Since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has become one of the nation’s most talented high-profile Latino chefs.
Gambas al Ajillo
1 pound (26-30) shrimp peeled and de-veined, tails removed
6 guindilla chiles, broken open
10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover half way up the shrimp
Salt to taste
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 ounces lemon juice
In a fireproof dish, large enough to lay out the shrimp in one layer (preferably a cazuela) add the oil, lemon juice, garlic and chilies. Place over a high flame until it starts to sizzle. Season the shrimp with a little salt and add them into the oil in one layer. Cook them for about 20 seconds a side then flip them over. Sprinkle with a little parsley and serve.
Brandade Croquettes and Serrano Ham Croquettes with Fresh Tomato Puree and Cabrales Espuma
Croquettes are everywhere in Spain—but, too often, they are doughy and heavy. So I went in search of a better croquette. The secret? While most Spanish croquette recipes call for a flour-and-water roux, this one calls for gelatin. The difference is amazing.
These croquettes have a crisp exterior and a saucy, creamy interior. (Note: To make the espuma you’ll need a whipped cream charger.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
10 large eggs
2 cups finely ground bread crumbs
12 brandade croquettes (recipe follows)
12 serrano ham croquettes (recipe follows)
8 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup fresh tomato puree (recipe follows)
1/2 ounce osetra caviar
3 tablespoons Cabrales espuma (recipe follows)
Putting it all together: To bread croquettes, arrange 3 large bowls. Place flour in first bowl. Whisk eggs in second bowl. Place bread crumbs in third bowl. Working with no more than 10 brandade or ham croquettes at a time, drop croquettes into flour, shaking bowl until croquettes are completely coated. Remove croquettes from flour, shaking off excess, and put into bowl with eggs.
Shake bowl until croquettes are completely covered in egg. Remove croquettes from egg, shake off excess, and put into bowl with bread crumbs. Shake bowl until croquettes are evenly coated. Remove croquettes from bread crumbs, shake off excess and place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate, uncovered. Breaded croquettes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
In a fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pan, heat vegetable oil to 350°F. Drop croquettes into the fryer until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Place on paper towels to drain.
Divide fresh tomato puree between 6 rocks glasses. Divide caviar between 3 of the glasses, and the Cabrales espuma between the other 3 glasses. Skewer brandade croquettes, 4 to a skewer, and balance on each of the three glasses with caviar. Skewer Serrano ham croquettes, 4 to a skewer, and balance on each of the 3 glasses with the Cabrales espuma.
6 ounces bacalao, cut into large chunks
1 cup chopped Spanish onion
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup peeled and chopped Idaho potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups water
1 sprig rosemary
3 cloves roasted garlic
3 sheets gelatin
Kosher salt, to taste
To make brandade croquettes: Place bacalao in saucepan; fill pan with water. Over high heat, bring water to a boil. Strain off water and repeat process 3 times to desalinize fish.
In a small saucepan, combine onion and olive oil. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until onion is very tender. Strain onion mixture, reserving onions and oil separately.
At the same time, in a medium saucepan, combine potato, heavy cream, 4 cups water, and rosemary. Over high heat, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. (These steps must be done simultaneously so all mixtures will be hot when pureed.) Strain potato mixture, reserving potatoes and cream separately
In a food processor, combine fish, onions, half of potatoes, and roasted garlic. Puree for about 30 seconds. Bloom gelatin in ice water. Squeeze excess water from bloomed gelatin sheets. To pureed mixture, add bloomed gelatin, reserved onion oil and cream from the potato mixture. Puree until creamy, but not completely smooth. Season with salt. Pour mixture onto sheet tray and cool.
Roll dough into 2-tablespoon balls, placing on a tray lined with parchment. Put in the freezer to set, 1 hour. Brandade croquettes can be frozen for up to 1 week.
Serrano Ham Croquettes
3 ounces pork butt, diced small
1/4 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup small diced Spanish onion
2 tablespoons small diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce ham fat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 sheet gelatin
1 ounce serrano ham butt, diced small
To make serrano ham croquettes: In a braising pan, combine diced pork butt and vegetable oil. Over medium-low heat, render the pork until crisp. Add onion, peppers, butter, and ham fat. Cook over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft. Reduce heat to low and add flour. Mix thoroughly and cook 10 minutes, stirring several times. Add milk gradually, incorporating with a rubber spatula, as the mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Bloom gelatin in ice water. Squeeze excess water from bloomed gelatin sheets, and stir gelatin into mixture until dissolved. Turn off heat and add serrano ham. Mix thoroughly. Pour onto a sheet tray and cool.
Roll into 2-tablespoon cylinders, place on a tray lined with parchment. Put in the freezer to set, 1 hour. Serrano ham croquettes can be frozen for up to 1 week.
Fresh Tomato Puree
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
To make fresh tomato puree: In a food processor, puree tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt. Strain through a chinois. Use immediately.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce Cabrales or other blue cheese
1/2 sheet gelatin
To make Cabrales espuma: In a small saucepan over low heat, warm heavy cream. Whisk in cheese until melted. Bloom gelatin in ice water. Remove cream mixture from heat and whisk in bloomed gelatin. Cream mixture can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. When ready to use, fill a whipped cream charger halfway with the mixture and charge with 2 nitrous canisters. Place the charger in a warm place until use. (Do not charge more than 3 hours in advance.)
