Cooking with Chef Miquel Mercado from l’escale

During our recent visit to the Delamar Hotel and l’escale Restaurant, we had the opportunity to meet and chat with the Chef de Cuisine at l’escale: Chef Miguel Mercado

The l’escale Restaurant, located within the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel, offers a Mediterranean infused Provençal menu that showcases the use of the highest-quality seafood and shellfish, seasonal vegetables, regional herbs and spices. Executive Chef Kieffer originally designed the menu for l’escale, but now Chef Miguel, who has only been at l’escale for a few weeks, is starting to put his own personality into the cuisine that is served at the restaurant. We also learned that he is a classically French trained chef that is now incorporating modern culinary techniques into his cooking.

After learning a bit about the restaurant, Chef Miguel invited us back into the kitchen to watch him and his sous chef prepare us a special surprise. The surprise was Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna using fresh arugula pasta that Chef Miguel had made especially for our visit. It was quite interesting to watch the pasta being transformed from a ball of dough into spaghetti. The pasta was as fresh as it could be. Chef used a Chitarra pasta cutter to cut the spaghetti instead of a more modern cutter. It reminded me of a zither or lap harp.

l'escale Restaurant, Chef Miquel, Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, arugula pasta recipe

In addition to the pasta, the dish had tuna from Spain, capers, caramelized cherry tomatoes, red onions, Nicoise olives, sweet roasted red peppers, lemon zest, Sicilian oregano, anchovy paste, and slow poached egg (water bath at constant temperature for one hour) broken over the top. Toasted breadcrumbs and fresh chopped parsley were used as garnishes.

Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, arugula pasta recipe

The rich and flavorful tuna was floating in a bath of extremely good olive oil when the can was opened.

Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, arugula pasta recipe

Chef Miguel and his sous chef are cooking the spaghetti Nicoise. Afterwards, Chef Miguel gently cracks the slow cooked egg on top.

l'escale Restaurant Greenwich, Chef Miquel, Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, arugula pasta recipe

The dish is complete and ready to consume.

Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, arugula pasta recipe

The capers, anchovy paste, and olives added the saltiness whereas the tomatoes and sweet red peppers added a slight sweetness to the complexly flavored dish. The freshly prepared arugula pasta was a delightful change from the typical pasta with the arugula giving it a hint of pepper. The slow cooked soft yolk egg offer another layer of flavor. Culinary tips from Corrie Cooks food blog were an advantage.

After having been treated to the Spaghetti Nicoise, we knew we were in for a culinary blessing when we returned to the dining room for our menu sampling. Who knows, maybe this amazingly delicious combination of ingredients will be offered on the menu in the future.

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