Trout on the Table

When it comes to the fish of the day, one of my favorites is trout. This beautiful, delicate and pink fish is so tender and easy to cook and tender that works with pretty much every ingredient.

Many of our customers keep ordering our pan-fried trout with bacon, tomato garnish and olive oil nested on a bed of sliced potatoes. This is been for quite a while in the menu at Alcala Restaurant and we keep bringing it to the menu just because our customers are so loyal to it.

We know trout is one of the healthiest oily fish, ­—rich on Omega-3 fatty oils and proteins.

Alcala Pan-Seared Trout

Alcala Pan-Seared Trout

Customers are often surprised to learn that actually eating trout results in weight loss while retaining lean muscle mass and feeling fuller after meals.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming fish two times a week and better yet, as a substitute for red meat.

Those fishing aficionados know that throwing the fly well it’s the key for a good caught and no less great river scouting.

You can prepare brown or rainbow trout either pan-fried or lightly cooked in the oven. Also lightly boiled and smoked goes well as a salad with a mayonnaise-like sauce; also with pasta, or with other strong ingredients as chorizo or bacon.

And don’t forget a great glass of white wine like Albariño.

Enjoy!!

Chef Jesus Martínez

Alcala Restaurant

 

Let Food be Your Health – NYC Restaurants

salmon Salad - health and food nyc food and health nyc

Welcome to my blog friends and food lovers.

I’m excited about sharing this blog on food, health and wellbeing.  Because I believe food, –good food, and good culinary practices, not only makes you happy but also keeps you healthy.

Ancient Greeks had this figured out early. As Hippocrates put it, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food“. The father of western medicine great Hippocrates correctly established that illness was the result of environmental factors, diet and living habits.

We can say today ‘let food be our medicine, and let also food be our health as well’. In other words, let’s not worry about eating well when we are feeling unwell or ill, but let’s build good, excellent eating habits so we feel good and keep healthy for the most part and when it happens, we’ll be better prepared to fight illness and depression.

And as I mention depression, I want to point another aspect of my culinary practice. As an spiritual person, I believe that everything is connected, matter and energy, biology and emotions, body, mind and spirit. That’s why eating well is fundamentally critical for your health and wellbeing, for your body and soul.

That’s why in this blog I will follow a holistic approach to food and cuisine encompassing all those related aspects from life style and exercise, health and nutrition to culinary styles, ingredients, tips, recipes, anecdotes, food experiences, wines, creativity and so much more.

And we invite you all to follow us in this food blog and to share your love for food and your experiences with us.

I look forward to hear from you soon.

All the best in good health,

Chef Jesus Martínez

Alcala Restaurant

 

Octopus Galician Style – Mediterranean Diet

Tapas Alcala octopus Galician Style

Alcala’s Octopus Galician Style Tapa

Octopus Galician-Style –  Mediterranean Diet in New York City

Preparing a good dish of octopus is not difficult but it certainly takes some skills. Being born in Galicia, the Northwestern region of Spain, ­—one of the most beautiful places in the world with one of the best seafood of the world, I can say Gallegos are a bit ‘obsessed’ about cooking our octopus. This fascinating, mysterious and highly intelligent creature of the deep is found in the warm and more temperate waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Octopus is been known since ancient times for its remarkable appearance and its amazing defense mechanisms, like shooting a jet of ink to cover its retreat and changing the color of skin as if a flashing neon sign.

Growing up in Galicia I got my first culinary memories and flavors from the popular seafood houses called “Pulperías” specialized in serving Galician ‘Pulpo a Feria’. Today every tapas bar in Galicia features this dish of boiled, paprika-scented octopus with potatoes, a signature of Galician culinary specialties.

Octopus Galician Style - Mediterranean Dish

Alcala’s Octopus Galician Style Dish

As a chef, I find octopus a delicacy of flavor and texture when cooked correctly and prepared appropriately. Traditionally Galician-style octopus is cooked inside a copper cauldron and before actually boiling it the octopus is repeatedly dipped in and out of the boiling water, held by its head. The purpose of this operation is to curl the tips of the tentacles.

The secret is to cook the octopus very slowly in a pot of lively boiling water abundantly salted. Once in the boiling water, you want to simmer it for an hour, hour and a half for the octopus to become tender.  While the octopus is cooking, you can also bring along the sliced potatoes to boil for some fifteen-twenty minutes.  Potatoes can be prepared in big chunks as they do in the traditional pulperías of Galicia or in thing slices to nest the octopus medallions over if you prefer a more refined presentation. Also small beds of mash potato make for a great presentation and add another layer of texture.

When the octopus is cooked, remove from heat and keep covered for another good twenty minutes. The optimal cooking point is the one in which the octopus is not rubbery but not overcooked either, somewhere a middle perfect point similar to “al dente’. At that point, the octopus shrinks and its texture has become tender and magenta colored.

Now it’s ready for serving. Slice the octopus in medallions and place them over the potato slices. Then drizzle abundantly with a good olive oil, — for me, extra virgin Spanish olive oil is the best. Then sprinkle with Spanish paprika “pimentón” and place it in a big plate. Traditionally the dish is served on wooden plates, along with sliced boiled potatoes “cachelos” and bread.

It can be served as tapa or as a meal, either way a delicious dish full of nutrients. The dish is usually accompanied by young Galician Albariño white wine but any other good white wine will be fine.

