Author Cynthia Carris Alonso shares two simple yet elegant seafood recipes from Trinidad's award winning paladar.
paladar davimart
David Aloma Aguila’s restaurant, Davimart Paladar, in Trinidad, Cuba

Although COVID-19 has led to the temporary closings of many restaurants and tourism has come to a halt, I recently brought Startup Cuba readers on a virtual trip to Trinidad. Now I’m sharing two recipes that were shared with me by David Aloma Aguíla, owner and chef of Paladar Davimart, one of the longest-running paladares in town.

a taste of cuba
Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of A Taste of Cuba.

David first trained as a chemical engineer, but he told me, “I always wanted to be a chef.” Today, David cooks in his open custom kitchen he built himself. David confides, “I love how the wonderful aroma of the food whets the appetite before I share the delicious flavors with my guests.” 

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The tropical, fresh seaside air of Trinidad flows freely in the courtyard while guests watch Chef David at work cooking skillfully and passionately — traits that have brought him well-deserved recognition. Davimart was given an Award of Excellence by TripAdvisor in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. After President Barack Obama visited Cuba in 2016, David received a letter of recognition from the Office of the President of the United States for his contribution to the development of “people to people” exchange between Cuba and the US.

Davimart was given an Award of Excellence by TripAdvisor in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Enjoy the tropical Trinidad seaside flavor in your kitchen through these two recipes brought to you by Chef David Aloma Aguilar! 

paladar davimart
Making grilled seafood dish at the Paladar Davimart, in Trinidad, Cuba, January, 2016. Photo by Cynthia Carris Alonso

Mixed Seafood Grill | Parilla de Mariscos Mixtos

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 8 TBSP salted butter
  • 4 extra-large shrimp, deveined, shells removed, tails intact
  • 2 spiny lobster tails
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat grill to high. Brush 1 TBSP vegetable oil on the grill so the seafood doesn’t stick.

While the grill heats, combine the butter and remaining 2 TBSP vegetable oil. Brush the mixture on both sides of the shrimp, then set the shrimp and the remaining butter-and-oil sauce aside.

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With their shells on, grill the lobster tails cut-side dow for 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and pull the lobster meat partially out of the shells. Return te lobster to the grill and lower the temperature. Baste te lobster with the sauce and cook for 10 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked and no longer translucent.

Place shrimp in a basket and pon the grill (or cook directly on th grill). Cook, basting with the sauce and moving the shrimp around, over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, just until the flesh turns pink and is no longer translucent.

Remove from the heat, combine the shrimp and lobster, and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Grilled Fish | Pescado Asado

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 4 TBSP salted butter, melted
  • 4 fish fillets (such as dorado, sea bass, flounder, or sole)
  • 1 TSP salt

Related Post: Do You Prefer Café Bustelo, La Llave or Pilon?

Directions

Preheat grill to high. Brush 1 TBSP vegetable oil on the grill so the fish does not stick.

While the grill is heating, mix the butter with the remaining 1 TBSP of vegetable oil and brush the mixture on both sides of the fillets. Sprinkle with salt. Grill over high heat, turning once, until the fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

David Aloma Aguíla
Grilled fish at the Davimart paladar, in Trinidad, Cuba. Photo by Cynthia Carris Alonso

(Find Chef David Aloma Aguíla at Paladar Davimart, Anastacio Cardenas 518 e/ Simon Bolivar and Fidel Claro, Trinidad 62600 Cuba)

David Aloma Aguila
Chef David Aloma Aguíla. Photo: Cynthia Alonso Carris

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Note from El Equipo: Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of A Taste of Cuba: A Journey Through Cuba and Its Savory Cuisine (Apollo Publishers, 2018); these recipes and a portion of the text are extracted from the book. Carris Alonso is also the author of a book of photography, Passage to Cuba, an Up-Close  Look at the World’s Most Colorful Culture (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015). 

Cynthia Carris Alonso

Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of two books about Cuba and has been photographing the island since 1992. She is a photographer, photo editor, and researcher and has worked for internationally-renowned magazines, books, and websites such as Time.com, ABCnews.com, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Rhythm Music Magazine, People en Español, Scholastic and Vanity Fair. In 2016, Cynthia Carris Alonso covered President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, as the two countries continued working toward normalizing relations. With rare access to Cuba, Alonso has photographed Cuba's most famous musicians, covered news events and daily life of the Cuban people on assignment, and documented their unique and mysterious culture, people, passions and spirit of survival. Cynthia’s first photography book, Passage to Cuba, was published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2015. Her latest book, A Taste of Cuba (Apollo Publishers, 2018), celebrates the wonderful taste of Cuban cuisine, as well as the sites, colors, and energy of the Cuban culture. Alonso has given speeches about photography, journalism and Cuba. She has appeared on television and in the press, as a Cuba consultant giving interviews in both English and Spanish. Cynthia is married to Cuban writer José Luis Alonso, and they live in New York City with their daughter.

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