Share This Blog Post


Instagram



Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)




4/18/2018

Gerry’s Dishes: Langostinos Cocidos (or a la Plancha) con Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise


* * * * *
(Recipes from the first broadcast on the Gerry's Dishes segment of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio program on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.)
 

 Gerry’s Dishes: Langostinos Cocidos con Aioli

I cook every night that I am at home and I will share the results of successful dishes on Gerry Dawes & Friends and the Gerry Dawes & Friends Facebook page. I will also post the photos and recipes of the dishes on the WPWL Pawling (NY) Public Raido website and on my Gerry’s Dishes Facebook page.

Raúl Aleixandre's Technique for Cooking Shrimp 

Raúl Aleixandre, formerly the Chef-owner at Ca Sento in Valencia, Spain taught me this technique. I get very good heads-on langostinos, prawns from Restaurant Depot in Newburgh, New York.

One dozen heads-on shrimp or prawns.
Coarse sea salt
Pot or pan with enough water to cover the shrimp
(preferably fresh shrimp or prawns with the heads still on).



Sometimes, I use frozen or refreshed shrimp from Ace Endico or DeCicco’s in Southeast or even purchased from local supermarkets. Nevertheless, the technique is the same and works well even without fresh shrimp. 

Put the shrimp a bowl in ice water with sea salt for ten minutes or put frozen shrimp in a bowl of water with sea salt for half an hour or more before cooking. 

Heat a pot or pan with enough water to hold all the shrimp, but do not let the water reach a full boil, just a simmer. 

Put all the shrimp you plan to cook in the water at once and set a timer for no more than five minutes, depending upon the size of the shrimp or prawns. Cooking properly may take 3 -5 minutes. 

Never let the water return to boil, just watch the vapors coming off the hot water and when they return to the state they were before you put the shrimp in, turn the flame off. 

Watch the shrimp turn a rosy color, then take out the shrimp with a slotted spoon and put them on a platter in a single layer. For a lot of shrimp you may need more than one platter, but the idea is to keep them in a single layer, so they do not keep cooking from their own heat. 

Let the shrimp cool a bit before serving, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. Put out a bowl for the shells. 

You can keep any prawns or shrimp cooked this way in the refrigerator for a couple of days. 

I also sometimes pat the shrimp dry in a paper towel and do them a la plancha style, but since I do not have a plancha-type grill, I grill them in their shells in a cast-iron skillet with a little Spanish extra virgin Olive Oil and some coarse sea salt, turning them once until the are cooked, but not overcooked. 

 Langostinos a la Plancha, done in a cast-iron skillet doubling as a plancha grill.

Gerry’s Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

 Aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

Make an aioli* to serve with the shrimp as a dipping sauce. (Or serve a good cocktail sauce if you prefer or do both.)

(*Real aioli has no eggs, just olive oil, garlic and salt. If you make it like real back country Catalans and some do in Barcelona, it will curl your eyebrows, with its industrial strength pungency.)

I make aioli with a blender. If you enjoy martyrdom, you can do it in a mixing bowl with a whisk. 

1 fresh raw egg
splash of Chinese red chili oil
1-2 cloves of good quality garlic
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt (salt to taste)
I -2 Tbs lime juice or 1 Tb lime juice
1 cup Trader Joe's Extra Virgen Olive Oil


(Optional: add saffron to the mixture while blending or cilantro (not stems) or basil or make the aioli, spoon out some and mix in whatever herb you might want to flavor it with. My next stunt with aioli is going to be blending in romesco sauce (made with hazelnuts, almonds, nyora (or ancho) peppers, paprika, parsley, and Spanish pimentón [the best paprika in the world].)

Put a fresh, raw egg in the blender, add a splash of Tabasco sauce or Chinese red chili oil, which is what I use, and one to two cloves of fresh garlic, depending upon how much you like garlic. 

Add a teaspoon sea salt and a tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard (classic Spanish aioli recipes do not call for the mustard, but I use it and love it).

Start the blender and mix those ingredients and puree the garlic. 

Remove the small top cap from the center of the blender, start the blender on the blend setting and begin slowly adding about a cup of Spanish extra virgin olive oil – I use Trader Joe’s at $7.99 per liter--to the egg, chili oil, sea salt and garlic mixture. 

When you have added about half the olive and the mixture begins to thicken, add 1 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice or 1-2 Tablespoons of lime juice (lime is my preference, in Spain, cooks would use lemon) to taste. 

After the citrus juice is integrated, continue adding olive oil until the aioli gets thick and smooth. Your blender will tell you that it is about to choke, so shut it off and mix any un-integrated olive oil with a spatula. 