At Alcala Restaurant you can find this delicious meal of the Mediterranean diet right in New York City.

Enjoy your octopus!!  Que aproveche!!

La puerta ‘del’ Alcalá en Manhattan

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 1.06.54 AMSentir ‘morriña’ es cosa de españoles, no solo de gallegos españoles, sino de españoles. Por algo en todas las américas, seas de Murcia o A Coruña, siempre serás ‘un galleguito’. Pues en esto que me encontraba yo con sentimiento de lo mío y me tropecé con la Puerta ‘del’ Alcalá

Que un español pueda perderse en Manhattan entra dentro de lo probable, pero si esto sucede hay una manual seguro que terminará con su preocupación pues, es bien sabido, que un español piensa mejor después de un buen yantar y mejor beber. Hete aquí que un servidor, por más que pudiera parecer que me dedico a otras cosas, mi ocupación principal es contar lo que le sucede a a uno mismo o a otros, y esto que les cuento es lo que me pasó.

Acostumbrado como estaba a ir a la ONU, siempre con prisas; New York imprime carácter y es fácil que como todo el mundo va corriendo, uno termina haciendo lo propio por pura imitación y, así, cuando llevas media hora corriendo entre la Quinta y la Sexta, de la ‘fortyfour’ street a la ‘fortyseven’! Te paras un segundo y te preguntas ¿Pero por qué pijo corres, si tu no tienes prisa?.

Pues eso que, entre mi medio inglés y mi poco conocimiento de la ciudad me vi a las puertas de la ONU, desmayado como el perro del Lazarillo de Tormes y con la nostalgia de meterme entre pecho y espalda algún sopicaldo de los nuestros, una platica de cabrito… Y sin conocer mas que aquellos carteles de “Macdoanld’s” y otros tipos de ‘fastfood’ que es como se llama a eso del comer mal.

Dios…que mal se lleva eso de comer mal, y ahi me tiene usted entre sentimientos de ‘morriña’ y hambre. Salí de la ONU -y, oiga, lea con atención que no lo repito- como si tuviera un radar en mi despejada cabeza, salí por la puerta de visitantes a la izquierda hasta la calle 44, caminé unos pasos, como si fuera dirección a Grand Central Station…y vi un cartel “Alcalá” (Dios ¡No puede ser!) y debajo de Alcalá una puerta y un cartel que, aunque escrito en inglés, el hambre me hizo interpretar correctamente, ‘Spanish Restaurant’.

Les juro por mi vida que casi lloro, ya podía oler -en mi imaginación- los aromas de la cocina, caldo gallego, paella, pimientos del padrón, gazpacho, gambas al ajillo… ¿Sería verdad?.

Vaya amigos, era todo eso y mas. Que gozo para el paladar y para el alma, porque esta claro que por el estómago se nos conquista y los hermanos Martínez (Jesús, Benito y Juan Carlos), con unos veinte años en los EEUU, han conquistado a la superpotencia, y lo han hecho por el estómago. Estos tres gallegos han sabido demostrar que para hacer una buena cocina española no hacer falta ser el Bully o tener el nombre de restauradores de postín y mediáticos -que está bien, no digo yo que no- pero es que la sencillez de la cocina española, bien trabajada y con una buena materia prima, como en el Restaurante Alcalá de Manhattan, necesita de pocas estrellas, sean de Michelin o de la marca de ruedas que sea.

Se llaman Martínez, son de Galicia y recriados en distintos sitios de España y del Mundo, como corresponde a buenos gallegos. Pasen y pidan, gazpacho, gambas al ajillo, estofado de ternera, sardinas a la parrilla, paella, pimientos del poquito con bacalao, jamón…

No me pidan que les diga todo lo que comí en estos días en New York, pero la pena de estar lejos de España, trabajando, pensando en mi santa madre ingresada en el hospital por una maldita caída…todo en la cabeza dando vueltas. Creo que pocos como los españoles para sentir la necesidad de estar en donde tenemos que estar, pero estando en otro sitio diferente. Yo debía estar en Murcia (España) pero estaba en Manhattan (NY) EEUU. Gracias sean dadas al buen Dios, porque estos gallegos están en todo el mundo y tras la ‘puerta del Alcalá’ uno puede sentirse cerca de España.

(a todos los que viajéis a NY, os lo recomiendo de corazon: www.alcalarestaurant@gmail.com)

Spain is the largest Olive Oil producer in the world

Olive-spanishSpain produces 250,000 tones of olive oil a year – The best Olive Oil from Spain- Smooth, Vibrant, Bold. Just like a fine wine, the varietal, climate and region determine an olive oil’s taste.

From the southern olive groves of Andalucía to the northern region of Catalonia, Spain in not only the number one olive oil producer in the world but also the most diverse, with the largest variety of unique oils that are as distinctive as nature itself. Olive oil enhances the flavor of your meals and reveals the creativity in you. And definitively, keeps you healthy!

Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack

food-pyramidAbout 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

“Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent,” he said. “And you can actually enjoy life.”

Olive Oil Keeps the Heart Young

oil-decanterIn a recent study, Spanish researchers discovered that a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, on the effect of a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reveals that olive oil may be able to slow down the aging of the heart. Olive oil is sooo good for you – Among other things, it helps prevent cancer, cholesterol, strokes and heart disease, oxidative stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis!!