After several years of enjoying and photographing the food of Valencia, it seemed time to do something more than pass on my photos to my husband for his blog and post a few on Facebook. With a little prodding from Marty, I finally did what I’ve talked about for years. I approached a number of restaurant managers. I asked if I could take pictures of their chef working in the kitchen, as well as get a recipe from them. To my delight they not only said, yes, but thanked me for wanting to do it.
My first stop was A•Nou, the restaurant almost directly across the street from our apartment. In November of 2010, I watched with interest as the construction was completed and it opened it’s doors. Little did I realize this project had started in 2006. As with many things, a variety of permit and construction issues delayed the opening. The good news is ever since A•Nou opened its doors we have had the good fortune of enjoying many delightful meals prepared by Chef Teresa and served by warm and friendly Javier Daza .
So, how do you create a wonderful restaurant? Well, in the case of A•Nou, you take one industrial engineer, Teresa Carratalá Ferrer, and one computer specialist, Javier, who decide their passion was not in the fields for which they trained. You add a passion for cooking and clear idea about what they would rather be doing – creating a unique dining experience for a diverse public to enjoy.
Teresa enrolled in culinary school, for formal training. While that gave her the basics she needed, she admits that working in a number of restaurants gave her a more realistic understanding of what it took to be a creative chef and have her own restaurant. Javier decided the dining room would be his domain.
When I asked Teresa to describe their vision, she explained it was Cuina d’ Intuicio “Intuitive Cooking” and provided me with a definition of intuition .
Intuition- The ability to understand things instantly without logic. An intimate and instantaneous perception of an idea o a truth that seems evident to the person who has it.
La cucina d’intuicio” is a project created by a young couple, casados por el banco, dedicated to creating a dining experience with traditional flavors but reinterpreted in a way that manages to surprise, using the best of fresh product and letting the product and intuition dictate the result. It is a winning combination.
A• Nou is an informal and attractive space with deep red walls serving as a lovely contrast to the black and white chairs and the crisp white table clothes. The kitchen is in view behind the bar area giving one a glimpse of the chef and her staff as they work.
I began my visit in the kitchen as I watched Teresa and Javier prepare for the day.
I am always pleasantly surprised when the first course of “the menu of the day” arrives. It is a bandeja with three different taste treats. They make a lovely picture and allow you to enjoy a variety of wonderful tastes.
The main course of the “menu of the day” always includes a choice of arroces, fideúa or coca. Coca is a Valencian pastry that can be either savory with meat, fish or vegetables, or sweet. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Coques.JPG There is also a varied a la carte menu.
For those of you who cannot drop by to enjoy, Teresa has kindly given me her recipe for Fideúa de Secreto con Setas A•Nou.
Fideúa de Secreto con Seta A●Nou
(A● Nou Pork and Mushroom Fideúa)
- 200 gr. Secreto ibérico (highly marbled cut of pork)*
- 50 gr. Seta de cardo (substitute Oyster Mushrooms if not available)
- 50 gr. White Mushrooms
- 50 gr. Setas (Wild Mushrooms)
- 200 gr. Angle Hair pasta
- 1 clove Garlic chopped
- 2 Tlb Grated tomato
- 250 gr. Chicken stock
- 1 Sprig of rosemary
- 1 tsp Sweet paprika
- ½ tsp Colorante **
- Salt, pepper, olive oil
* The Secreto Ibérico is a piece pork that is behind the shoulder and into the bacon. The meat that accumulates fat infiltration in muscle mass, creating a white veining which provides a texture and exceptional flavor
** A powdered food coloring that gives color to rice dishes and fideáu)
- Saute the pork in a paella (or large frying pan) in a little olive oil until it is golden
- Add the mushrooms and saute them well
- Add chopped garlic and tomato and saute
- Add the noodles and mix them with a teaspoon of sweet paprika and ½ teaspoon of colorante.
- When all is well mixed and the noodles are glossy add salt and pepper
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes over high heat.
- After 3 minutes adjust the salt and place the sprig of rosemary on top
- Let rest for about 3 minutes then enjoy
¡Aquí se come bien!