Estela by Ignacio Mattos

Estela by Ignacio Mattos with Gabe Ulla is one of my best books of 2018. Mattos is a culinary wizard who weaves flavors and textures with simple ingredients to create brilliance. I was fortunate enough to dine at the chef’s New York restaurant, Estela, last spring. It was the best meal I have ever eaten.

The Estela cookbook delivers recipes for many of the restaurant’s dishes. The endive salad (recipe below) was divine and I replicated that salad last summer (photo right) for a dinner party (adapting it slightly). It is a salad that makes all other salads wilt in shame.  I ate nearly half the platter when I made it.

At the restaurant after sharing multiple small plates with my dinner companions one of them chose a dessert for us, Panna cotta with honey. I was less than pleased with the choice. When the dessert arrived, I took a taste and would have gladly fought off my two friends to finish the creamy, tangy perfection that is this dish. I have not stopped thinking about it.

I have the Panna cotta setting up in the refrigerator now (photo left). I have made the honey mixture and purchased the bee pollen and cannot wait to share this dessert with my family tonight. Each component tastes exactly as I remember, and it will be a special treat to experience them all together again. 

Estela is a book (and a restaurant) not to be missed. From the restaurant to the page, it is an experience that must be enjoyed to understand its brilliance. Having a meal there or recapturing a dish with the assistance of this cookbook reinforces that a few simple ingredients perfectly orchestrated can be exceptional. There needn’t be three dozen ingredients to create a masterpiece; there just needs to be a maestro like Ignacio Mattos to lead the way.

Update: The finished Panna cotta is extraordinary (photo right). Andrew, my son, has declared it “the best thing you’ve ever made” (disclaimer he says that about a great many things). He loved the vinegar tang and the perfect creaminess of the panna cotta. I’ve decided this is my dinner for tonight. Panna cotta can be dinner, no?

Special thanks to Ignacio Mattos and Artisan Books for sharing the Endive recipe with our members today and for providing two copies of this must have book in our giveaway below. 

Endive salad with walnuts and Ubriaco rosso
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It’s fun to see people’s reactions to this dish. At first glance, it looks like just a pile of endive leaves. But I think there’s something really beautiful about it. The way to start is by eating a few of the top leaves, little endive cups holding orange juice and oil, and then begin filling the rest of them with the absurdly delicious crouton-and-cheese mixture hidden below, sort of like making your own taco.

Serves 4 to 6

For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 large anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons garnacha vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper

For the Granola

  • 1½ cups (50 g) ½-inch cubes of day-old sourdough (you want a few pieces with some dark crust)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup (100 g) walnuts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chile flakes
  • ⅓ cup (40 g) irregular pieces (¼- to ½-inch) Ubriaco Rosso
  • Scant ⅓ cup (about 35 g) irregular pieces (¼- to ½-inch) Pecorino Duro

For the Endives

  • 4 endives
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon chardonnay vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Make the vinaigrette:

Pound the garlic cloves into a paste in a mortar with the pestle. Add the anchovies and pound until everything is fairly smooth but still slightly chunky. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and cracked black pepper to taste and mix to combine. The idea is to get a broken vinaigrette with pieces of anchovy still visible.

Make the granola:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then spread them out. Spread the nuts out on a separate baking sheet. Toast the bread and walnuts in the oven, tossing them every few minutes. Remove the nuts once they are dark and well toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread once it’s dark brown and toasted all the way through, about 10 minutes.

While the nuts are still warm, put them in a mortar, add a teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a few generous cranks of black pepper, and a pinch of chile flakes and crush them into coarse chunks with the pestle. Using the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the bread cubes into chunks between ¼ and ½ inch. (With each component, you want a mix of textures and sizes.)

Combine the croutons, walnuts, and cheeses in a medium bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette, mixing well. Let sit while you prepare the endives so the croutons get a little softer and the flavors come together.

Prepare the endives:

Cut an inch off the bottom of each endive and discard. Gently peel back the leaves, continuing to trim the root as you go, until you get to the core (it’s the sweetest part of the endive). Cut each core in half lengthwise, or into quarters if it’s large, and toss them into the bowl.

To serve, season the endives with a generous pinch of salt. Grate the zest of the orange evenly over the top of the endives, then halve the orange and squeeze the juice over the leaves. Add the vinegar and gently toss the leaves to coat, as you don’t want them to bruise.

Spread the granola mixture evenly on two plates. Arrange the endive leaves on top so that they make little cups for the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, spoon on the orange juice mixture left in the bottom of the bowl, and drizzle on a bit of olive oil.

Excerpted from Estela by Ignacio Mattos (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Marcus Nillson

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries.

Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on February 26th, 2019.

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  • Kristjudy  on  January 8, 2019

    Waldorf style salad with gem lettuce.

  • lauriesk  on  January 8, 2019

    I would make the Steak with eggplants, leeks, and Taleggio

  • Shelley.b  on  January 8, 2019

    shrimp salad with celery

  • lean1  on  January 8, 2019

    Vanilla ice cream!

  • Nrshelley  on  January 8, 2019

    Swordfish with Meyer lemon and heart of palm

  • Amdona  on  January 8, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo

  • mpdeb98  on  January 8, 2019

    Chocolate cake with whipped cream

  • mcrimmins  on  January 8, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo

  • PQPantry  on  January 8, 2019

    Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream

  • CynthiasCooking  on  January 8, 2019

    Summer Squash with Miso and Pine Nuts – because it has lovage in it!

  • riley  on  January 8, 2019

    Pineapple sorbet

  • BookWorm53  on  January 8, 2019

    Grapefruit and yogurt. Simple and intriguing. This book made the short list, in Montreal, of 2018 books to give. With your review, I can see why!

  • vickster  on  January 9, 2019

    Swordfish with Meyer lemon and heart of palm

  • Kduncan  on  January 9, 2019

    Beef tartare with sunchoke chips

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  January 9, 2019

    i would make the endive salad…i love endive and you have made me curious to try it…never heard of the Ubriaco Rosso before…so that alone makes me want to try it

  • kmn4  on  January 9, 2019

    Pork with charred cucumbers and leeks

  • matag  on  January 9, 2019

    Lemon curd

  • ravensfan  on  January 9, 2019

    “XO” sauce

  • sarahawker  on  January 10, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo

  • KristenD  on  January 10, 2019

    Panna Cotta!

  • Livia  on  January 11, 2019

    Pineapple sorbet with huckleberries sounds interesting!

  • Dannausc  on  January 11, 2019

    Rye crackers

  • Amandaspamanda  on  January 11, 2019

    Meyer lemon condiment – would taste so good on so many dishes!

  • banba1  on  January 11, 2019

    Swordfish with Meyer lemon, arugula, and ajo blanco

  • BMeyer  on  January 11, 2019

    Pork chops with cucumber and leeks

  • leilx  on  January 12, 2019

    Pannacotta with honey! You sold it well!

  • Steben  on  January 12, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo

  • debbiehb  on  January 12, 2019

    Asparagus with “Béarnaise” and wild salmon bottarga

  • t.t  on  January 12, 2019

    Celery salad with mint and formaggio di fossa

  • KarenGlad  on  January 12, 2019

    That endive salad with walnuts looks really good

  • KathrynMcC  on  January 12, 2019

    Endive salad with walnuts and Ubriaco rosso- I am so beguiled by the cover!

  • LaurenE  on  January 13, 2019

    Pineapple sorbet

  • jmay42066  on  January 13, 2019

    Chocolate cake with whipped cream

  • thecharlah  on  January 13, 2019

    Grilled cucumbers with Béarnaise and herb salad

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  January 14, 2019

    I'd like to make the Shrimp salad with celery.

  • popoff  on  January 16, 2019

    A perfect no-roll crab roll

  • rchesser  on  January 16, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo.

  • antpantsii  on  January 17, 2019

    Pickled strawberries. Sounds Pretty Interesting

  • BMeyer  on  January 18, 2019

    pineapple sorbet

  • Karla123  on  January 21, 2019

    Pickled mushrooms!

  • tennyogirl  on  January 22, 2019

    Chameh melon, basil, and onions

  • ktwalla  on  January 24, 2019

    Spicy Marmelade

  • Dmartin997  on  January 27, 2019

    Panna cotta with honey

  • Shana.  on  January 27, 2019

    The endive salad

  • susannahchen  on  January 28, 2019

    Endive salad with walnuts and Ubriaco rosso!

  • Sfgordon  on  January 28, 2019

    Summer squash with miso and pine nuts sounds great!

  • MiMi60  on  January 28, 2019

    Swordfish with Meyer lemon and heart of palm

  • EmilyR  on  January 28, 2019

    Meyer lemon condiment

  • happybread  on  January 30, 2019

    Sesame ganache because it sounds deliciously different

  • Laura1  on  January 30, 2019

    Summer squash with miso and pine nuts

  • hillsboroks  on  February 1, 2019

    Pickled strawberries

  • Uhmandanicole  on  February 2, 2019

    Octopus with potatoes and pimentón

  • RSW  on  February 3, 2019

    Pork with cabbage, wheat berries, and juniper berries

  • nomadchowwoman  on  February 3, 2019

    Ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino Sardo sounds wonderful!

  • LobsterloverLisa  on  February 3, 2019

    Mmm…the Lamb Tibs with “chermoula” and Honey is the very first recipe from Estela that I want to make. I am very intrigued by how the the bee pollen would taste in the Panna Cotta with Honey. Yes please!

  • okmosa  on  February 3, 2019

    Chestnut condiment – rhubarb jam – Panna cotta

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  February 4, 2019

    lamb ribs with “chermoula” and honey found on page 102

  • auntietina  on  February 5, 2019

    Meyer lemon condiment

  • JenjiRM  on  February 6, 2019

    Scallops with peas, lardo, and collard greens!

  • RickPearson54  on  February 9, 2019

    Pickled mushrooms

  • Goodcookermom  on  February 9, 2019

    chocolate pots du creme

  • mph993  on  February 10, 2019

    egg, pancetta and avocado sandwich

  • mrscahughes  on  February 10, 2019

    endive salad

  • brigs03  on  February 11, 2019

    Panna cotta

  • tararr  on  February 11, 2019

    I love shrimp. So: Shrimp salad!

  • fbrunetti  on  February 12, 2019

    Grilled fava beans with bread crumbs, lemon, and anchovy

  • edyenicole  on  February 13, 2019

    the pickled mushrooms!

  • sequoia55  on  February 15, 2019

    Pork chops with cucumber and leeks

  • laurencooks  on  February 15, 2019

    Let's get lush with that Steak with Brussels sprouts and Taleggio

  • chowfamily  on  February 22, 2019

    Fried arroz negro with squid and “romesco”

  • orchidlady01  on  February 24, 2019

    Egg, pancetta, and avocado sandwich

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