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FOOD & DRINK

Chef Ferran Adrià to reopen Spain’s El Bulli as food lab in 2019

Ground-breaking Spanish chef Ferran Adrià said Wednesday he planned to open a food laboratory in what used to be his legendary former restaurant El Bulli which he closed in 2011.

Chef Ferran Adrià to reopen Spain's El Bulli as food lab in 2019
Ferran Adria speaks next to "Young Boy with Lobster" by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Photo: AFP

The lab, a centre for new gastronomic inventions dubbed el Bulli 1846, will open its doors between June and October 2019, he told AFP.   

“For seven years we have done many things to prepare this moment, and now it will be born,” added Adrià, considered one of the world's best chefs.   

Adrià is one of the pioneers of a culinary art form known as “molecular gastronomy” that uses science to invent new techniques that transform traditional dishes into fun culinary adventures.

READ MORE: Ten delicious Spanish dishes you must try before you die 

His El Bulli restaurant, on the shores of Catalonia's Costa Brava, served novelties such as gazpacho popsicles and melon caviar.   

It was booked months in advance and was ranked the world's best five times by Restaurant magazine.

When Adrià served his last meal at the restaurant in July 2011, he announced he would re-open it three years later as a foundation for culinary experimentation.

“El Bulli has become a monster that had to be tamed and transformed,” he told reporters at the time.

But the renovation works were blocked due to environmental concerns since the former restaurant is located in the Cap de Creus nature park.   

Adrià then scaled down the project and last week he received permission from municipal authorities to continue with the renovation of the building.

RECIPE

Recipe: How to make Spain’s classic croquetas de jamón

January 16th is officially Internationally Croquette Day.

Recipe: How to make Spain's classic croquetas de jamón
Photo: thespanishcuisine.com

The golden crunchy snack has its very own international day of celebration so make sure to devour at least one plate of the Spanish speciality this week. 

You can find meaty versions, fishy versions and even vegetarian croquetas but by far the most popular filling is the traditional jamón iberico. 

So for those of you who don't feel like leaving the house in search of these tasty morsels, here's how to make them at home. 

Peruse any Spanish menu and you are likely to find the classic croquetas de jamón – the golden crunchy outside containing a deliciously creamy filling. 

Luis Valerio from spanishcuisine.com lets us in to the secret of how to make a perfect croquette. 

Ingredients

– Half an onion

– Two eggs (hard boiled)

– Four tbsp olive oil

– Three oz of serrano ham (pieces)

– ¼ tsp salt

– ¼ cup olive oil

– Three oz of flour (all-purpose)

– ½ litre of milk

– One tsp of salt

– Two eggs (medium)

– Breadcrumbs (dried)

– One cup of vegetable oil 


Photo: thespanishcuisine.com

Recipe 

Hard boil eggs to your liking and then peel and chop.

Peel and chop finely half an onion.

Chop finely the Serrano ham pieces or slices.

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a pot. When warm add chopped onion, Serrano ham, hard-boiled eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook over low heat for 10 – 12 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pot with the onion.

Once warm add the all-purpose flour and cook over low heat for three to five minutes whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until the mixture is smooth and turns a light, golden colour.

Slowly (1/4 a cup for each time) add the room temperature milk to the pot with the mixture and cook over medium heat whisking constantly. Season with one teaspoon of salt.

Bring it to a boil and cook over medium heat for four to five minutes stirring continuously (taste and add more salt if needed). If the béchamel sauce is gritty, use the blender to make it smooth.


Photo: Tim Lucas/Flickr 

Set the béchamel aside and let it cool for around three hours or until firm.

Whisk eggs in a bowl and put breadcrumbs on a plate.

Shape a tablespoonsful of mixture and roll in breadcrumbs.

Dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs again.

Heat one cup of vegetable oil in a skillet. When hot add croquettes in batches and fry until golden (one to two minutes each side).

Transfer croquettes to a plate.

Serve warm and enjoy your Spanish ham croquettes recipe!

(Note: You don't have to eat your croquettes all at once – although it is tempting! You can freeze them before frying). 

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