Ramón Freixa hoodwinks our senses with a trompe l’oeil in which Julienne sliced white asparagus mimics Tagliatelle.
In gastronomy a trompe l’oeil is an “illusion” that aims to surprise the clientele with a dish that appears to be something it is not. It puts all the senses that take part in a recipe into play, reaching further beyond what is customary… taste, sight, smell (aromas), touch (textures) and even hearing (in the case of crispy crackling products) can all hold a starring role that leads the consumer to a big surprise… initial confusion and, above all, reflection…
In this dish Ramón Freixa raises the trompe l’oeil to a unique level as he puts into play practically all the senses, enveloping us in a progression of surprising sensations that are the result of an excellent use of the best culinary technique and a huge dose of creativity. Thus, for lovers of cutting edge cuisine the first impression after reading the name of the dish is that they will find themselves before the “classic” deconstruction of a dish that separates the components of the typical Carbonara sauce.
To begin with and so that those that have thought exactly that will feel that they are spot-on, well let us allow sight to first come into play. You only have to see the image of the assembled dish for that. On the one part an egg yolk, on the other part what appears to be small strips of bacon and what we expect to find when we read the name of the dish… a rather unusual asparagus.
However, when we pay a bit more attention we discover that our asparagus is not actually an asparagus, but a practically white wafer thin sliver of cured FISAN pork cheek that surrounds diminutive strips of what appears to be Tagliatelle pasta. Alongside it seems that we are seeing bacon in a small separate portion and the egg yolk. Well just that, we look at it and apparently we are looking at a mere destructured dish… we think we have found the meaning behind the creation only with our sight, but we still have a few senses left that we must use.
The first and most obvious is, of course, our sense of taste. As we cut into a portion of our pseudo asparagus and try it…where we thought we were going to encounter Tagliatelle we actually come up against thin strips of asparagus cooked “al dente”. So what we thought was the first trick is no longer as such because the asparagus appears on our palate, closing off one part of the creative and sensorial circle of this dish.
At any rate, the sum of the trompe l’oeil and the work of our senses is not over as yet. Now comes the moment to reconstruct –trying out- the Carbonara that lends its name to the dish. We try a few strips of the bacon that accompanies our asparagus (which it is not although it ends up being) and we find that it is actually a FISAN Gran Reserva Acorn-Fed Ibérico Chorizo that has been sliced ultra-thin in Julienne. Its flavour brings to mind reminiscences of bacon and of many other things.
We finally decide to “attack” the striking quail’s egg yolk… and the first surprise is its texture, dense yet not arid and the intensity of its flavour, which is the result of its “curing” with the same salt obtained from the Torrevieja Salt Lakes that is used to cure the pork cheek. And thus, with this final touch Ramón Freixa manages to close the conceptual circle of this dish, taking the traditional FISAN flavour further beyond its own limits, as he applies traditional techniques in the world of Ibérico in the most surprising ways to new products, as is the egg yolk in this case.
This is the cutting edge cuisine that the Chef proposes: deconstruction that is actually not, asparagus that is not an asparagus, Tagliatelle that tastes like crunchy asparagus, sausage meats of premium quality that are not what they appear to be and artisan curing techniques applied to new ingredients. Thus is the FISAN-Ramón Freixa Alliance of Flavours. All the potential of the best traditional flavours with all the distinctiveness of creativity in gastronomy.