A long-simmered stew made with dried fruit and nuts is typically Catalan. Ferran Adrià's version starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken—the ones in Spain are superdelicious—finished with a quick fruit-and-nut sauce that uses the flavorful poultry drippings.
Something as conventional as rack of lamb would never, ever find its way into Ferran Adrià's ultra-experimental kitchen at El Bulli. But in his book Cocinar en Casa, he converts it into an unexpected, wonderful dish that anyone can make. Who else would think to coat a rack of lamb with a pistachio pesto, then wrap it in pancetta to keep it nicely moist and make it even richer as it roasts?
Instead of using butter, chef José Andrés prefers to add richness with olive oil and Manchego cheese. His tip: "Add the olive oil slowly to the potatoes because if you dump it in all at once, you'll get streaks of oil."
Ferran Adrià credits the idea for this dish to one of his acolytes, Moreno Cedroni, the hyper-creative Italian chef at La Madonnina del Pescatore in Italy's Marzocca di Senigallia. The method is very similar to risotto, but spaghetti fills in for the arborio rice: Adrià toasts it in a pan with a little oil, then adds hot clam juice until the pasta is fully cooked and loaded with briny flavor.
Nothing could be easier than slapping a piece of chocolate on a slice of bread: Spanish children do it all the time as an after-school snack. But by sprinkling the melted chocolate with sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil, Ferran Adrià turns kid food into something parents will want to try.
José Andrés says: "I love America! Without a doubt, one of my favorite American ingredients is blue crabs, a true delicacy! And a great value, I think." This recipe is his twist on the traditional Basque txangurro (crab simmered with tomato), crossed with a Galician empanada (a savory pie).
Rossejat de fideos, a traditional seafood dish of Spain's Catalonia region, resembles paella but instead of rice, it calls for fideos, fine vermicelli-like pasta. Here, the pasta browns in hot oil until toasty, then cooks slowly in a deliciously rich stock, made with the lobster shells, soaking up all the flavor.
Fantastical "lollipops," often in outlandish flavors like black truffle, are a signature at El Bulli. "Chupa Chups Julio Verne" or "Jules Verne Lollipops" is what Ferran Adrià calls these fun and easy meringue-coated fruit skewers, presumably because they resemble something from an old-fashioned science fiction movie.