Courtesy Raúl Prior of Álbora, Madrid
All great chefs preach the gospel of quality ingredients, but Raúl Prior of Álbora in Madrid has one big advantage: a direct line to the pope of Spanish ham, José Gómez. (Besides owning Álbora, Gómez is CEO of Joselito, Spain’s premier producer of Ibérico pork products.) While Prior features his share of porcine delights, the rest of Álbora’s menu covers more ground than Gómez’s free-ranging pigs.
Note: This is a flexible recipe. Choose your preferred vegetables from the list below.
- 4 ⅞ cups heavy cream, divided
- 13 ounces chopped Ibérico ham (can substitute serrano ham or prosciutto), divided
- 4 ⅛ cups chicken stock (if not homemade, use low-sodium stock)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Assorted vegetables, enough for 4 servings; options include carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, bok choy, green beans, snow peas, radishes (thinly sliced), fennel (thinly sliced) and red Swiss chard, watercresss or arugula (dressed with hazelnut oil and salt)
Bring 4 cups heavy cream to a light boil in 3-quart saucepan. Add 9 ounces ham. Remove from heat. Cover and let cream rest 30 minutes. Strain out ham (you can use it to flavor a different sauce or soup) and reserve ham crema.
Bring chicken stock to boil. Add remaining ham to pot. Remove from heat. Cover, and let stock rest 30 minutes. Strain out ham. Return stock to pot. Add remaining heavy cream. Simmer until flavor becomes concentrated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add butter. Add salt to taste. Reserve.
Trim any larger vegetables to bite size pieces. For vegetables not served raw (radishes, fennel or any leafy greens), lightly blanch the vegetables in boiling water, then sauté in extra-virgin olive oil over high heat for 10–15 seconds.
Divide crema into 4 serving bowls. Add sautéed vegetables, and top with any raw vegetables. With a hand blender, mix ham-infused stock to create foam. Finish each bowl with a dollop of foam. Serves 4.
Prior recommends Breca—an old-vines Garnacha from Jorge Ordoñez’s Bodegas Breca in the Calatayud DO—for its intense minerality, peppery accents and floral nose with hints of lavender and violet. Although the vegetables make pairing a challenge, it’s the ham crema that takes center stage in Prior’s dish, and this wine is a fitting co-star.