Julian and I planned our summer vacation like you'd plan a Saturday night. We went where our friends were. Colin was triathlon training in Mallorca, Zach and Talley were dropping into Paris from Zurich, and Berlin...well, we just wanted to go there. Our itinerary was set.
I spent the weeks beforehand researching Berlin galleries and the latest Paris food spots. But for Mallorca, I had nothing. No guidebook, no restaurant picks, no must-see destinations. I wasn't even sure where it was in relation to Spain. And then I got there, and it was clear what to do.
Paris of course has its finesse. Berlin is electric and surprising. And Mallorca? Well, it's the type of place that defines the good life.
On our last night, I was sad and inspired and knew a tiny bit more about this amazing place, including its food. As a way to say thanks to our wonderful hosts, I made a traditional(ish) dinner for Julian, our friends Colin and Jenna, and Colin's parents, Eileen and Brian. Here's what we ate.
That morning, we picked up produce at the market in Alcudia, an enclosed city with market stalls in its arteries. This salad includes the island's voluptuous figs, its crispy-crunchy-buttery almonds (even better than Marcona. Believe it!), and some soft lettuces.
On top, you saw zucchini and chard in an aioli broth. Mayonnaise was born on the next island over, in the city of Mahon. The broth is simply a dollop of aioli in the veggies' own juices.
This is fresh sea bream stuffed with local herbs. Not sure what everything was. One was a more feathery fennel. The one that looks like a hand was lemony. Sea bream was on every Mallorquin menu, many times just simply roasted or grilled like this.
This is salmon with Mallorquin "salsa", made with a spice mix I bought at a gourmet store called Tipic Balear. Tomato, paprika, black olives and oregano do most of the talking. Is it truly authentic? I don't know. This was Julian's favorite.
My last fish store purchase was this hake. I pan-fried it with no seasoning, so we could all try out five types of flor de sal, salt hand-harvested along Mallorca's coasts.
For dessert, I bought some meringues and tossed them with some fresh dates, mango, and a viscous fig date balsamic vinegar from that same Balearic specialty store. I drank the vinegar straight as a digestive, along with a more classic Mallorquin digestive made with fennel, lemon verbena, rosemary, mint, marjoram, lime flower, and chamomile.
I wouldn't mind going to another random island again. But then again, why would I? I'd rather just go back to Mallorca.