Fresh, Fresh, Fresh
Hola! It’s Chef Kit here with the fourth entry in my travel log. There were some recurring themes as I ate my way through Spain. Fresh ingredients were chief among them! From fresh fish to bright herbs, each dish was bursting with freshness. Fresh thinking was key too when it came to combining tastes and textures in new ways like chocolate with chorizo, saffron in beverages, and hot pepper bacon jam.
Farm-fresh eggs graced most menus. They were poached, coddled, boiled, sunny-side up, and every which way you can imagine. They were also paired with more than just our American standard of toast or bacon. I enjoyed eggs poached in brisket jus, under panna cotta and even a raw yolk with tartare! The way the Spanish pros elevate this humble staple to bring out its rich potential is truly inspiring.
Our colleagues in Spanish kitchens do not shy away from time-tested techniques. Preserving through salting and smoking to create cured meats and charcuterie is extremely popular. These techniques date back to when humans first began cooking, and they’re still trendy for a reason—full, mouthwatering flavor! Similarly, foie gras while not quite as ancient, was another full flavor experience I saw a lot. It’s usually served seared but sometimes it was in a pate or mousseline. It was always prepared elegantly with interesting sauces like lingonberry wine jam or lemon strawberry coulis.
’Tis the Seasoning
Pungent is the word I'd use when considering the final culinary trend I want to highlight. I’d follow that up with effervescence, tart, and acidic! These chefs are so innovative in using uncommon herbs and spices to craft new flavors. Some of the more notable seasonings I saw were chervil, papalo, and epazote. They made every bite an explosion of flavor, using fun techniques like plate painting with deeply reduced herb, spice, and fruit sauces. Now, please excuse me while I recreate my favorite dishes from the trip with Mrs. Dash seasonings!
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