Roots and Dry Leaves by Quique Dacosta

Samantha Tancredi

The harmonious fusion of nature and modernist cuisine comes alive in the beautiful town of Dénia, Spain, where Chef Quique Dacosta serves elegantly prepared dishes to his restaurant’s anticipating patrons. Nestled next to the Mediterranean, restaurant Quique Dacosta approaches the dining experience with an emphasis on local ingredients and minimalism, as is evident in his recipe for Raíces y Hojas Secas (Roots and Dry Leaves).

Chef Dacosta explains:

“The are singular moments that remind us of other moments, aromas, sensations, and states of mind. The autumn brings up a lot of memories, but when you think of this season, it is likely that the first thing that you remember is the leaves on the trees falling down. This is the starting point of this snack. The first idea. The idea related with something melancholic. I can imagine myself treading on these leaves and can hear and feel the rustle. I’d like to feel the same in my mouth, but with a different taste.

Once we have the scene of autumn on a wood plate, we invite our guests to taste this snack outside in the garden, under some trees with similar leaves.”

Roots of ceps/porcini (Boletus edulis)

300g of Senia rice
1,6 L of mineral water
1 clove of garlic (minced)
30g of ceps powder
Boil the water with a pinch of salt, the ceps powder, and the minced garlic.
When it starts boiling, add the rice and move a little.
Keep in a medium boil until some water has evaporated.
Lower the heat a little more until the water is almost dried out.
Turn down the heat further until the water is totally evaporated.
Cool down at an ambient temperature and grind softly.
Check the salt.
Put into pastry bag and extend on new Silpats with the chosen shape.
Dry at 65°C (149°F) for 10 hours.
Deep fry carefully with enough oil at 210°C (410ºF).

Corn Leaf

750g of fresh threshed corn
1L of mineral water to cook the corn
300g of mineral water
100g of tapioca flour
Boil the threshed corn with 1L of water.
Take off from the heat and strain.
Keep the corn separated of the remaining water (500g).
Mix the cooked corn, the corn cooking water, the rest of the mineral water, and tapioca flour.
Grin in a Thermomix at max power and at highest temperature.
Strain through chinois.
Extend on the leaf-shape mold (made with Silpat) and bake at 120°C (248°F) for 30 minutes.

Pickled Herbs Leaf

40g of leaves of raw chard
15g of leaves of raw parsley
200g of Guindilla of Ibarra (chili pepper)
500g of infusion of pickled herbs
100g of tapioca flour
500g of mineral water
Scald and cool down the parsley.
Remove the guindillas sticks.
Mix all ingredients and grind in a Thermomix at max power and at highest temperature for 15 minutes.
Strain through chinois.
Extend on the leaf-shape mold and bake at 120°C (248°F) for 30 minutes.