A fish living in the land...

angen leon
 
I’ve never met a cook so passionate about sea food. This passion is so strong that Angel León thinks he was a fish in a prior life and that’s why he’s called “the sea chef”.
 
If you get to see him in front of the sea, you realize that his sight seems to dive into the water like he is swearing to the sea world that although he lives in love with his city, Cadiz, his soul is dreaming about coming back to the ocean’s depth… just as in a Disney movie!.

The hospitable Angel León produces and hosts an enviable cooking show and he is the chef of Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz.  During my past visit to Spain he had the detail of inviting me to know the kitchen of his restaurant Aponiente in the colorful Port of Santamaría in Cádiz (south of Spain).  Taking the risk of never wanting to leave the zone, because of the similarity with the Puerto Rico of my childhood, I went out with him in the morning to the fishers market. Then we went to know and taste the dishes of Cádiz (very similar to my Country’s) and of course, the “tour” ended in a dinner that confirmed the reason of his first Michelin Star; you get to understand why the NY Times rated his restaurant like one that’s worth getting into an airplane to go try it. 

Angel is extremely curious, restless and wise in terms of sea food. He got inspired by his father whom he used to go fishing with when he was little. That devotion and curiosity took him where he is today.  He only uses fresh and local products, guaranteeing the sustainability (very common in Spain), while he is re-inventing and creating constantly. Angel cooks fish that no one ever thought about eating, like Albur, to make sausages, which he calls “Sea Ibéricos” (chorizos). He works with parts of the fish that were never thought to be taken into a kitchen, like scales and eyes to thicken sauces and, uses organisms and substances he takes from the sea, like plankton, as seasoning. A process that took him years to masters and that now is a star ingredient in his intimate restaurant.

The restaurant sits about 20-25 people and that makes you feel like you are in his own dining room. He never stops! Is so restless as a sea snake…works in the kitchen, comes to the table, takes orders, serves you wine, greets every customer… you name it! He does it all. He is totally multi-tasking and a great host.

Dinner started with a very typical cocktail in that zone of Andalucía... the Manzanilla wine...family of Sherry wine; pungent, bitter, pale and sort of “olivy”. The most impressive element of the night were the “Ibéricos of the Sea” and you need to try them to believe me when I tell you that they taste like chorizo and not even by the aroma, you get to think they’re made of fish.....I wanted to eat them all with red wine instead of white…he, he! The prawns stew with chickpeas was fascinating…strong in flavor with different textures in the plate, just as I like it. The dishes with plankton were amazing…first the oysters and then the impressive “Mellow Rice with plankton and aioli calamari”; I almost order a second round of it! If you like deep strong sea flavors, you will also love this dish! The visual, the aromas, the colors and its flavor, above all, are a perfect harmony and very simple at the same time… a memorable dish, cooked with lots of love!.

My question for Angel was...Why using plankton?  “My purpose was to find intense sea flavors while trying to discover new experiences. We transform a sea vegetable in a product that unleashes different sea flavors. It brings different memories to every person but it’s always about sea food flavors.”

Angel in his menu, honors plankton, and with his words I close the story of the talented and friendly fish that lives in the land of Cádiz: “Thanks for giving me your biggest treasure…the origin of the whole Universe…of the base of every ocean… the blood from the sea…and basic food for the living creatures of this venue... The Plankton.

Thanks Angel for letting me get into, and learn from your kitchen. Thanks for the little boat that decors my dining room, for your hospitality and for a simple memorable dinner! Your sommelier Juan Ruiz Henestrosa and your sous chef Juan Luis Fernández are part of your successful recipe…congratulations for that Michelin star...we need to bring the “Iberic of the Sea” to EU!!!!

A Bordeaux with a Mexic...

A Bordeaux with a Mexican Soul

Thirty minutes away from downtown Bordeaux,...

La Curiosa Sal Rosada Y...

La Curiosa Sal Rosada Yucateca

El mundo de las sales es...

A fungus is the jewel o...

A fungus is the jewel of Bordeaux sweet wines

The first thought that comes to...

Hacienda Vivoni

Hacienda Vivoni

Friendship, respect and the same love...

La Sazón Boricua

La Sazón Boricua

Me emociona presentarte una pizca de...

An unforgettable dinner...

An unforgettable dinner: Martin Berasategui

Crying after leaving a dinner won’t fit...

Olive Oil from the Land...

Olive Oil from the Land of Wines: Mendoza

During a supposed free weekend in...

Andrés waits for you......

Andrés waits for you...

When I moved to Miami, there...

Looking for Sea Urchins...

Looking for Sea Urchins, Food of the Gods in Costa Brava

The sea urchins are one of...

The Blue Agave from the...

The Blue Agave from the city of Tequila

  Thanks to the family of Jose Cuervo...

A fish living in the la...

A fish living in the land...

  I’ve never met a cook so...

Rodrigo de la Calle… be...

Rodrigo de la Calle… beyond “Gastrobotany”!

If while in Spain you hear...

Desfile de Setas y Tale...

Desfile de Setas y Talento en “Soria Gastronómica”

  En una antigua iglesia que guarda...

Diana Kennedy... The Me...

Diana Kennedy... The Mexican Julia Child

Her neighbors in Michoacán call her...

Sazón Latino Gourmet en...

Sazón Latino Gourmet en New York

Comí, bebí y volví a comer…...

Una noche sólo para car...

Una noche sólo para carnívoros...

En la ciudad de Miami Beach,...

Carmen Valldejuli…la Ju...

Carmen Valldejuli…la Julia Child Boricua!!!

El otro día mientras respondía emails...

Sazón Latina en el Tast...

Sazón Latina en el Taste of the Nation de Miami, FL

Nuevamente Chef Allen Susser del restaurante...

Un momento con Chef Jos...

Un momento con Chef José Andrés

Estuve pensando por un largo rato...

Un dia con Chef Charlie...

Un dia con Chef Charlie de Pizzailo, San Francisco

Más que un gran Chef es...

South Beach Wine and Fo...

South Beach Wine and Food Fest Burger Bash!!!

Burger Bash Night!!! No fue precisamente la...

Paseando.. en el Food N...

Paseando.. en el Food Network NYC  Wine and Food Fest

Gracias a la invitación de nuestros...

Paseando... en Santo Do...

Paseando... en Santo Domingo, RD

Me unen muchos lazos de amistad...

Just Visiting... San Fr...

Just Visiting... San Francisco

When San Francisco City gets mentioned,...

Just visiting… Jamaica,...

Just visiting… Jamaica, JM

When I told my friends I...

With Anthony Bourdain

With Anthony Bourdain

I was lucky to assist to...

Just visiting… Las Terr...

Just visiting… Las Terrenas, DR

It is a simply beautiful place….located...

«
»

Doreen is an Editor of:

 

Doreen is Celebrity Chef of:

Novo Nordisk

 

Doreen supports:

Baptist Health Foundation

Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.