The BonAmb chef extols the virtues of agnei ibérico lamb and latón pig, both products of Aragón.
Alberto Ferruz set out on a dual trip at the Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión Congress. A nostalgic trip to the tastes that bring him back to his childhood; and another to his homeland, Aragón. Two sentimental, delicious, nose-delighting destinations the BonAmb chef was keen to share and praise. The essence of life for the Cariñena cook is to go back home, a home he left at 16 to train in Paris, with Martín Berasategui or Quique Dacosta. Remembering the flavour of his childhood, when he began work at his uncle’s restaurant at the tender age of 12. “The texture that brings you back to your childhood”, he recalled.
This Aragón chef enthused about returning home to kitchens heavy with the smell of stock, stews and other delicacies produced by grandmothers. At Madrid Fusión he put this into practice with the produce of his homeland: agnei ibérico lamb (the local top-quality species known as ternasco), and the largely unknown latón pig from La Fueva. This animal, retrieved by a shepherd three decades ago, has totally wild feeding habits. “There is one area of production, and only one. These are pigs of the Pyrenees, happy pigs”, the audience was told by the chef at BonAmb, a two-Michelin star restaurant in Jávea (Alicante). “These people make bacon, sobrasada …”, he said on stage, holding out a piece. “This is top-quality produce”, added the chef.
Ferruz prepared his bacon with roast milk whey, “a little strip” of this singular lamb bred in a cooperative (Pastores), which builds up fat like an Iberian pig and which the chef is so proud of. “It’s more famous in other places than here”, he told the audience during his talk, ‘Remembering the essential’. “Popular items are at the service of haute cuisine”; he repeated on different occasions in different ways. He also presented an agnei lamb and its “powerful” flavour reconciling him “with my home, when I was a little boy”.
The chef fried up a few strips in a gravy, like his grandmother used to do. “She used to make a semolina soup”, he recalled. On this occasion Ferruz swapped the cereal for caviar, a product that has become fashionable. “It’s always the same when a luxury product becomes popular. The handful of people who were using it are miffed. I don’t care. Everyone’s free to use whatever they like. At the end of the day a tomato is a luxury product too”, he added to applause as he topped his offering with cream and kefir.