Juan Mari & Elena Arzak

Restaurante Arzak

The first name that comes to mind in Spain when discussing the crème de la crème of the nation’s gastronomy, is Juan Mari Arzak. This Basque chef was the forerunner of the New Basque Cuisine, which subsequently set the tone for the cuisine of Catalonia. Juan Mari’s style is visionary, without losing sight of its traditional Basque roots. He owns a three star restaurant in Alto de Miracruz, in one of the older neighbourhoods of San Sebastian where he works with his daughter Elena. Elena has worked with her father for a long time and is known as one of the world’s best female chefs. We asked Juan Mari whether veal has a place in Basque cuisine: “Traditionally speaking, Basque cuisine uses a lot of seafood, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like veal! When I was still working in my mother’s restaurant, I used to grill veal on the barbecue. I was the first one to do so and it wasn’t long before it became a classic.” “I was introduced to the white veal when I was working in France,” added Elena, “which is a meat the Spanish are unfamiliar with. We generally look for the best novillo we can find, which is rose veal. This is the kind of veal that best suits Spanish tastes.”

Ragoût of veal cheeks in black sesame sauce

Wash and brunoise the vegetables and sweat in half of the oil. Season the veal cheeks with salt and pepper and sear well in the rest of the oil. Flambé with the cognac and deglaze with the port and the wine. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and add to the pan with the finely-chopped pineapple. Put the vegetables on top and cover with the bouillon. Simmer on a low heat until the meat is cooked. Remove the meat from the liquid and leave to cool. Cut the meat into triangles and put to one side. Remove the vanilla pod from the liquid and blend until smooth, and then pass it through a fine-mesh sieve. To make the sauce, mix the required amount of the liquid from the veal cheeks with black sesame seeds until smooth and simmer for 15 minutes. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and pour over the veal cheeks. Dress the meat on a plate with the sauce. Add the parsley and sugar to the yoghurt so that it turns green and drizzle over the top. Finish with some olive oil and chervil leaves.

Serves 4
olive oil, freshly-picked chervil.

For the veal cheeks
2 good-quality veal cheeks (400g each), 100ml vegetable oil, 2 onions, 2 leeks, 2 shallots, 2 carrots, 100ml cognac, 250ml red port, 500ml red wine, 25g fresh pineapple, 1 vanilla pod, 750ml veal bouillon.

For the black sesame sauce
200g liquid from the veal cheeks, 80g black sesame seeds.

For the green yoghurt
100g yoghurt, 15g sugar, 10g parsley puree.

Grilled veal tenderloin with coloured skins

Mix ingredients for the mojo to a smooth paste in a blender and set to one side. For the bouillon, bring the poultry stock to the boil with the passion fruit juice and sherry. Add the semolina and cook for 5 minutes more. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and thicken with xanthan gum. For the sauce, bring some more of the stock to the boil, add the semolina and then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil. For the marinated nuts, chop the tigernuts and marinate in soy sauce. For the coloured skins, place the sheets of obulato paper tightly next to each other on silicon mat. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sprinkle with isomaltose and bake in an oven for 1 minute at 190°C/375°F. Sprinkle tarragon, paprika flakes and colouring agents on the individual sheets separately, and bake for another 10 seconds in the oven. Put to one side to cool. Season the meat with salt and pepper and coat generously with the mojo. Grill both sides on a charcoal barbecue then cut each of the pieces of meat into three parts. Arrange the meat on a plate with a sheet of each of the coloured obulato papers in between, then garnish with the sauce and the buttered nuts.

Serves 4
4 portions of veal tenderloin (90g each).

For the mojo
50g millet (boiled), 50g deep-fried bread, 1 small grilled tomato, 10g olive oil, 15g hazelnut paste, 7g balsamic vinegar, 15g oyster sauce, 20g water.

For the bouillon

250g poultry stock, 1g xanthan gum, 40g P.X. sherry, 20g passion fruit juice, 50g semolina.

For the sauce
50g blanched semolina, 150g stock (see recipe above), 2 dstspn olive oil.

For the coloured skins
36 sheets of obulato paper 6 x 2cm, 50g isomaltose powder, 10g ground tarragon, 10g paprika flakes, 5g safflower, 5g red colouring (from cochineal).

For the marinated nuts

10g soaked tigernuts (chufas), 50g soy sauce.

Veal tenderloin with coloured coulis

Mix the ingredients for the mojo sauce to a smooth paste and season with fleur de sel and freshly-ground pepper and ginger. Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper shortly before serving and rub on the mojo sauce. Fry on the plancha until golden brown. For the mango sauce, slice the meat finely and sear in olive oil, then add the chopped vegetables. Cover with water and reduce slowly. Strain using a fine-mesh sieve and season with olive oil, chopped chives and the mango just before serving. For the jam, cook the leaves for 2 hours in water, drain off the liquid and add the sugar. Then thicken with the xanthan gum. Mix the ingredients for the sour coulis and put to one side. For the sweet coulis, mix all of the ingredients except the grapes, and bring to the boil. Then add the grapes and leave to cool. For the spicy coulis, mix all of the ingredients and bring them to the boil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Arrange all of the elements harmoniously on a plate.

Serve 4
4 portions of veal tenderloin (90g each), fresh mint, juniper berries.

For the mojo sauce
1/2 poached onion, 50g red wine, 1 deep-fried clove of garlic, 15g Brazil nut praline, 15g roasted almonds, fleur de sel, freshly-ground black pepper, fresh ginger.

For the mango sauce

200g veal rib, 3 onions, 4 leeks, 1 bouquet garni, 200ml olive oil, chopped chives, 15g mango (peeled).

For the hibiscus jam

50g hibiscus leaves, 1l water, 125g sugar, xanthan gum (1g xanthan gum per 250g liquid).

For the sour coulis
125g hibiscus bouillon (see hibiscus jam), 35g sugar, 0.5g xanthan gum.

For the sweet coulis
50g chopped grapes, 50g red wine, 25g sugar, 0.5g xanthan gum.

For the spicy coulis
100g centrifuged pimento, 50g centrifuged chives, 0.5g xanthan gum, sugar.

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