Pour and scrape with a spatula the aioli into a Pyrex type bowl with a cover, one that you can also use to serve the aioli with a spoon. 

Refrigerate until ready to use. I keep my aioli for about a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long at our house. 

Spoon some aioli onto your plate and dip the peeled shrimp into the spooned out dollop of aioli.  Do not dip your shrimp into the aioli bowl, not if you want to use the remainder again with another dish. 

Paco Dovalo's artisanal Cabaleiro do Val Albariño 2013 (or any other vintage from this great bodega) from Rías Baixas in Galicia is a superb match for this dish.  Available from the Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group (e-mail gerrydawes@spanishartisanwine.com) for more information.
 
Paco Dovalo, President of the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas, and Gerry Dawes 
at the Encontro de Viño de Autor in Meaño.

Again, this recipe for shrimp with aioli (and other dishes that I make) can be found on my Gerry Dawes & Friends and Gerry’s Dishes Facebook pages and on my blog, Gerry Dawes’s Spain: An Insider’s Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel at http://www.gerrydawesspain.com.
 
 ___________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

4/16/2018

Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits and Wanderers Created a New American Profession by Andrew Friedman


* * * * * 

“Much would change in the (American) chefs’ social landscape in the early 1990s, connecting them with each other and with their growing fan base in unprecedented ways. . .An early agent of change was Gerry Dawes, who hailed from southern Illinois, fell in love with wine, especially Spanish wines and culture. . .led Dawes to create a more intimate, periodic gathering of chefs who met once a month at each other restaurants, where the host chef would prepare a five-course lunch for the others. . . The name of the group: Chefs From Hell (Acrobatic Unicyclists and Winetasters Club). . .The original group included future culinary deity Thomas Keller, . . . Le Côte Basque alum Rick Moonen (chef a The Water Club). . .Tom Valenti (Alison on Dominick). . .Brendan Walsh (Arizona 206). . .original Union Square Café chef Ali Barker. . . Hudson River Club’s Waldy Malouf. . . and Rusty Staub (baseball great and owner of two Manhattan restaurants) . . . (Other members joined shortly after the inaugural gathering: Steve Lyle (The Odeon), George Faison (D’Artagnan), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Don Pintabona (Tribeca Grill), Michael Lomonaco (‘21' Club), Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Anne Rosenzweig, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Pamela Morgan, Martha Stewart and honorary member Julia Child.) Such a gathering is commonplace today, but at the time was uncharted territory. . .”

“Thomas Keller. . . says he believed in the cause: “It’s camaraderie. It’s the one thing that we did not do enough at any time throughout our careers. . .So the idea of bringing chefs together is an extraordinary thing. . . .Prior to Chefs From Hell, says Keller, New York chefs were too busy to connect. “Gerry brought it together just for the benefit of us, to have fun.” And Tom Colicchio is quoted as saying, “We would literally sit around and drink and laugh our asses off. A lot of these guys have their ‘chef personality.’ When you get together in a room with them they’re funny as hell. . .We had a good time. . .It was also in the light of day, which was just something that never happened. . .” - - Part of a ten-page treatment of me and the upcoming book, Chefs From Hell in Chefs, Drugs and Rock and Rock & Roll by Andrew Friedman (available at Amazon.com)



Gerry Dawes, Founder of The Chefs From Hell, with Chef From Hell Brendan Chef Brendan Walsh, Dean—School of Culinary Arts (behind Malouf, next to Nieporent), with the great Drew Nieporent, Founder-Director of the Myriad Restaurant Corporation and one of America's most respected and celebrated restaurateurs, former New York Times Restaurant Critic Bryan Miller, Culinary Institute of America President Tim Ryan, Author Andrew Friedman, (back row), Chefs Fron Hell member  Waldy Malouf, CIA Senior Director of Food and Beverage operations,  Chef Diane Forley, Meringue Shop (Scarsdale, NY) and Mike Colameco, chef, author, host of Real Food on PBS and Food Talk on Heritage Radio Network, at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, April 11, 2018 prior to the panel discussion on Andrew Friedman's new book, Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll.  (Walsh and Malouf are original members of The Chefs From Hell Acrobatic Unicyclists & Winetasters Club, a group I founded in 1989.)   Photograph by Myriad Corp's Tony Torres©2018 with a Samsung Galaxy G9+ phone.

___________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

4/05/2018

Blast From The Past: Post Pamplona Shenanigans! Miss Merande, Meeting Doro Merande, Star of The Russians Are Coming, the Russians are Coming!



