Crispy pancetta with fabada vinaigrette and itx broth

Casa Marcial
Chef: Nacho Manzano
Country: Spain
City: 33549 Arriondas (Asturias)
Address: La Salgar, 10; a 4 kilómetros del centro urbano
(+34) 985840991

Nacho Manzano is one of the most personally expressive Spanish chefs around. He is further distinguished by another virtue that has contributed to his prestige: an innate talent for producing refined and harmonious flavors. Both qualities are evident in this dish, in a way a tribute to the Fabada (a bean stew typical from Asturias, Spain). A dish he has nurtured with great care both using the traditional recipe, worthy of an 8.5/10 in The Best Fabadas, and creatively—in its day he presented it in a wonderful salad.
This new creation can certainly be interpreted in various, not necessarily accurate, ways. It gives us the impression of being inspired by Fabada since it contains green beans, the stew’s broth and the pancetta, even if the latter must share the limelight with the beans and soup.
The meat is first cooked, along with vegetables, chickpeas and herbs, in water that is short of bubbling for about 4 hours. It is then allowed to cool in the same pot before it is removed and cut to serving size pieces. Just before serving, these are fried in hot oil so that the outside is crispy and the inner 90% melts in your mouth.

This recipe appears to be inspired by escabeche or gazpacho, or perhaps both. The sauce, the broth from the beans, is seasoned with olive oil and vinegar to make a sort of green bean puree vinaigrette. The appearance of vegetables (spring onion rings, green pepper julienne, small carrot slices and tomato concassé, all raw, imparting vibrancy, naturalness, texture and color) next to the piece of pancetta, the beans and the subtly acidified soup reminds us of the bold addition of a symbiosis between escabeche and gazpacho. Any way you look at it, it is a magnificent example of original cuisine with brilliant idiosyncrasy.

The Recipe