Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fantastic Firsts, Chef Eduardo Estatico, J Kitchen, Capri (Na)

A few weeks ago I headed to Capri to visit Chef Eduardo Estatico.  Estatico is the executive chef of J K Place, and more specifically the head chef of J Kitchen, the hotel's gourmet restaurant. 

It's been four years since your last visit, Estatico jokingly reminded me.  We've got a lot to catching up to do.
So, after a series of amazing appetizers, coming soon, the chef invited me into the kitchen for a chat as he prepared the first course.  One that the chef had picked personally for me from his rich selection of primi piatti.  His Riso Carnaroli Riserva San Massimo al peperone ripieno scoppiato. A risotto dish with all the flavorful goodness of the classic ingredients of  Neapolitan stuffed peppers bursting on the plate. 

Take a look as Estatico and Francesco Cappelli explain how the dish is prepared...

Steps include adding creamy roasted peppers to the rice and stirring stirring stirring, along with white butter and caramelized spring onions.   Why white butter?  To give the risotto that perfect touch of acidity.

Part 2 Estatico explains in more detail - the three important stages - tostatura, brillatura,mantecatura, toasting the rice, glazing, and stirring...

Taking a look at the classic recipe, Estatico explains, during the important toasting stage, where one had to be careful not to crack or break the rice, the onions would often burn. So it really didn't make sense to add onions during the toasting stage and risk burning them when they could be adding towards the end. That way you'd still get the onion flavors - if desired. 

This was an important lesson that Estatico learned while working alongside Chef Gualtiero Marchesi.  Another important lesson that Estatico learned from Marchesi is adding white butter towards the of the cooking process.  This gives a really nice hint of acidity, and can even eliminate the glazing stage when white wine and or vegetable broth is added.  Adding wine for acidity so early in the cooking process the acidity is often lost during the long cooking time.

This recipe, like many of Estatico's goes calls on fond memories of his time spent in the kitchen with his grandmothers.  When my grandmother prepared stuffed peppers, she would put the whole world inside -- Estatico shared.  Capers, olive, day old bread, parmigiana reggiano cheese...sometimes toasted pine nuts, raisins, and ground beef. Estatico took these ingredients that are placed insde the peppers, and has them bursting throughout the dish.  He enjoys cooking with rice - to him it is a blank canvas where he can use his creativity.

Cooking time for a dish like this?  Including about two minutes of toasting, about 14- 16 minutes. In the video we see Estatico adding whit butter extra virgin olive oil, vegetable broth, Parmigiano Reggiano cheesed (aged 36 months) and pepper.  Risotto needs to be creamy he tells me, as he performs the final stage of risotto preparation. Mantecatura - or tossing the rice in the pan so that all the flavors can meld and fuse together.

Part 3 - at the pass with Chef Estatico.  Right before he plates up, he adds a drizzle of vinegar for acidity...then ingredients mentioned earlier gourmet style.


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