thermometer in hand, I proudly delivered the golden nuggets of deep-fried deliciousness to my two young daughters … expectantly, but with loads of confidence. Within a couple of bites, the sweet victory of culinary success was mine, and a new recipe hit the notepad with extra stars for deliciousness.
Suffice to say, my wife and I could barely contain ourselves to leave enough of these wonderful concoctions for the kids, and they will definitely be gracing our table again in the near future. All this with sincere thanks to the brilliant vision of the Master Chef of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil.