An Elegant argentine menu-help
We're having some friends over for an elegant meal and I'm at a loss for what to cook this time around. We're thinking grilled flank steak with Chimichurri sauce as the main meal. Not sure what to do as my carb, starter, salad, soup and desert, maybe Polenta or rossoto, ceviche, or Dulce de leche ice cream. I'd appreaciate some ideas.
My memories of living in Argentina go back a while so maybe things are different now but, 'way back when, a typical Argentine meal had a first course either of soup, pasta ("sopa seca"), or assorted deli meats ("fiambre") with a bit of some deli salad but, definitely, a first course that was not the salad of the meal---not like in the States where we often get a mixed salad as a first course. Then copious meats were accompanied by either French fried potatoes or mashed potato, depending on what was customary with that particular meat, and a salad ("ensalada mixta") dressed with oil and vinegar, and sliced French bread. Dessert was usually fresh fruit, a caramelized bread pudding with whipped cream ("budin con crema") or caramelized flan, or ice cream. Fancy cakes etc were not served after a meal---they appeared at tea-time. It would have been more likely for a vegetable to be made into a first course ("zapallitos rellenos" or "ensalada de remolachas") than brought on with the meat---and the same with a rice dish such as risotto or guiso de arroz. The first course was a big deal.
I suspect an elegant argentine menu would follow a continental European pattern, with several courses. My memories of elegant meals in Ecuador include:
soup, consume or elegant cream, served in a wide shallow bowl (almost plate size)
a seafood appetizer (e.g. ceviche)
and or vegetable appetizer (e.g. whole artichoke, stuffed tomato, Russian salad)
main course (meat, potato, rice or pasta)