* * * * *
Doro Merande, near Ayamonte, Spain, August 5, 1971.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2018

Back in the day, in the early 1970s, I used to write for Guidepost Magazine, Spain's American Weekly, which was based in Madrid and published by the great Dan Lowell.  One day in August of 1971, after we had been together in Pamplona for las Fiestas de San Fermín, my great friend Mike Kelly and his brother Bob came to visit my then fiancee Diana Valenti and me when we were living in Sevilla. 

My great friend Mike Kelly, sanfermines 1971, Bar Txoko.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2018.

Because we needed to get our passports stamped, proving that we had exited Spain at least once every six months (this was well before the EU changed the rules), we decided to make a one-day passport stamping and Mateus Rosé (this was well before my palate became much more refined) on the way to Portugal.  We stopped at a roadhouse watering hole for reasons this article makes obvious and ran into Doro Merande, the memorable star of "The Russians Are Coming!"   My article is about what ensued.   Mike Kelly tried to round out every copy he could get his hands on because he was the Headmaster at the American School in the Canary Islands. 



Doro Merande died of a stroke in late 1975 at the age of 83.

_____________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

2/11/2018

The Bar at Marisquería Rafa: A Five Dalí POM (Persistence of Memory) Melting Watch Award Experience


* * * * *
Gerry Dawes toasting with Champagne at the Bar at  Marisquería Rafa, Madrid.
Photograph by John Sconzo (Docsconz:  Musings on Food & Life)


 Gerry Dawes's Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Melting Watch Awards.

This article on Marisquería Rafa in Madrid, is the first post in what will be a series of articles on restaurants and tapas bars from around Spain that I think, from my very personal experience, deserve Five of Five Dalí POM (Persistence of Memory) Melting Watch Award pins.  I frankly don’t give a damn about Michelin ratings, Repsol or any of the rest.  I have been traveling and eating and drinking wine all over Spain for nearly 50 years and I have been to most of the restaurants in these articles multiples times.  Yes, I am influenced by the friendly relationships I have with many of the chefs and owners of these establishments and I take into consideration the downside for those who might not be connected in some of the restaurants I am writing about.  Nonetheless, I have had repeated Five Melting Watch experiences in all the places I am going to write about.  

Rafael Andrés & María José Orbe with Gerry Dawes at the Bar at Rafa.
   Photo copyright by Harold Heckle.

Though this list of establishments receiving my highest rating does not include all the eating experiences I plan to include in this series, among these establishments are the following:

1.    Extebarri in the Basque Country has refined grilling a magical art form, so almost ever dish you get is something special.

2.    Elkano and Kaia in the fishing village of Getaria is the place to go for the best txangurro (spider crab scrape from the shell, put back into the shell with leeks, sherry, brandy and breadcrumbs and passed under the broiler and whole rodaballo (turbot) cooked outside over a wood fire.

3.    El Crucero, in the overlooked town of Corella, in southern Navarra, which is a vegetable region.  The creative chef, Nabor Jiménez does dishes such as sliced, fried small artichoke hearts with foie gras (have a sweet Aliaga Late Harvest muscatel with dish, since only sweet wines don’t clash with artichokes. 

4.    La Taberna del Gourmet, María José San Román’s incredible tradtional cuisine restaurant in Alicante, just a block of the palm-lined Explanada.  The best product, the best technique. Maybe the best tapas restaurant in Spain.   Gambas rojas de Denia, rice dishes, sea urchins, etc.  Whatever is fresh from the market that day.  Coverage of the remarkable GrupoGourmet culinary empire in Alicante, including her Michelin-starred Monastrell, the Tribeca beer and hamburger bar and her son-in-law’s grilled meat restaurant, La Vaquería, El Campello (Playa de San Juan de Alicante).

5.    Casa Elias, in the pueblo of Xinorlet inland in the province of Alicante, for thin-layer arroz cooked in paella pans over a grape vine cuttings fire. 

6.    D’Berto in O Grove (Pontevedra), Galicia.  Certainly among the greatest shellfish restaurants in the world. 

7.    Casa Bigote and Bar Bigote in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Andalucía.  Exceptional seafood, friend fish, composed fish dishes and those wonderful Langostinos (prawns) de Sanlúcar, fresh off the plancha grill. 

8.    Quim de la Boquería in la Boquería market in Barcelona.  Put yourself in Quim Marquéz’s hands for a five-star dining experience on a taburete (barstool).  Plump gambas al ajillo, among the best in Spain.  Lovely ceviche de corvina with mango with Juve i Camps Pinot Noir Rosat (rosé) Cava.  Fried tiny fish, chanquetes con huevo frito, with a fried egg.  You can also go to front of the market to the legendary Pinotxo and have Xuchos, a wonderful pastry, and Calamarsets Saltats amb Fesos de Santa Pau (baby squid with tiny white Santa Pau (a village north of Barcelona on the Mediterranean.