Garces has opened eight more restaurants in both Philadelphia and Chicago, written a cookbook, Latin Evolution, and won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award.
2 ounces fresh red snapper loin
3 tablespoons Veracruz sauce (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon green olive, minced
1 tablespoon Roma tomato, small dice
½ teaspoon cilantro, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon capers, fried
6 avocado pearls
6 micro oregano sprigs
Cocas with Marinated Duck, Cabrales Béchamel, and Cherry-Fig Marmalade
Coca is a pizza-like flatbread common in the Catalonia region of Spain. You’ll often find it topped with rustic vegetables such as onions and red peppers, though here I’ve updated the dish with contemporary flavors. When making the crust, I roll it thinner than most Spanish recipes suggest, so that the toppings are the focus of the dish. (Note: You’ll need to start marinating the duck at least a day in advance.)
1/2 cup cabrales béchamel
7 ounces manchego cheese, shredded
1/2 cup foie gras mousse
3 tablespoons heavy cream
16 leaves baby spinach
1 marinated duck breast
1/2 cup cherry-fig marmalade
1 navel orange, zested
Putting it all together: Preheat oven to 500 degrees Farenheit; place a pizza stone or sheet tray in the oven to heat. Top each coca with Cabrales béchamel and cover with shredded manchego cheese. Place cocas on the stone and cook until the edges brown and the bottom becomes crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove cocas carefully and cut off any cheese that melted off.
Mix the foie gras mousse with heavy cream to make it more workable and then spoon into a pastry bag.
Cut each coca into 4 pieces and place a spinach leaf on each piece. Cut the duck into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place a slice on each spinach leaf. Garnish each piece of duck with cherry-fig marmalade, foie gras mousse, and orange zest.
Yields 4 cocas
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup pizza flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating
To make cocas: Bloom yeast in warm water mixed with honey. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Fold yeast mixture into dry ingredients. Then fold oil into dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Roll the dough into four balls. With a rolling pin, flatten each ball into an oval about 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches long. Using a fork, poke holes into the dough to prevent air bubbles. Using a paintbrush, brush the ovals with oil. Season with salt. Arrange ovals on a sheet pan, and bake 3 minutes.
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 pound Cabrales cheese
1/4 cup béchamel
To make Cabrales béchamel: In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce cream by half then fold in Cabrales. Fold in béchamel and cool. Cabrales béchamel can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Marinated Duck Breast
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 stick canela
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon ground star anise
1 navel orange, segmented
1/2 cup grenadine
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup Triple Sec liqueur
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pink curing salt
1 Peking duck breast
To make marinated duck breast: In a sauté pan over medium heat, toss spices to toast. Combine all ingredients except duck. Score duck skin, then marinate duck breast for 24 hours.
Remove duck from marinade. In a cast-iron pan over medium heat, render the duck skin and cook to medium, about 10 minutes. Remove duck from the pan and set aside to cool.
Yields 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons dried cherries
2 tablespoons dried figs
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
To make cherry-fig marmalade: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and puree in a food processor. Mixture will be loose; it will thicken as it cools. Marmalade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Green Plantain Empanadas with Spinach-Manchego Filling and Artichoke Escabeche
My grandmother taught me the secret to making these Ecuadorian snacks. The plantain dough isn’t hard to make, if you know the proper technique: You have to knead the dough thoroughly. This makes it more malleable and easier to quickly roll out and fill.
1/2 cup spinach-manchego filling (recipe follows)
4 verde dough rounds (recipe follows)
8 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups artichoke escabeche (recipe follows)
10 flat-leaf parsley leaves
Putting it all together: To make empanadas, place 2 tablespoons spinach-manchego filling in the middle of each of 4 verde dough rounds. Fold the dough in half, and press the edges of the dough with a fork to seal the empanada.
In a fryer or a deep, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pan, heat vegetable oil to 375°F. Drop empanadas into oil and fry until slightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain. Season with salt.
Divide artichoke escabeche between 4 plates. Cut each empanada in half and place the 2 halves cut side down on each plate so that the empanada halves stand up.
1/4 pound baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup béchamel (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon whole milk
2 ounces manchego cheese, grated
In a sauté pan over high heat, sauté spinach and garlic in vegetable oil. Season with salt. Strain off all excess liquid, roughly chop spinach, and place in a bowl. Mash up roasted garlic and add to spinach.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine béchamel and milk. Pour béchamel mixture over the spinach. Add manchego. Mix thoroughly and cool. Spinach-manchego filling can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Kosher salt, to taste
Method: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. With a rubber spatula, stir in flour. Continue to cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring several times. Stir in half the milk, cooking over low heat until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining milk. Continue to cook over low heat stirring regularly until smooth. Season with salt. Béchamel can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
1 green plantain
Kosher salt, to taste
Make 2 slits down each side of plantain and soak in warm water, about 20 minutes. Peel plantain. Boil plantain in water until very tender, about 45 minutes. Put boiled plantain through ricer twice, and season with salt. Pack riced plantain into 4 balls. Place the balls in a bowl, cover, and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Remove from bowl and knead each ball until pliable. The dough should break down and then come back together 3 times. Using a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap, or a rolling pin, flatten each ball. Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out. Use immediately.
In 2010, Chef Garces won Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, making him one of just seven chefs in the country to hold the prestigious title of Iron Chef America.
Garces is a James Beard winner and one of seven chefs in the country to hold the prestigious title of Iron Chef America.