Josean Alija’s grillo

Three ingredients close to their use-by date for Nerua’s chef. Part of Lisa Casali’s Best Before challenge

03-08-2016

Best Before is a small challenge dedicated to all fine dining professionals. It’s a way to make people think about how much we waste every day in our homes and about the simple, fun and surprising things we can make with a few ingredients close to their use-by date. Today it’s the turn of the great Josean Alija from Nerua in Bilbao

Summer, heat, no wish to cook, no wish to go shopping. But when you cross the door to your home, you’re still hungry. You have 3 ingredients available, all with written on top “now or never”. Here they are: potatoes, one red onion, a no longer fresh bunch of lettuce. What would you do? Order your meal online?

There is indeed an alternative: following the example of a chef who’s a real master in transforming a few simple ingredients into extraordinary dishes. All this seasoned with a rare sensitivity for vegetables. His name is Josean Alija, he’s the chef at Nerua, the restaurant inside Guggenheim in Bilbao. His dish, inspired by these “best before” ingredients is called “Grillo”, a true icon among Bilbao’s pintxos, the emblem of a cuisine made with few poor ingredients though this doesn’t mean it lacks in taste and surprises.

JOSEAN ALIJA’S “GRILLO”

INGREDIENTS
For the potatoes:

200 g small potatoes (four pieces)
50 g cooking salt
Enough water to cover the potatoes by an inch

For the vinaigrette:
100 g extra virgin olive oil
25 g lemon vinegar
ground pepper

For the "grillo":
1 red onion
½ lettuce
4 small potatoes, previously cooked (see above)

Method
For the potatoes:
Put all the ingredients into a pot. Starting from cold water, bring to the boil. Boil for some 17 minutes. Using a fork, make sure the potatoes are well cooked. Remove all the water and leave the potatoes to dry in the pot on the heat. Set aside.

For the vinaigrette:
Mix all the ingredients in the Turmix. Set aside.

For the "grillo":
Peel the onion leaving the root part so as to make it easier to cut it into 2 cm large wedges. Cut the central part of the lettuce and cut it into four parts as in a cross. Peel the potatoes and cut a small piece below so as to form a base. To make the grillo, insert the onion wedge into a toothpick with a piece of lettuce and half a potato. Make sure the size is right to eat the “grillo” in just one mouthful. Finally season with cooking salt and a little vinaigrette.

Best Before is a small challenge dedicated to all fine dining professionals. A way to make people think about how much is wasted every day in our homes, and what simple, fun and surprising things we can make with a few ingredients close to their use-by date such as vegetables, eggs, cheese, meat, fish. In order to do so, we should let our creativity run wild and get inspired by the recipes created by the world’s fine dining protagonists. Share your anti-waste dinner with #BestBefore @Identitagolose.


Sections

Best Before

Lisa Casali asks chefs and readers to prepare a good recipe with 3 ingredients just before their expiration date