9. Ganbara, in the old quarter of San Sebastián, has numerous varieties of mushrooms.  Have an assortment grilled, use a raw egg yolk as the sauce and you will be in mushroom heaven. 

10. Madrid, on Sunday nights most restaurants are closed, so I go to two places.  First, Marisquería Rafa, in the other side of Retiro Park in the Ibiza Metro area, where Rafa Andrés serves one of the best salpicónes, either with lobster or with shellfish in vinaigrette, one of the best ensaladillas rusas (“Russian” potato salad), wonderful jamón Ibérico and other dishes such as beberechos (cockles).    

After having some of Rafa’s dishes as appetizers, I usually go to Casa Lucio on Cava Baja in the Old Quarter of Madrid and eat setas a la plancha (plancha-grilled mushrooms with garlic, for which I request a raw egg yolk or two as a sauce, and huevos rotos con patatas (eggs “broken” over friend potatoes) and maybe a steak brought out on a sizzling platter.  Yes, Casa Lucio is getting my Five Dalí POM (Persistence of Memory) Melting Watch Award as well.  If I am in Madrid on a Sunday night, 99% of those nights I will end up at either Casa Lucio or Marisquería Rafa.   Yes, I know there are supposed to be better places for traditional Castilian food in Madrid than Lucio and Rafa and I know a lot of them, but both places are home and family to me and it would be hard to beat the overall experiences at either place. 


Marisquería Rafa
Calle de Narváez, 68
28009 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 915 73 10 87
  
 Juanjo Mateos Fornelio with mariscos at Marisquería Rafa, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016.
   
Marisquería Rafa, which has been in business since 1958, began for me more than twenty years ago as one of those Sunday nights-in-Madrid-when-everything-else-is-closed experiences and, over the period of a decade, became a regular stop on my prowl of Madrid restaurants.  And, because Casa Rafa was reliable I booked a couple of gastronomic tour groups that I was taking around Spain into the upstairs dining room, where I could bring special wines in and talk to my fellow travellers about them over lunch or dinner.

I began to establish the relationship I have today with Rafa Andrés, who owns Rafa with his cousin Miguel Angel Andrés, who alternates between being Chef and running the front of the house.


 Gerry and Rafa having a serious discussion about some item of gastronomic importance.   Maybe I am bugging Rafa to triple the size of the small entry way bar area, which might seat a half dozen people on one side, with maybe room for three-to-four more patrons at a side bar.

Though I have been going to Rafa for more than two decades, my afición really began to ratchet up, beginning with the advent of the Madrid Fusión Gastronomic Summit in 2003, which is held in Madrid every January.   The foreign chef and press contingent always arrives on Sunday the day before the event begins, so I began to look for places where I could take visiting journalists and chefs for one of the only free nights on the town in Madrid.  Thus, Marisquería Rafa and Casa Lucio, both being open on Sunday nights, when many other restaurants are closed, became my go to places to take foreign gastronomic luminaries to experience traditional Spanish cuisine before they began the vortex of cocina de vanguardia Ferran Adrià-inspired creative fusion cuisine on Monday morning.  

  Amercian journalists Arthur Bovino, John Sconzo and George Semler at the Bar at Rafa. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015.

I began to rally groups of invitees to Madrid Fusión to these nights on the town.  Over the years they have included Chefs Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill (NYC), Michael Ginor (Hudson Valley Foie Gras), Ken Oringer (Toro, Boston), Jonathan Benno (then Chef of Per Se, NYC), Santa Fe’s Mark Miller, author Harold McGee, Ruth Reichl (then editor of Gourmet magazine), Jeffrey Steingarten (food critic of Vogue), Colman Andrews (Managing Editor, The Daily Meal and author of Catalan Cuisine), journalists Arthur Bovino, George Semler and John Sconzo (Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life). 



Several Madrid Fusión Gastronomic Summit attendees at the bar at Marisquería Rafa.  Among them Anne E. McBride of the Culinary Institute of America, John Sconzo (Docsconz) and Catalan events promoter, Santi Mas de Xaxàs, CEO and Founder of HuddleApp.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016.

But, the year that the Bar at Rafa legend began to kick into high gear was 2006, when the likes of Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken, Tetsuya Wakuda and Don Alfonso Iaccarino were all at Madrid Fusión.  That year, I arranged, along with star Spanish food journalist, Juanma Bellver, to meet them all–three of the chefs with their significant others with them–at the Bar at Rafa for some stellar shellfish tapas, a bit of bubbly and some conversation. 
 

