Caramelized Red Onion slices on Green Lentils Broth

Caramelized Red Onion slices on Green Lentils Broth
Chef: Josean Martínez Alija
Country: España
City: 48001 Bilbao(Vizcaya).
Address: Abandoibarra Etorbidea, 2.

The Recipe

The presence of Josean Martínez Alija’s very aesthetic dishes in our commendable pages is perennial. This is the way we praise the visual and palatal power of the best vegetal cuisine in the world. We applaud the great cook of landscapes and brilliant artist of minimalism, who expresses himself through the language of simplicity, chromatic purity and geometrical precision of vegetables’ natural forms.

This time, we reward another impeccable creation of his minimalist, green and humble cuisine: the caramelized red onion slices on green lentils broth. An artistic dish that looks like a vegetable dance in a red onions harmony. A tribute to Richard Serra’s devious sculptural work, paid through the caramelized liliaceous segments, arranged in a creamy game of parallel balances that seem to smile at the guest.
The idea of the dish comes from the feeling produced when you find a lonely onion slice in a stew. After reflecting on this sensorial impression, the cook raised a subsistence stew, worthy of survival economy, to art. The closed and poor onion is vacuum-cooked with walnut oil and coriander in an oven at 100º C. The green lentils from Burgos are peacefully cooked in the Gastrovac together with vegetables, chicken broth and ham until they sublimate in an enjoyable perfume. These are the poet’s nanny’s onions. These are the lentils Diogenes would give up anarchism for and Esau would sell his birthright again to his brother Jacob for. These are mum’s lentils stewed by Josean Martínez Alija, the great culinary sculptor.



Although some of the following ingredients might not be visually present in the plate, they all take part in the preparation of the dish.

• Chicken carcasses
• Hen
• Iberian ham bones
• Beef foot
• Carrots
• Onions
• Shallots
• Tomato purée
• Garlic
• Green part of leek
• Chickpeas
• Verdinas lentils
• Red onion
• Coriander
• Cloves
• Green cardamom
• Chartreuse (spirit)
• Butter
• Red wine reduction
• Hazelnut oil
• Walnut oil
• Fine salt


History and philosophy of the dish

Onions are interesting products in the way that they offer a lot of culinary possibilities. This dish has been made on the basis of different factors such as consistency and arrangement. Regarding the former, we intended to reach an imaginative texture based on an interpretation. If you see an onion leaf in a stew, once you put it in your mouth, its firmness, sweetness and almost melting creaminess reminds a slice of pork that perfectly fits with the other ingredients.
We therefore looked for a cooking method that allowed us to obtain that texture and reinforce the onion’s virtues.
Regarding aesthetics, the other challenge, the secret lies in doing a perfect high and balanced cut, as if it were one of Richard Serra’s sculptures. The idea was to find a good balance between apparently different elements and to draw a labyrinth with the onion leaves.
The broth can be defined as a lentil perfume that creates an interesting game on the palate.
This is a union between iron and earth, architecture and culture.