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Kitchen Kind #4
Ana Cortes Garcia

Ensalada de tomate en conserva con naranja y agujetas en escabech

Chef Ana Cortes Garcia, head chef of recently opened Beso in Melbourne CBD, reflects on a favourite dish from her childhood in Spain and shares how she has refined it for the menu at her Flinders Lane venue.

Ana Cortes Garcia

What meal or ingredient speaks of love to you and why?

‘Our Kingfish crudo and preserved tomatoes dish is literally one of my favourites things to eat since…forever!

It’s a very traditional salad from my hometown in Spain, Baños de la Encina, and not only is it a dish that tastes like home, but it’s also a dish that I have prepared and shared with family and friends many times over the years.

The dish, Ensalada de tomate en conserva con naranja y agujetas en escabeche is a “chopped wet salad” that traditionally, is prepared with crushed tinned tomatoes, orange segments, chopped spring onions, tinned escabeche garfish and is dressed with local extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar and dried oregano.
The best way to eat it is with a spoon and lots of toasted bread to soak up all the fabulous juices.

My fondest memory of enjoying this dish is my grandpa and dad toasting bread in our fireplace. On the table would be a massive bowl of this salad big enough to feed the whole family. We also enjoyed Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese, homemade brined olives, vinegar-pickled guindillas, tinned seafood and a few more bites making a table full of different flavours. 

We would all sit down together and use the warm toasted bread to soak up all the juices from the salad. We would talk about our days and, of course, start organising the menu for tomorrow.

Ensalada de tomate en conserva con naranja y agujetas en escabech

At Beso we prepare it the dish in the same way with tomatoes from Kosta Aroa (Getaria, Spain), Cara Cara and Navel Oranges, chopped spring onion, extra virgin olive oil, Oloroso sherry vinegar – from Bodegas Robles – and fresh and dried oregano with the addition of yuzu kosho, a Japanese condiment made with fragrant yuzu peel, fresh green chilli and salt made into a paste which is allowed to ferment making it a powerful flavour-packed kick.

We also substitute the tinned escabeche garfish for raw, sliced Hiramasa kingfish to enhance the freshness and texture, making it into a more refined version. 

The salad is served at room temperature and allowed to macerate, the raw fish is added as cold as possible making it a very refreshing dish to start a meal and enjoy it with our beautiful homemade sourdough baked daily and grilled-to-order.

It pairs greatly with a glass of Manzanilla sherry wine and even with a light red as Priorat.



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