Madrid Fusion Day Three – Dissonant Flavors – Gennaro Esposito

I could not and did not make the first presentations of the day. Ther evening before, I and a number of other people had become sick from something, presumably something that we had eaten. I first noticed not feeling well shortly after I had left the reception for the Barack Obama inauguration. Unfortunately, it prevented me from eating anything at the gala dinner at The Casino de Madrid. I did show up, but before long realized that being there, as much as I really, really wanted to, was not a good idea. I made my way back to my hotel and spent a miserable night. Fortunately, however, I had improved enough by the next morning to rally and make it to the Congress, albeit a little later than I would have liked.

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Gennaro Esposito's Torre del Saracino restaurant in Vico Equense outside of Naples is a restaurant that I have heard much of in recent years, though not before my last time in Naples. Esposito is known for cooking apparently simple food with great knowledge and precision.

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Esposito uses mediterranean ingredients from his native Campania for his cooking, incorporating ingredients not typically associated with each other. The first dish that he prepared flouted the Italian proscription against seafood and dairy products. Unfortunately, I did not get a good photo of the dish, but he combined red mullet strips with a warm ricotta "soup" and fresh spinach. He followed this with an unusual two-colored risotto. Prepared with the same base of vegetable broth, he put two different colored risottos on the same plate.

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The yellow risotto was finished with saffron, which was added at the end of the preparation to preserve its aroma. The black risotto utilized cuttlefish ink and thin-cut strips of cuttlefish added after the risotti were separated. On top are quenelles of sun-dried tomato paste and cuttlefish liver.

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The third dish prepared by Esposito was a tortello en brodo. in which he stuffed the tortello with parmesan, shrimp and pork. Esposito used the butt end of a Parmesan wheel in his broth and finished the dush with dried tomato, lemon and shrimp roe.

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