The chef of Eirado da Leña has just received his first Michelin Star. Iñaki Bretal is one of the great faces of the emerging Galician gastronomy
His is one of the latest additions of the emerging Galician cuisine to that unofficial Olympus of cuisine that is the Michelin Guide. To Iñaki Bretal, the soul and creator of Eirado da Leña, in Pontevedra, the recognition has come in the most difficult year.
A reward for a job well done that we wanted to celebrate by inviting him to Cooking with Pazo Baión. This series of articles in which we pair the proposals of great ambassadors of Galician gastronomy with our albariños.
A chef with a somewhat unique profile. Different from many of his most famous colleagues. Because there are many references of the current Galician cuisine that landed in this universe as heirs of a tradition.
This is not the case of Iñaki Bretal. «I don’t come from a family of restaurateurs or anything like that. The only cook at home is my mother, I guess I inherited it from her. The truth is that since I was a child I always liked to cook», he confesses.
It was in the Basque Country, as a young man, when he turned his passion into his profession. He went there on vacations and every summer for his family’s work, and there he decided as a teenager to learn to cook when he was left alone.
«I discovered my passion out of necessity», he says with a laugh.
So let’s get to the point and get to know the menu that the chef of Eirado da Leña proposes for Cooking with Pazo Baion.
Pazo Baión and salted and smoked scallops
The first dish proposed by Iñaki Bretal is a must in his restaurant. “It has been on the menu for 15 years,” he says. A fact that illustrates the success of the recipe. It’s a delicious salted and smoked scallop.
To prepare it, the scallop is first smoked with vine sticks and a touch of bay leaf. At the same time, the chef and his team freeze the códium, whose juice and a touch of soy will be used to prepare a sauce to accompany this iconic mollusk of Galician gastronomy.
The final touch of the dish consists of an original smoked mayonnaise that gives this dish a spectacular density.
The chef and Raquel, the sommelier of Eirado da Leña, pair this recipe with Pazo Baion. «Its fresh and citric aroma goes well with the smoked scallop and its salinity enhances the flavor of the recipe», she says.
Vides de Fontan and sea bass with cream of cachelos and garlic sauce
For the second course, Iñaki Bretal turns again to the sea. A sea bass with cachelos cream and ajada. A natural suggestion given that his cuisine is mainly seafood-inspired. Zero kilometer. That drinks from an unbeatable raw material. Unique.
«The fact is that here – he says – we have everything. Incredible fish and seafood, but also meats, vegetables».
To elaborate this recipe, the first thing they do is to cook the cachelos and to elaborate a potato cream to the point of salt and fat. Next to it, in a frying pan they prepare a powerful traditional ajada with olive oil.
The sea bass also has its own speciality. First it is steamed and then skin-marked. The goal? To make it crispy on that side and juicy on the meat side.
At Eirado they serve this recipe with fried cabbage.
To pair it, the restaurant team choose that timeless albariño that is Pazo Baion Vides de Fontan.
«The freshness and body provided by the aging in stainless steel and concrete egg perfectly accompany this fish and enhance all its flavor», describes Raquel.
Gran a Gran and apple and cinnamon pie
The dessert of the menu that Iñaki Bretal has given us is a journey for the senses: apple and cinnamon tart.
It’s a dessert whose elaboration is somewhat complex, but very worthwhile. “The tart is served with a sable pastry, pastry cream and the apple cooked in a vacuum and enriched with lots of cinnamon,” says the chef.
A very sweet dessert that connects in a very natural way with Pazo Baion Gran a Gran, that miracle that comes from our vineyards.
The pairing suggested by the sommelier of Eirado da Leña leaves no room for doubt: “This albariño with botrytis, with its sweet touch but a bit dry and fresh at the same time, goes great with our apple pie, enhancing its fruity flavor”.
In short, three unique dishes for three unique golsmith wines. A foretaste of what the visitor can find in this open secret called Eirado da Leña.
It has been a pleasure Iñaki!