Many people ask me, how I arrange shooting for my Food&Chef project. Do I come to restaurants and show to chefs a fat album with photos of other wonderful and famous chefs? Do I take hostage the prettiest waitress with my camera in one hand, requiring from a chef to pose and to tell about his or her most secret recipe?

Of course, not. The process is usually less dramatic, except for the case with Jordi Cruz Mas, although there was no criminality and I was extremely polite.

This is how it was. I agreed about shooting with a manager of popular Barcelona Restaurant ABaC by e-mail, we arranged date and time, and I asked to prepare for the shooting. At the fixed time, I arrived to the restaurant (and it was quite late, around 9 p.m.) and rang the bell. Hm, I think you should know that chef’s dishes are so tasty and the restaurant is always so full of people that one can get there only by appointment.

So, I rang the bell and explained in English (remember that it was all happening in Catalonia), what I wanted and why I looked like a terrorist with all my photo equipment.

Parmesan Gnocchi with Truffle, Sautéed and Raw Mushrooms, Acidulated Mushroom Consommé, Broken Walnuts and Aragula Flowers

They let me in, and surprised beautiful Spanish young woman regretfully explained that they couldn’t find appointment in their calendar, as well as any correspondence with me. And the manager I had made an arrangement with, had never worked in ABaC.

However, while I was bringing my big bag inside the restaurant, they urgently called for the chef who was at another end of the city and I had a bit of time to tell them about my project featuring the best chefs of the world and their dishes.

This is how calmly and amicably I made a small fuss in that restaurant. And that’s how I met one of the most prominent Spanish chefs Jordi Cruz Mas, who arrived immediately, although he had no idea, why he was coming. Since, as it appeared to be, he didn’t know at all that we had an arrangement with him.

After all, some other chef could just say: ‘I’m sorry, but I had no appointment with you…’

Parmesan Gnocchi with Truffle, Sautéed and Raw Mushrooms, Acidulated Mushroom Consommé, Broken Walnuts and Aragula Flowers Recipe
Recipe Type: Main dishes
Cuisine: Italian Cuisine
Ingredients
  • For the parmesan part
  • 1.5 l mineral water
  • 7.5 g sodium alginate
  • 5d l mineral water
  • 500 g parmesan
  • 60 g mascarpone cheese
  • 5 g gluconolactate
  • For fragrant mushrooms consommé
  • 1.5 l roast chicken stock
  • 400 g frozen mushrooms (boletus edulis)
  • 100 g minced chives
  • 50 g chopped shallots
  • 100 g Butter
  • 50 g fresh cream
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 branch of balm mint per 2 dcl of mushroom consommé
  • For cooked mushrooms
  • 150 g fresh mushrooms (mushrooms, chanterelles)
  • Butter
  • Salt and white pepper
  • For raw mushrooms
  • High-quality mushrooms, suitable for eating raw (champignon, mushrooms)
  • Other
  • Broken walnuts
  • Rosemary and arugula flowers
  • Fresh truffles (Tuber Aestivum, Melanosporum or Magnatum Pico)
  • Arbequina olive oil
Instructions
For the parmesan part
  1. At first, make alginate bath, mixing half water with the alginate and blend the mixture until the alginate is fully integrated, add the remaining water and put in vacuum container for a minimum of 12 hours.
  2. For the base of parmesan, grate cheese fine and add to boiling water.
  3. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes and strain it, add the remaining ingredients and let the mixture cool in the refrigerator.
  4. To make the spheres, take small amounts of mixture with teaspoon of 2.5ml.
  5. Leave spheres to “cook” for 45 seconds and move on to a bath of mineral water to remove traces of alginate.
  6. Let spheres dry and put in mild olive oil.
  7. To serve the spheres, heat them in oil at 65 °C (149F) for 5-10 minutes.
For fragrant mushrooms consommé
  1. Separate stalks and hats of frozen mushrooms, peel mushrooms stalks with peeler.
  2. Boil three or four litters of water with 5% salt.
  3. Scald mushroom stalks for 5 seconds and then hats.
  4. Cool with ice water and chop mushrooms into 1-2 cm cubes.
  5. Fry lightly onions in 20g butter.
  6. In another pan, brown chopped and well-drained mushrooms until they obtain a nice tone, add lightly fried onions and a bit of stock.
  7. Cook for five minutes and add cream and butter.
  8. Put through a food processor until the mixture gets creamy.
  9. As soon as mixture cools down, put it in vacuum bags in the form of plates of 1 cm to freeze.
  10. The night before you finish preparation, put a plate in a superbag sieve and let it defrost above a perforated GN tray.
  11. Put the set between two solid GN trays: one to pick consommé and another to prevent contamination of the juice or to collect fridge flavours.
  12. Before you finish preparation, boil consommé and add chopped balm mint, add salt to taste and let infuse for 5-10 minutes.
  13. Filter infusion and before using it again bring to boiling temperature.
For cooked mushrooms
  1. Clean mushrooms with the minimum amount of water and cut into pieces of 1.5 cm, sauté the mushrooms on a high heat with a little butter, straighten and serve immediately.
For raw mushrooms
  1. Clean the mushrooms and peel if necessary hats in case of champignons and stalks in case of other mushrooms.
  2. Cut in very thin pieces with the help of a mandoline or meat slicer, add salt and a bit of thread Arbequina olive oil.
Assembly
  1. Place accurately 5 or 6 Parmesan spheres in a hot soup plate or cocotte, add a couple of broken nuts, two tablespoons of sautéed mushrooms and slices of raw mushrooms.
  2. Finish with two or three tablespoons of acidulated mushroom juice, flowers, a little of high quality oil and freshly sliced truffle.