A Spanish chef’s comfort food

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Chef Miguel de Alba’s father is Don Anastacio de Alba, founder of the Spanish specialty restaurant Alba Restaurante Español and a great cook, particularly of Spanish dishes. Even if Chef Miguel originally wanted to become a doctor and took up accountancy in college, his real passion prevailed, and he took after his father. When he realized his true calling, he nurtured the passion and honed his innate skills by taking up culinary arts at the Center for Culinary Arts Manila (CCA). Afterwards, he joined his father as general manager and executive chef of . He now handles the restaurant with his loving wife Cachelle.

Chef Miguel grew up eating Spanish food, so it comes as no surprise that his childhood comfort food is Spanish. Croquetas de Bacalao happens to be one such comfort dish for him. It is so special to the family that Croquetas de Bacalao is served in the restaurant, one of the recipes he loves to share whenever he is asked to do a cooking demonstration.

‘Croquetas de Bacalao’

Yields four to six servings

For the croquetas:

  • 500 grams potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 200 grams bacalao (dried salted codfish), chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp almond flakes
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • Ground white pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Egg, beaten
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Oil for deep-frying
  1. Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.
  2. Coarsely mash potatoes together with the bacalao, garlic, parsley, almonds, butter, and pepper.
  3. Form into balls and roll in flour. Dip in beaten eggs, then cover with breadcrumbs.
  4. Chill for one to two hours.
  5. Heat oil and deep-fry croquetas in batches until golden brown.
  6. Remove and set aside.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canned red pimientos, chopped
  • 1 can tomatoes, peeled and puréed
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add chopped pimientos and puréed tomatoes.
  2. Simmer for six to eight minutes.
  3. Add chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve on the side as dipping sauce.

Photographs by Rafael R. Zulueta

 This article originally appeared on Asian Dragon’s April-May 2017 issue, available for order on Facebook or downloadable from Magzter.

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