Chef Seamus Mullen interpreted the design of Copenhagen's Cocofo Italy into a recipe that draws from the sea.
I’m guessing “Mediterranean-by-way-of-Scandinavia” isn’t a frequently requested design direction, but judging by the look of Cocofo Italy, maybe it should be. After seeing so much restaurant design that’s either over-the-top ornamental, or rustic and cobbled, it’s refreshing to see a space that is simple, elegant, and just feels good.
The shades of white and teal, and overall brightness of the space, take me to a beachy, seafoody place, which makes sense given the relationship both Denmark and Italy have to the sea. In keeping with the spirit of the décor that balances contrasting motifs,I thought of my tosta matrimonio: black and white anchovies, sheep’s milk cheese, and roasted tomato on a flax crisp, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. An ingredient relatively under-appreciated here in the States, anchovies have been a familiar pantry staple for centuries in countries all over the world, and one of my favorite types of fish. It should be yours, too, because they’re incredibly healthy—rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B, and omega-3s—and pack a whole lot of umami into a very small bite. I can’t tell you how many anchovy converts we’ve created at my restau- rant because of this dish. The saltiness of the ancho- vies is cut through by the tomato’s sweetness, the creaminess of the sheep’s milk cheese, and a touch of acidity from the balsamic—proof that flavors from opposite sides of the spectrum can come together to create something great.
Serves 2 to 3 as an appetizer or snack
4 boquerones (white anchovies)4 black anchovies1 very ripe tomato4 tablespoons sheep’s milk cheese 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar 4 flaxseed crisps (recipe below)
For the flaxseed crisps1⁄2 cup flax seeds, soaked in water for 20 minutes 1⁄3 cup water1⁄2 cup quinoa, ground into flour1 teaspoon kosher salt1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
To make the flaxseed crisps
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix ground quinoa with soaked flax seeds. Add olive oil, sea salt, and baking powder, and combine until you have a sticky dough.
Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet, then place the dough on the paper. Using the palm of your hand, flatten it into a disk. Place a second sheet of parch- ment paper on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to further spread out the dough until it’s a thin, even layer. Remove the top sheet of the paper. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the dough into approxi- mately 2 by 4 inch rectangles.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before breaking into crackers. Set aside four crackers and store the rest in an airtight container.
Carefully spread the sheep’s milk cheese to cover each cracker.