`Catalan Chef Nandu Jubany: Olive Oil is My Main Ingredient - Olive Oil Times

Catalan Chef Nandu Jubany: Olive Oil is My Main Ingredient

Sep. 11, 2012
Julie Butler

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Nandu Jubany

The sight of sauteed rab­bit in his grand­par­ents’ coun­try tav­ern is Catalan chef Nandu Jubany’s ear­li­est mem­ory of olive oil.

It was almost green in color due to the fresh­ness of the olive oil and the pars­ley.“

Now 41, the third gen­er­a­tion restau­ra­teur is part of Spain’s culi­nary avant-garde and says olive oil is the main ingre­di­ent in my kitchen and in my diet.”

With a Michelin star farm­house restau­rant — Can Jubany — in a small vil­lage in Osona, in rural Catalonia, and wider activ­i­ties includ­ing lec­tur­ing at a Harvard Science & Cooking” course, his impact on pub­lic aware­ness of the qual­i­ties of local extra vir­gin olive oils was applauded ear­lier this year with a Catalan Olive Oil Denominations of Origin Prize.


A joint ini­tia­tive of Catalonia’s five DOPs — Siurana, Les Garrigues, Terra Alta, Baix Ebre-Montsià and Empordà — awards this year also went to doc­tors Maria José Motilva and Maria Paz Romero, from the University of Lleida’s antiox­i­dants research group, which has more than 15 years’ exper­tise in study­ing vir­gin olive oil, and to Catalan jour­nal­ist Lluís Foix, who said in a recent blog that olive oil, wine and grains were key to under­stand­ing Catalonia.

Often described as fus­ing tra­di­tion and inno­va­tion, Jubany told Olive Oil Times how olive oil fea­tures in his foods.

Q. What are some dishes in which you con­sider olive oil an essen­tial or defin­ing ingre­di­ent?

Nandu Jubany: A tomato from my veg­etable gar­den with extra vir­gin olive oil ice-cream. In this case olive oil would be the most impor­tant ingre­di­ent, of course.

Then there are other dishes — such as dry rice with sea cucum­bers, sauteed cut­tle­fish with arti­choke, scram­bled eggs with mush­rooms and sobrasada (spicy sausage), ajoblanco (cold gar­lic and almond soup) with sar­dines and extra vir­gin olive oil caviar — that sim­ply wouldn’t be the same with­out olive oil. That’s much the case for almost every dish from my kitchen.

Q. Are there any ways you now use olive oil that you wouldn’t have imag­ined not so long ago?

Yes, a good exam­ple is extra vir­gin olive oil caviar. Our air-baguettes with pancetta, pimen­tón de la Vera (a Spanish paprika) and olive oil caviar are amaz­ing.

Q. What’s your advice to calo­rie-con­scious home chefs wor­ried about too much driz­zling’ and splash­ing’?

In my restau­rant I use a lot of oil, but always the best extra vir­gin olive oil made from arbe­quina olives with very low acid­ity. I think the use of good olive oils is much bet­ter and health­ier than other fats, such as but­ter and other edi­ble oils.

Q. What oils are in your kitchen?

I use four dif­fer­ent vari­eties. An arbe­quina, with very low acid­ity; a picual that is more pun­gent, for other prepa­ra­tions; sun­flower oil for tem­pura; and a very fresh extra vir­gin olive oil — with intense fla­vor and green color — for other dishes.

Q. Do you have any pref­er­ence in terms of vari­eties or brands?

Without hes­i­ta­tion I’d say an arbe­quina olive oil from Catalonia.

Q. Do you ever use olive oil that’s not extra vir­gin?

I’ve become used to always using extra vir­gin olive oil, for almost every­thing, except I use refined when I want to make a vinai­grette with­out an olive taste. But it’s increas­ingly rare to find refined oils in my recipes.

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