Sunday, November 29

Meat is back in fashion with El Albero and La Maita


Tomás Écija: from Moline, a senior technician in Hospitality and Tourism from the Madrid Hospitality School. Cundi Sánchez: finalist of the 2019-2020 Cook of the Year contest and partner of Écija. Both are well-known young cooks from the Murcia Gastronomic Congress.

If last year they showed us how to re-value the restaurant bar, this year they came to the congress willing to update the tradition of typical cuisine. An exercise that may seem simple, but that involves rethinking how to improve something that already works well.

The chefs from El Albero and La Maita have accompanied us in all editions of the congress organized by LA VERDAD and Murcia Gastronómica Live20 could not be an exception.

We are facing one of the couples who work the most in showcooking in the Region. The most interesting thing is that they cook with ideas that anyone can adapt at home. Above all, they are very Murcian elaborations of lamb and rabbit. The difference is that they work hard to give them a more visual and sophisticated touch.

And that was what his presentation was about, how to turn tradition into avant-garde to perpetuate it and continue to maintain a distinctive gastronomic culture attached to the territory, as well as to the seasonality of the local product.

In this sense, the couple has worked during this confinement to find a chicken street treatment for sausages. In this way, they ensure the survival of a species of bird that was not protected despite its scarcity. Catarrás is the brand under which these new sausages are marketed. Products that are not immune from innovation either. “We have fed some chickens with a highly pigmented algae so that the meat varies its color,” they explained. An exercise that, they indicated, may or may not come out because they are still seeking balance in a trial and error process in the style of the most rudimentary science.

Fruit of this chicken meat is one of the elaborations that they presented to us in their presentation on the second day of the congress. An imitation of the doe pie that changes the chicken for the hen and achieves a smoother result in the mouth.

And it is that giving a twist to the doe cake perfectly reflects the idea of ​​this couple to face the future: Maintaining the traditional flavors with much more sophisticated elaborations. In this sense, they acknowledge wanting to pay tribute to tradition, their families and the aromas of their childhood.

Aromas that are very present in their dishes, not only adding the most aromatic flower petals but also creating papers and other gelatinous preparations to give an elaborate texture to their preparations. But without a doubt, what takes the most prominence from the cuisine of El Albero and La Maita are meats. So they presented us with two dishes of rabbit and two of lamb.

Starting with the rabbit, a sous vide cooked shoulder with its marinated sauce. To accompany this shoulder, a concentrate made from the ribs and the head is used. A reverse beet base gives a toue of color and a spiraled look to the dish. In addition, a pate made with liver, kidneys, heart and cognac gives the rabbit a very grateful fatty touch in the mouth.

The second elaboration of rabbit picks up the tradition of the Manchego gazpacho, but brought the greatest Yeclano flavor by mixing anchovy powder and beet flavors.

Changing the third, the head of lamb jumped to the scene in a recipe inspired by the lamb mess from Molina de Segura. The end result is a meatball that mixes a gel-garnished violet potato and a jasmine-garnished flower. Cundi Sánchez highlighted that they have opted for jasmine to recall their memories as a child, in which she ate this mess at the Los Jazmines restaurant with her parents.

The couple finished off their use of the lamb with an inflated ear that emulates a crispy and airy torrezno. An authentic way of betting on the usual products without giving up on achieving results suitable for the most demanding public and that is further away from traditional flavors.

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