“The gastronomy of a country is its landscape in a pot” said the writer Josep Pla and, in this case, we are going to rediscover it and savor it from the botanical point of view. Just as each season has its seasonal products, the plants that we have around us can also be useful to reintroduce them into our recipes.
What would gazpacho be like if Columbus hadn’t discovered America? Maybe so
The great French chef Alain Ducasse used to say that “eating is a political act” and, indeed, recover knowledge about wild plants is to bet on food sustainability since, according to the UN, in the last 100 years more than 90% of crop varieties have disappeared, fields have been depopulated and we increasingly depend on few companies in the food industry.
To help us in this endeavor, we turn to Kike gallardo, a biologist who focuses his work on “Sustainable Gastronomy” and founding chef of “The Edible Herbarium” that, together with the illustrator Daniel Bustillo, have created a scientific dissemination project to understand and value botany through cuisine and art.
In addition, Gallardo is a member of the Spanish Cuisine Selection and, after passing through El Celler de Can Roca, he currently works together with Rodrigo de La Calle in his plant-based haute cuisine restaurant. “The GreenHouse” (a Michelin Star, and a green star for sustainability).
1. Watermelon and peach gazpacho, with purslane oil
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is an edible wild plant that has traditionally been used as a vegetable, but it is a very amazing plant with many culinary and medicinal uses.
To make the purslane oil, the purslane is covered with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and salt, and crushed to make a very powerful green sauce with which to decorate and flavor the gazpacho. The fresh leaves can be stored in the refrigerator so that they are crunchy when serving.
Crush three tomatoes, a red pepper, a cucumber (you can peel it, since the skin is bitter), half a watermelon, two peaches, salt, pepper, cumin, EVOO and apple cider vinegar. The peach will give it a sweet and creamy touch that will make a difference.
When you strain the gazpacho, after grinding it, don’t throw the skins away! You can make a very interesting gazpacho mayonnaise with them. The skin is where the greatest amount of vitamins and proteins is concentrated, which translates into nutrients and flavor.
2. Yellow tomato and basil salmorejo
For a change, we are going to use yellow tomato. This type of tomato was considered ornamental when it arrived in Europe from America, until it began to be consumed. The first tomatoes that were cultivated in Italy were given the name “Golden Apple” or “pomo d’oro” because of their yellow color, keeping that name until today.
This tomato is characterized by containing quercetin, which is an antioxidant, a polyphenol that is soluble in water and degrades easily with temperature, so it is recommended to consume it fresh.
Crush yellow tomato by eye, according to the diners, add a clove of garlic, olive oil, some basil leaves, pepper, salt and a little toast if you want to thicken. It is not a bad idea to top it with some dehydrated and crunchy black olives.
3. Melon soup with mint and crunchy ham and sesame
Crush melon and mint with EVOO, salt and pepper. Wrap a few slices of Serrano ham with filo pastry and make thin and elongated sticks. Paint with a little oil and add toasted sesame seeds. You put it in the oven for a few minutes at 180º degrees, until it is crisp. Finally you spread it over the melon soup.
4. Summer squash cream with calendula pesto and lime zest
Summer squash has thinner skin and is softer and juicier than winter squash. The skin is eaten, providing most of the nutrients. It is recommended to cut and sauté or bake to toast it a little and have more flavor. And proceed to make a pumpkin soup by adding water, simmering until cooked and mashing well. We will let it cool once crushed and strained.
Pesto is a typical Italian sauce that is made with cheese (mainly Parmesan), pine nuts (you can play with other nuts as well), a clove of garlic, olive oil and basil (although in that case we are going to replace it with calendula petals , so that we are left with a surprising orange color). At the time of eating the soup, we add the pesto, which will enhance the flavor, and we grate the lime to taste to add freshness and acidity. A delight!
5. Cold soup of zucchini, ginger and cayenne oil
The minced ginger and sautéed in a frying pan gives extraordinary nuances. For this occasion, we will mince a garlic and ginger to taste and we will sauté them until they “start to dance”.
For zucchini, the procedure is similar to the previous recipe. Thoroughly clean the unpeeled zucchini, cut them and sauté them with the ginger and garlic. Then we add water, cook over low heat until cooked and blend well. Store it in the fridge to keep it cool.
For the cayenne oil, in a glass container, place the cayennes you want, breaking them a little before adding them. You can also add bay leaf and allspice. Cover it with EVOO, let it marinate for a few days, and use it to taste!
6. Lavender cream and white chocolate
Very simple and perfect to accompany desserts with a new and surprising flavor. Infuse a liter of whipping cream -with 35% fat- with 10 g of lavender (at a low temperature so that it does not become bitter), and strain it over 50 g of still hot white chocolate so that everything is mixed well. It can be taken hot or chilled and whipped with a mixer or siphon to make a lavender and white chocolate mousse, perfect for cooling off in summer.
If you don’t want to miss any of our items, subscribe to our newsletters