Senia rice with smoked eel and cherries

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

Quique Dacosta has always worked with rice dishes. His devotion to this ingredient and the cuisine of the Alicante region in general is such that he wrote an important book on the subject, “Arroces Contemporáneos”, in which he imparts a world of knowledge regarding this cereal, stemming from an arduous investigative process, beyond strictly culinary themes. Ironically, it was only after he published this lucid work that he produced his finest dish: a daring recipe that doesn’t fit into his normal repertoire, with sophisticated counterpoints to the common thread of the rice, always neutral, always absorbent, breaking with everything that is considered traditional in Spanish cuisine. Boasting powerful sensations that harmoniously spark amidst a main ingredient that still manages to maintain all its natural identity. The recipe seems to be assimilated to some extent from the practices of what certain Italian chefs–Carlo Cracco, Massimiliano Alajmo, Paolo Lopriore, etc. –do with risottos. On top of the sapid and tactile purity of the rice there is an array of unmistakable flavors, of unquestionable character. The powerful confrontation of the smoke, personified by the eel, and the acidity, represented by a few fresh cherries, awakes even the most dormant of gourmet minds. And therein lay the magic: that he accomplishes this without detracting from the subject. If the demonstrative marriage of the eel and cherries weren’t enough, an intense perfume of rosemary appears and, for a touch of tranquility, a few traditional pieces of squid, conceived, of course, by the contemporary mind of one of the most important culinary artists on earth: Quique Dacosta.
Without a shred of doubt, this is the finest rice dish produced by Spanish haute cuisine.

The Recipe