  Gerry Dawes, Tetsuya Wakuda, Rochelle Smith, Livia Iaccarino, Janet Van Aken, Charlie Trotter and Norman Van Aken.  Photo by Don Alfonso Iaccarino.

Casa Rafa would be the first stop, then we were going on to Sergi Arola’s new place.  Still, between the plates of jamón Ibérico de bellota, gambas rosas, salpicón de mariscos and Champagne, we managed to run up an impressive bill.  

Norman Van Aken pulled out an American Express Platinum card and tried to pay the bill.  Charlie Trotter trumped him with TWO American Express Platinum cards, then Tetsuya Wakuda pushed them both aside and plopped down his American Express BLACK card and paid the bill. 

 Spanish journalist Juanma Bellver, the late Charlie Trotter and his great friend Chef Norman Van Aken at the bar at Marisquería Rafa.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

Over the years, with or without celebrity chefs in two–more often it is talented foreign journalists who join me on these jaunts–Casa Rafa had become one of my favorite places in Madrid.  Usually with friends, sometimes alone with my friend Rafa Andrés, drifting in and out as he fulfills his duties as maitre’d and cashier, I corner one or more of the half dozen seats at the small bar and the parade of superb quality product-driven begins.

The All-Star Food Gallery at Casa Rafa
(All photos copyright 2017 by Gerry Dawes; gerrydawes@gmail.com)

 Rafa Andrés, who owns Rafa with his cousin Miguel Angel Andrés Poyo, alternates between being Chef and running the front of the house.  Miguel Angel with a plate of gambas rebozadas with romesco sauce (deep-fried, tempura-like battered shrimp).

 Rafa Andrés at the bar with his prized salpicón de bogavante, lobster melange in vinaigrette.

 Rafa's salpicón de bogavante, lobster melange in vinaigrette.

Employee at Rafa shows off a huge centollo, spider crab.

Ham cutter at Casa Rafa slicing a jamón Ibérico de bellota (ham from acorn-grazed pigs) from Joselito in Guijuelo, Salamanca.

Plate of Jamón Ibérico de bellota (ham from acorn-grazed pigs) from Joselito in Guijuelo, Salamanca at Casa Rafa.

 My long-time friend Gabriella Llamas at a table on the sidewalk terrace at Casa Rafa having the house ensaladilla Rusa (Russian potato salad with ventresca de bonito, bonito belly tuna), which has been proclaimed one of the ten best ensaladillas in Spain.

Almejas a la marinera, superb clams in a light sauce, at Marisquería Rafa.

 Boquerones en vinagre, fresh anchovies dressed in vinegar and oil at Marisquería Rafa.

 Percebes, prized Galicia goose barnacles, that taste of the essence of the sea, at Marisquería Rafa.

Rafa's salpicón de langostinos, exceptional prawns in vinaigrette.


 Espardenyas, rare "Royal" sea cucumbers, from Catalunya, an expensive and prized delicacy in Spain, at Rafa.

 Angulas, baby eels caught in estuaries in northern Spain, another rare, expensive and legendary Spanish delicacy at at Marisquería Rafa.


 American journalist Arthur Bovino doing justice to his share of angulas, baby eels caught in estuaries in northern Spain, another rare, expensive and legendary Spanish delicacy at Marisquería Rafa.
 

  Fried salmonetes, excellent small red mullet, at Marisquería Rafa.

 Langostinos cocidos, steamed prawns, at Marisquería Rafa.


 
  Exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa.

 Exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa done on the plancha grill with sea salt.

  Exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa done on the plancha grill with sea salt.

 
  A pair of exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa done on the plancha grill and served on a brick of sea salt.

My fiancee Kay Balun with a pair of exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa done on the plancha grill and served on a brick of sea salt.

It is not all seafood at Casa Rafa, mollejas de cordero (lamb sweetbreads), served with a bottle of Décima, a lovely Ribeira Sacra Mencía-based red wine made by my friend José Manuel Rodríguez, an artisan grape farmer-winemaker, who is the only viticulturist in Spain who is the President of his denominación de origen (Ribeira Sacra).


Chuletas de cordero, baby lamb chops with fried potatoes at Casa Rafa, also with a bottle of Décima.


My long-time friend, Juan Suárez, lives near Rafa and sometimes meets me at the bar for a glass of vino and a tapa or two.   Even though Marisquería Rafa is one of the best seafood restaurants in Madrid, it is still somewhat of a neighborhood hangout in the well-to-do barrio beyond Madrid's Retiro Park.

____________________________________________________________________________  
About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
Related Posts with Thumbnails