Recipe: George Bank Scallops By Esquina’s Chef Carlos​ ​Montobbio

Find out how the Barcelona-born chef elevates the classic scallop dish

Photo: Esquina

Chef Carlos Montobbia makes 30 look good with a good head of hair and a face that is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Jest with him and you just may be rewarded with a shy smile of pearly-whites. Best part? He wears an apron, like all real men should.

Previously at the Anti:dote bar, the young chef has been leading Esquina since 2015, where he regularly churns out an illustrious line of contemporary Spanish dishes.

But how has he kept diners interested for the last two years?

Other than relying on his innate culinary gift, Chef Carlos listens.

“I always have in mind what I would like to eat. At the end of the day, Esquina’s food is the food I would like to find in a Spanish restaurant if I was a guest,” says the chef. “I am not influenced by the trends, and my guests’ feedback influences and informs my cooking much more.”

We invite you to slip into the shoes of Esquina’s Chef Carlos and whip up his delectable George Bank Scallops dish.

Ingredients 

Tomato sauce
– 4 kg Roma tomato
– 2 clove garlic
– 2 pc onion, julienne
– 1 spring fresh thyme
– A pinch of fine salt

Black garlic paste
– 2 heads black garlic, peeled
– 1 spoon water
– 1 spoon EVOO

Chickpeas
– 500g chickpeas
– 2 cans of soda water
– 2 pc Spanish onion, mirepoix
– 1 piece carrot, mirepoix
– 1 head garlic, skin on
– 2 cans of soda water
– 500 g pork jus
– 8 pc suckling pig feet
– 2 pieces of chorizo raw sausage
– 100 gm Iberico trimmings
– 4 bay leaves

Chorizo breadcrumbs
– 100g chorizo Iberico, brunoise
– 100 g panko breadcrumbs
– 20 g pomace oil

Plating
– 3 pieces of George bank scallops
– 50g cooked chickpeas
– 10g black garlic paste
– 20g tomato sauce
– 5g bacalao gelatine
– 10g Iberico fat
– 15g chorizo breadcrumbs
– 3 pieces of chives ribbons
– a pinch of sweet smoked paprika

Directions 

Tomato sauce
1. Blanch the tomatoes to peel it, cut in four and remove the seeds.
2. Cook the onion and the garlic till starts getting colour.
3. Add the tomato, salt and thyme, cook for 1.5 hours till it’s dry.
4. Blend in TM. Strain. Keep chilled.

Black garlic paste
1. Mash the garlic with a fork, add water while mashing.
2. Once done, add EVOO.

Chickpeas
1. Soak the chickpeas in soda water overnight. Strain and keep the chickpeas.
2. Roast the onion with the garlic and the carrot in olive oil for 10 minutes.
3. Add chorizo and Iberico trimmings and cook 10 more minutes.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients, add water to cover the chickpeas and simmer until the chickpeas are cooked (1.5 hours).
5. Keep on its own cooking water in bags.

Chorizo breadcrumbs
1. Mix chorizo and pomace oil and warm it up to melt the chorizo fats.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and cook at medium heat till gets crispy.

Plating
1. Pan-sear the scallops and leave it a bit raw in the center.
2. Cook the chickpeas with the tomato sauce, then add bacalao gelatine and iberico fat.
3. Brush a “C” with black garlic paste.
4. Make lines with the chickpeas; place the scallops in the center.
5. Finish with chorizo breadcrumbs, chives and a bit of sweet paprika.

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