SAVORING SPAIN

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Move over France. Spain is here.  Spanish genius spills over with vibrant intensity, be it art, architecture and especially food. Picasso, Dali, Gaudi and even the Gods of gastronomy (Ferran Adria, Roca brothers, Juan Marie and Elena Arzak) reign supreme.

I’m here in Spain, at most cutting edge frontier of gastronomy. Here global superstars and Spanish wizards have flown in for the most prestigious Madridfusion, the annual, three day foodcongress in the stylish, art and food mecca, Madrid. Its really impossible to distil the flavor of Spain in this short space, so I offer to you a smattering of tastes…

THE FUTURE IS HERE

Unveiling the future, at this three Madridfusion are many a genius. Andoni Luis along with British Scientists announces and demonstrates how we will be able to transmit smell through the internet.  Joan Roca explains how he injects leaves to make cocktails…and the list goes on. The future trends of gastronomy, the best of the best,

are revealed by global superstars who have  flown in from all parts of the world. I hear their views, learn their cooking secrets and chat with them…be it Jose Andres (Bazaar, Minibar) of Los Angeles, the legendary Michel Bras and Pascal Barbot from France, Mehmet Gurs from Istanbul and many more. The suave Joan Roca of the Worlds best restaurant (El Celler can Roca, Girona…where I had a lifechanging dinner a few days ago) is here.Its the Capel family (Esmeralda, Anna and Carlos) who  founded and spearheaded this gastronomique Madridfusion.

 

L1140307 THE FATHER OF SPANISH CUISINE

Please take a look at the photograph I shot  in the midst of this hectic,  pathbreaking Madridfusion. I was lucky enough to meet the father of Modern Basque cuisine, Juan marie  and his daughter Elena (crowned “the worlds best woman chef” ). A couple of days before I had journeyed to the charming coastal town of San Sebastian to their restaurant “Arzak”.

It sure is a memorable experience to dine in Arzak, home  of the Arzak family since 1897 is  constructed by Juan Mari’s  grandparents. His brilliant daughter Elena (crowned as the “Worlds best woman chef”) is the fourth generation of culinary geniuses.

As the leisurely 12 course, wine-paired  meal unfolds it becomes quite evident why Arzak was the first Spanish restaurant to earn three Michelin stars in 1989. Science and technique, art and drama merge to coax flavors and textures out of the Superb Basque produce. Space constrains me to describe only three dishes. Though each and every one was magnificent.

It all starts off with A crushed can of tonic…mango zuchini in a tonic water sauce…clever yet simple flavors.

A dramatic large green dome of seaweed and crispy rice reveals.tenderfirm monkfish in a traditional green sauce of parsley and gsrlic. I nibble on the crspy seawed and rice dome.yum. It’s the finale of the “Hardware shop”  (ferreteria) that I get addicted to….Screws of intense chocolate bolts of aubergine and chocolate. Keys of silver and chocolate unlocking sheer delight. Chocoholics delight.

INDIA IS SHINING

Here in Madridfusion, India is shining. The  Roca brothers of The worlds best restaurant, created a dish inspired by India: the legendary Michel Bras goes on stage to announce that he gets his inspiration from India. Michelin-starred Sergi Arola has set up his signature restaurant in Mumbai. Delhi is next on his agenda. Our very own dynamic chef Himanshu Taneja from the JW Marriott  is making his presence felt.

SPAIN IN MY PLATE?

RECIPE

After eating my way through Spain for ten days, I find that it is impossible to distil Spain in one recipe. However this simple but flavorful garlic and olive oil recipe (known in Spain as) ajaceite or alioli is basic  to Spanish cuisine and surely worth trying at home.

This creamy garlic mixture is especially popular with the Catalans, and the name comes

from the Catalan words all(garlic) and oli (oil).  alioli (pronounced all-

ee-ohlee) consists only of these two ingredients, plus a pinch of salt, and nothing else.

 

ALIOLI

Original version:

3 large cloves of garlic coarsely chopped

¼ – ½ tsp salt

½ -1 cup/125-250 ml olive oil

Lemon juice to taste

 

Pound the garlic and salt to an even consistency, using a mortar and pestle. Then add the olive

oil drop by drop at first, increasing to a thin stream and stirring constantly until a thick

paste is formed. Add lemon juice to taste.

 

Modern imitation:

3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

½ tsp salt

l-12 egg yolks

1 cup/250 ml olive oil

Lemon juice n taste

 

Cut up the garlic and pound it with salt to an even paste, using a mortar and pestle. Stir in the

egg yolk. Then add the olive oil drop by drop at first, increasing to a thin stream and working it

in by stirring constantly. Flavor with lemon juice to taste and serve cold. A balloon or hand

whisk may be used to stir in the oil if preferred.

P.S.  The test of the cook’s skill is to be able to turn the mortar upside down with the finished alioli  inside, without any of it falling out. Sparkle your food, serve Alioli  with fish,meat, vegetables, rice…take your pick

Want Spanish recipes? Please email  (rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh.

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