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Casqueria: La Cocina Simepre, Como Nunca Antes

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by Javi Estevez
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As long as humans have been eating animals, they have eaten offal. It’s only in the last century or so that a chef who embraces the preparation of these so-called variety meats has been notable.

Madrid chef Javi Estévez earned his Michelin star in 2019 for cooking that often features offal, including items that don’t always appear at other restaurants renowned for the same. Along with more familiar ingredients such as liver, marrow, sweetbreads, and tongue, the chef offers udder, intestines, and snouts. At times offal is the centerpiece of a dish, as in tripe with chickpeas and curry, and at others it is simply one of several elements in something more complex, such as a dish of pig tails with eel and cheese.

Although Estévez is inspired by the long history of offal cooking, he’s clearly not a strict traditionalist, nor is he interested only in typical Spanish usages. He uses lamb tongue with prawns in a ssam, serves duck hearts with a raspberry and licorice sweet-and-sour sauce, and even offers a recipe for horse heart tacos.

We should be clear that when we say “recipe,” that the chef’s emphasis in this book is on the process of preparing the meat for cooking, whether it needs a special form of cleaning or soaking, for example. He then describes how the dish is prepared at La Tasquita, but in a manner that is much like one pro describing how a dish is made to another; there are no measurements and no times provided.

A fascinating resource.

Paperback. Color photographs throughout. In Spanish.

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