TO THE SOUTH OF MADRID, IN A TOWN CALLED ARANJUEZ, SITS THE OLD SUMMER PALACE OF THE KINGS. OPPOSITE THE PALACE IS CASA JOSÉ, A FAMILY RESTAURANT IN A CENTURIES-OLD HOUSE. THE CHEF, FERNANDO DEL CERRO, SHOWED ME AROUND THE MARKET GARDENS ON THE FLATS OF THE RÍO TAJO, WHERE HE BUYS THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES FOR HIS KITCHEN. LIKE FERGUS HENDERSON IN LONDON OR DAN BARBER IN NEW YORK, HE CHAMPIONS PRODUCE AND TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES. MANY OF THE DISHES HE COOKED THAT DAY COULD BE MADE ONLY IN ARANJUEZ, BECAUSE THE PRODUCE THEY USE — LIKE THE ARANJUEZ STRAWBERRIES, WHICH ARE TOO DELICATE TO TRANSPORT — ARE GROWN NOWHERE ELSE. THIS RECIPE IS INSPIRED BY ONE OF HIS DISHES — STICKY CROQUETTES MADE FROM PORK TROTTERS, MIXED WITH TINY CAPERS, ROLLED IN BREADCRUMBS AND DEEP-FRIED.
Place the trotters in a very large stockpot with the brown onion, parsley stalks, garlic bulb and the vinegar. Cover with
Finely chop the trotter skin, fat and meat and place in a large bowl. Add the garlic cloves, chopped parsley, capers, salad onion, sea salt flakes and black pepper and mix well.
Moisten a work surface with water, then place a large piece of plastic wrap on the work surface (the water will stop the plastic moving). Place half the trotter mixture on the plastic wrap and form into a sausage shape, then roll up to form a log. Twist both ends of the plastic and roll the mixture back and forth over your work surface until you have a tight sausage approximately
Unwrap the rolls, then cut them into slices
Fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Dust the slices in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, allowing the excess to drain off. Roll in the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.