Quique Dacosta Restaurante
Chef: Quique Dacosta
Country: España
City: 03700 Dénia (Alicante)
Address: Las Marinas, km. 3
(+34) 965784179

Quique Dacosta created dishes with very different ideas and procedures in 2008–the white truffle (sugar crust powdered with pulverized mushrooms that take the shape of a truffle stuffed with Parmigiano-reggiano), “Springtime” (a vase of flowers over the plate), “Mist” (a televised show in pure Blumenthal style where importance is given to the visual aspect and arrangement of the mushrooms, vegetables, nuts, earth… the newest and most brilliant Gargouillou), foie gras with wood crust (intrinsically and technically perfect, adorned and texturized with bulbs). A masterful idea and a profiled style find their most brilliant moment with shellfish. Product, 10, fantasy, 10, aesthetics, 10, in the ‘essential oyster’ (oysterleaf on top of codium jelly and julienned wakame, followed by an uncommon Gillardeau oyster with a jelly made from its water, a light silver-plating and a hint of smoke from a seaweed tea), or the ‘corals’, which will find its way onto the menu in 2009 (crab, urchin, roe from various shellfish and fish, spheres and crispy codium), or the ‘Rock’ or ‘Iceberg’. Arguably they all deserve the honor of Dish of the Year. To avoid repetition we have chosen the final two.
It is possible that the ‘Rock’ gives the guest greater pleasure, more robust, as the barnacles and seaweed drench the palate in delicacy. It is also possible that the ‘Iceberg’ has more talent: velvet swimming crab, a jelly made from the same crustacean, bitter almonds, ficoide glaciale, brushstrokes of thickened ajoblanco and a frozen snow made from the same chilled soup. Judge for yourself…

The Recipe


For the velvet swimming crab:

  • 4 liters seawater
  • 4 velvet swimming crabs, 25 g each

In a wide pot bring 4 liters of seawater to a boil then add the 4 crabs. Lower the heat and maintain at 80ºC/176ºF for 4 minutes. Cool the crabs quickly in an abundant amount of iced seawater for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the meat from the head, taking care to collect all the juices from the crab, separating out the head meat from the juices, the carcasses from the claws (with great care so that they come off whole). The carcasses and the juice will be used for the velvet swimming crab infusion, while the meat will be used in the assembly of the dish. If there happen to be any crabs with coral, set this aside as well for the assembly.

For the velvet swimming crab infusion:

  • 600 g carrots
  • 100 g leeks
  • 400 g tomatoes
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 250 g seaweed
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 kg chicken thighs
  • 5 kg cockles
  • 5 kg mussels
  • 200 g tomato sauce
  • 70 g dry sherry
  • 40 liters of water.

In a wide pot, coated with oil, sauté the peeled, smashed garlic cloves over high heat along with the seaweed and black peppercorns. Follow by adding the carrots and leeks and sauté together. Next, add the chicken thighs that we will have previously roasted in the oven at 200ºC/392ºF, collect the grease on the tray afterwards. Add the mollusks and leave them to open. Add the chopped tomatoes and the sauce followed by the dry sherry and reduce. Once reduced, add the chicken grease and water, leave to cook over low heat for 6 hours. Leave to set for 2 hours off the heat and strain.

For each liter of stock obtained, infuse the carcasses and juices collected from the four crabs for 40 minutes. Strain again, cool and clarify. Set aside.

For the base jelly of the dish:

  • 250 g velvet swimming crab infusion
  • 0.8 g seaweed jelly

Mix cold then bring to a boil. Leave for a minute to cool then separate out 20 g for the base of the plate where we will place the crab meat and claws. Leave to set and refrigerate in the walk-in. Give it just enough time to set then serve it cold.

For the ajoblanco:

  • 100 g raw sliced almonds
  • 15 g white breadcrumbs
  • 650 g milk
  • 400 g mineral water
  • 20 g sherry vinegar
  • 5 g dry sherry
  • 3 1/2 cloves garlic blanched for 1 minute and cooled
  • 15 g salt
  • 2 drops of bitter almond essence
  • 60 g Dauro olive oil

Blend the milk with the sliced almonds the night before and leave to infuse overnight. Place this infusion in the Thermomix and add the breadcrumbs and garlic. Blend ion high for one minute then add, in this order, the water, vinegar, sherry, salt, almond essence and lastly the Dauro oil, little by little. Continue to blend for one minute more then refrigerate for at least a half an hour in the walk-in.
Strain through a fine sieve and cloth.

From this base we should obtain 1.1 liters. 1 liter is used for the iceberg and 100 cl for the thickened ajoblanco.

For the iceberg:

  • 1 liter ajoblanco
  • 75 g raw butter
  • 7 g Sucroester
  • 4 gelatin sheets

Blend the ajoblanco with the Sucroester. Heat in the microwave, add the raw butter and the previously soaked gelatin sheets. Blend again in the Turmix. Using an aquarium pump compressor, prepare a consistent air that will be placed over a previously frozen Gastronorm tray in the flash freezer. Distribute the air over the entire base and return it to the freezer. When the first layer starts to stabilize add another layer and freeze again. Repeat one more time for three layers in total. Once it is well frozen, remove using a spatula and place in a Porexpan box taking care not to break it. Store at –20ºC/-4ºF until just before service.
Being so aerated, the temperature will drop rapidly making it almost liquid in a matter of seconds.


For the thickened ajoblanco:

Texturize the ajoblanco with a little xanthan gum and store in a bottle.

For the rice vinegar caramel:

  • 200 g sugar
  • 50 g glucose
  • 0.3 l rice vinegar
  • 150 g pectin

Prepare a light-colored caramel with the sugar and glucose, add the rice vinegar and dilute the mixture well. Leave to cook until reduced by half, add the pectin, cool and store in a bottle.

Other elements:

  • Raw almonds
  • Ficoide glaciale

Finishing and presentation:

Remove the plate with the thickened mixture on it a few minutes ahead of time to warm it slightly. Place the jelly and 4 almonds on the dish, followed by three small bunches of ficoide glaciale, a few lines of thickened ajoblanco and a very thin ribbon of rice vinegar caramel. Finish by arranging the two ‘iceberg’ pieces and serve immediately.