Disfrutar, technique and enjoyment

During the lesson in Milan, the Catalan trio presented Oc'oo, a Korean tool with endless features

26-03-2018

Close up, Oriol Castro, with Mateu Casañas and Eduardo Xatruch, at the helm of Disfrutar, the young and already acclaimed establishment in Barcelona (photo Brambilla/Serrani)

Disfrutar was founded by an exceptional trio. For years Oriol CastroEduardo Xatruch Mateu Casañas represented the cornerstone at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, contributing to its creativity and success. This year, for the first time, they came to Identità Milano to speak of their restaurant, opened in Barcelona in 2014, the name being a real declaration of intent. Disfrutar literally means "enjoy", it’s a real invitation to savour the pleasures of the table.

How so? First of all, by continuing to surprise us with their creations. Starting from the famous Tatin de foie gras e mais, one of the icon dishes at Disfrutar. It’s a play on beauty, surprises and magic as well as technique, thanks to the precise spherification in the mould. Instead of rinsing and setting apart dozens of spheres of corn juice, as in the original technique, they keep them in a mould so they stick to each other, perfectly recreating a corncob. The result is a tatin made of layers of cream of foie gras, corn brittle and covered in a spherification that explodes in the palate, pleasantly joining the texture and flavour of the foie gras cream. A classic combination, but using a different presentation and concept.

Disfrutar is a real hotbed for ideas and creativity also thanks to the research and experiments they’re conducting on flavour concentration and taste enhancement. "We like to research on techniques and concepts that allow us to do new things", says Oriol from the stage. The most recent revelation is called Oc'oo, a machine whose great potential they showed through the results of various experiments. Born in Korea, it has a thousand functions, including making infusions and soups and cooking rice.

It is powered by electricity with a resistor that warms up the ingredients in a ceramic bowl. Inside, the ingredients are steamed and pressure cooked for many hours. It’s like a pressure cooker, but at low temperature, there’s no boiling. The programme that gave the most interesting results in their research for flavour concentration is the one to cook millennial eggs. For instance with vegetables like cauliflower, which keeps its shape but changes colour: it becomes black and acquires a delicate creamy texture, a balsamic note in which one can still recognise the original flavour.

The dish is assembled live, by covering and polishing the black marinated cauliflower with a shiny glaze made with a reduction of the cooking juice of the cauliflower, made gentler and fresher with some lime zest. “With Oc'oo we’ve discovered nuances in flavour we had never experienced before” continues Edoard Xatruch. The list of applications is endless. From tomato, which becomes a sort of gigantic dried and caramelised raisin, to fresh fruit like banana. Or even nuts like almonds, which become almost buttery.

Right, Eduardo Xatruch 

Right, Eduardo Xatruch 

Tatin de foie gras e mais

Tatin de foie gras e mais

As a tribute to Italy, they ended their speech by making an onion panna cotta in which the caramel is made with a reduction of the onion’s cooking juice, of course using the Korean machine and its magic millennial egg programme. Something definitely worth trying out.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso