DIEGO GALLEGOS: STURGEON FISHBALLS
Chef-proprietor, Restaurante Sollo
Dish: Sturgeon Fishballs / Almondiguillas de Sollo
Ten years ago, when I met Diego and his wife Susana Almirón in her Granadan home village, Algiriñejo, he had already made a name for cooking caviare and sturgeon, which he sourced sous-vide from an organic fish farm sited at Riofrío where cold waters rush onto the Andalusian plains. Brazilian born, though he calls himself Andalusian by adoption, Diego turned his back on a legal career to train as a chef with Alex Atala in São Paolo, then with Martín Berasategui and Andoni Aduriz in the Basque Country, and finally with Dani García in Malaga, only a few miles away from Fuengirola, where Diego now cooks at his intimately scaled Michelin-starred restaurant, Sollo, or sturgeon. His specialisation in freshwater fish has now extended to include catfish, tilapia, pirana, Australian river crayfish and tench, which come from his own small but growing fish-farm, but his signature dishes are still often cooked with Ríofrío sturgeon, for example, a main course of fillets with wild mushrooms and black truffles. Among Altamiras’s recipes Diego picked poached fishballs for their “ingenuity and potential” and added two brilliant new contemporary elements: an optional rusty-red pimentón coating and a rich brandied chicken stock to complement the sturgeon’s “meaty quality”. Freshly made, these fishballs or rissoles are wonderfully spongy while the intense chicken broth lingers long on the taste-buds.