A tea at Cogo’s

The chef from Vicenza, his passion for this drink and for Japan. And a recipe to note down

White asparagus, matcha tea, tofu and green almond

White asparagus, matcha tea, tofu and green almonds by Lorenzo Cogo, chef at El Coq restaurant in Marano Vicentino (Vicenza), +39.0445.1886367. The passion for this drink comes from an enlightening semester spent with Japanese chef Seiji Yamamoto at his restaurant RyuGin in Tokyo

Among the many experiences around the world of the very young Lorenzo Cogo, chef at El Coq in Marano Vicentino, there’s an important one in Japan, at Seiji Yamamoto’s RyuGin. It’s normal to ask him if you if he has ever experienced, in his Japanese journey, a certain love for tea. «I adore it», he replies enthusiastically, «in particular I like the green one, which I drink in large quantities when I’m studying a new dish».

It is no news that tea keeps and stimulates concentration: in China and Japan, monks have known this for centuries. Cogo, a tireless researcher of ingredients, adds that during his stay in Japan, one time he got lost («nobody spoke nor understood English») and he ended up visiting a small tea factory in Wakayama. «The processing of an ingredient – he says – is a mirror of the respect you feel for it, this is why I was very curious to learn about it».

Monk's favourite

Monk's favourite

Back to Marano Vicentino, Cogo wanted a tea list, with Chinese and Japanese varieties, «but it’s difficult to promote its consumption. It only happens if I impose it as a pairing with a dish. After all, we’re not in a large city: people only ask for tea in a pub…». Tea gets its return match as an ingredient, not only the Japanese kind, in infusions, dried or emulsified... «I recently studied a dish with local white asparagus served with a tofu mayonnaise. But nature is stronger than me and in this case the dish soon was removed from the menu». Here’s the recipe for the nostalgic. To keep in view of the coming spring.

White asparagus, matcha tea, tofu and green almonds

Recipe for 4 people

6 white asparagus
150 g tofu and matcha tea mayonnaise
400 g fresh tofu
powdered matcha tea to taste
40 green almonds
120 ml of centrifuged green almonds
1 cucumber
10 ml smoked oil
Maldon salt to taste

Lorenzo Cogo, 27 years old, 1 Michelin star

Lorenzo Cogo, 27 years old, 1 Michelin star

for the asparagus
Peel and cook the asparagus in a vacuum pack with a little oil at 62°C for 2 hours. Cool it down in water and ice. Remove from the pack and grill quickly. Finally, cut the asparagus in lozenges and season with salt and a drop of oil.

for the tofu mayonnaise
Put the tofu in the Pacojet. Process adding 3 teaspoons of powdered matcha tea. Separately, whip some traditional mayonnaise. Put the ingredients into a bowl and mix them energetically with a tablespoon so as to obtain a smooth mixture.

for the almonds
Remove the skin from the green almonds and peel them. When needed, fry the almonds quickly with some seed oil in a hot pan and season them with salt and oil.

for the almond centrifuge
Rehydrate the external part of the almond and centrifuge it so as to obtain the juice. Keep it to a side until you need to compose the dish.

for the cucumber
Using a potato peeler, remove the peel and cut it into strips using which you will compose some nests; remove the seeds from the pulp and make a brunoise.

Place the asparagus and the almonds in the dish. Add some tofu-matcha-tea mayonnaise, the brunoise and the cucumber nest. Using a tablespoon, pour the centrifuge juice on the base of the dish, add a pinch of powdered matcha and season with Maldon salt and smoked oil.

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Francesca Natali


Francesca Natali