Oysters With Distilled Earth

El Celler de Can Roca
Chef: Joan Roca
Country: Spain
City: 17007 Girona
Address: Ctra. Taiala, 40.

The creative ability of the Roca brothers – Joan, Jordi and Josep – is beyond any doubt. The sheer number of awards for The Best Artistic Dishes obtained in recent years is sufficient testimony. They have received seven already, a number equaled by Martín Berasategui and exceeded only by Ferran Adrià, from “El Bulli”. Let’s recall the earlier achievements: the hot foie gras with lychees, rose petals and Gewürztraminer sorbet; the velouté of shellfish, fennel, tomato, sea urchin and caviar; the squab liver parfait with juniper, Bristol Cream, hazelnuts and orange; the Trésor of Lancôme; the Norway lobster and curry smoke with apples and Mediterranean lettuce; the grilled cep ice cream. Curiously, if these reflect the prevailing tendency of the house, influenced by the use of smoke – with an infinity of other examples in the actual menu of El Celler de Can Roca –, this dish countersigns another line that gives personality to the work: the distillations. These have achieved their glorious apex in this brilliant demonstration, and yet are capable of repulsing many by just hearing the title. Of course those who still feel attraction for the challenges and the unknown celebrate it enthusiastically, because what is more disconcerting than extracting the essence from the entrails? Aromas and mineral flavors, that express themselves with magnificent mildness at the first moment and that, after the oceanic passage of the shellfish, wager it all on the palate, where they settle in, providing an earthly sensation without precedent, profound – never stated better –, yet not aggressive. In short, surf and turf taken to its most minimalist end, from any point of view, that can be imagined.

The Recipe