ADVERTORIAL • June 2020
From Marbella to Madrid, Meliá Hotels plays host to the kitchens of some of Spain’s most impressive culinary masters. Now that we’re spending more time sharpening our own skills, three top chefs dish out mouth-watering local recipes that can be replicated easily at home
The dish: Vegetable and prawn coca by chef Marga Coll of Arrels by Marga Coll, Hotel de Mar Gran Meliá
The story: Since I was just a girl, I’ve been stirred by an interest, passion and curiosity for traditional Mallorcan dishes cooked at home. The coca is a bread-based delicacy native to the Spanish Mediterranean coast that incorporates both sweet or savoury dough and toppings. When it comes to food that brings people together, this vegetable and prawn iteration is one of my favourites and is great for sharing with family or friends.
What you’ll need:
15g fresh yeast
125ml olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ green bell pepper
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 chopped cluster tomatoes
2 chopped onions
12 cooked prawns
4 tbsp aioli
Prepare the coca dough by diluting the yeast in a glass of water. Mix with the olive oil, adding half a teaspoon of salt and the flour. Knead until it’s uniform, then cover and leave it to rise for about an hour.
Fry the garlic and pepper in a pot with oil. Add parsley and slowly introduce a little paprika to ensure that it does not burn. Add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes are almost cooked, add the onions and the seasoning. Add the spinach when the tomato is ready, and salt, if needed.
In the oven:
Stretch the coca dough very thinly and roll into an oval shape. Prick it with a fork and cook it in the oven at 180°C for four to five minutes until it is golden and crispy. Place the mixture on top of the coca. Add the cooked prawns and aioli and bake in the oven for three to four minutes.
Serve scattered with a few leaves of rocket and some pine nuts.
The dish: Warm Medina Sidonia almond cake and leche merengada by Ángel León of Alevante by Angel León, Gran Meliá Sancti Petri Hotel
The story: Among the many epicurean pleasures of Medina-Sidonia, the city is known for its delectable cakes and pastries, with many recipes handed down over generations. This almond cake is one of the most typical, originally made by nuns to supplement their convents’ income. It’s simple yet incredibly rich in flavour, and I love complementing it with leche merengada (meringue milk) ice cream, another classic flavour of Spain.
What you’ll need:
1.5g sunflower oil
6 egg yolks
1 egg white
Alfajor mixture (see below for method)
Leche merengada ice cream (see below for ingredients and method)
The almond paste:
To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 160°C. In a baking pan, the almonds should bake for 15 minutes or until they begin to turn a pale golden brown. Once cooked, grind them with the sunflower oil.
The alfajor mixture:
To mix the ingredients, begin by melting the butter and adding the almond paste. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs yolks and sugar together, slowly adding butter with a spatula. Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks and add to the other ingredients.
Place parchment paper in your springform cake tin. Butter the parchment paper. Scoop the mixture into the tin. Refrigerate for half an hour. Bake at 200°C for 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
Leche merengada ice cream:
If you can’t purchase it, you can easily make your own. You’ll need 4g dextrose, 11.5g glucose, 0.5g gelatine, 18g sugar, 140cl milk, 3g ground cinnamon, 5g ground almonds, lemon zest.
Infuse the milk with the lemon zest and cinnamon. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Take some of this milk and boil with the three sugars. Add the gelatine and ground almonds and mix it with the rest of the spiced-infused milk. Then freeze.
The dish: Entrecôte with patatas panaderas by Íñigo Urrechu of Erre & Urrechu, Hotel Don Pepe Gran Meliá
The story: No matter where you are in the world, the simple ingredient list for this dish makes it easily attainable. Sometimes referred to as ‘bakers’ potatoes’, my favourite way to prepare Spanish patatas panaderas is actually in a pan. The have a creamy and tender consistency that is also incredibly light, which makes them truly unique.
What you’ll need:
Entrecôte steak for two
125ml olive oil, plus extra
1kg potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Green mustard mayonnaise
100g serrano ham
150ml beef stock
Slice the potatoes and onions very thinly. In a baking pan, layer your onion and potatoes, adding salt and olive oil in each layer. Preheat the oven to 180°C and cook for 20-25 minutes until potatoes and onion are tender and golden.
In the pan:
Slice the serrano ham into fine pieces and sauté in olive oil. Add the potatoes and leave for a few minutes, breaking them up and patting them down gently with your spatula. Add the beef stock and let it reduce for a few minutes until you achieve a compact mass.
Prepare another pan with olive oil to cook the entrecôte steak on a high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, turn the steak over and repeat on all sides. This allows all the juices to settle back into the meat and reach a perfect medium-rare.
Slice the steak into 2.5cm strips and serve it over the patatas panaderas, decorating with some green mustard mayonnaise on the side. Using a knife, crack the black peppercorns and add them over the meat.
Illustrations by Jessica Kendrew