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BSU Class Monday Class: Basque Cooking w/ Chef Jesus Alcelay

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BSU— Honors College Class field trip Monday March 14th.

A big THANK YOU to our guest Chef Jesus Acelay —Executive Chef at Cottonwood Grille & to Argia Beristain, Development Director, College of Education & Honors College  at BSU (see their bios below). Argia arranged the evening with Chef Acelay & introduced Basque county/culture to the class (see slideshow presentation above)

Menu, tentative recipes, pix & videos:

Porrusalda soup
Leeks &  potatoes
Sauté onions (1) & Leeks (3)
Add potatoes (5)
Veggie broth
25 minutes
& from this soup Chef made a Vichyssoise just by adding heavy cream —usually served cold

Txirlak arros
Clam & Rice  —17 minutes
Olive oil (about 4 Tbsps)
Garlic (about 4 cloves)
2 lbs Clam
2 cup short grain rice (paella type rice)
4 cups broth (homemade!)

& remember what Chef Acelay said:
The rice dont wait for the guest
The guest has to wait for the rice

Cod Romana
Scallop the cod 45ºangle
Salt fish
dip in batter :
-flour & egg
Gently pan fry for a few minutes (see video)

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We also tasted Chef Acelay delicious homemade preserved tuna fish. So while I am at it, here is an easy of preparing your next tuna fish fast lunch.
Dress tuna fish with some olive oil (if not already in oil), add lemon or vinegar, finely chopped some sweet onion, lots of fresh parsley & fresh ground pepper. Served here over a whole grain muffin, sliced avocado & simple frisée salad with garlic vinaigrette. Could have been topped with some melted cheese, but I didn’t want to denature de taste of this exquisite tuna fish.



Argia Beristain
Development Director, College of Education and Honors College Boise State University.
First generation Basque American born in Las Vegas to Basque immigrants who came to Idaho in in 1958. Spent childhood summers in Ondarroa, a small fishing village in the province of Bizkaia with family. During studies, Argia lived in Donostia (San Sebastian), Donibane Garazi (St. Jean Pier de Port) so she has lived in 5 of the 7 provinces for 3 months or more.

Lifetime member of the Las Vegas Basque Club.
VP of Seattle Euskal Etxea (while attending UW)
Founding Board Member of the Washington, DC Euskal Etxea in 2005, continues to sit on the Board of Directors.
Euskera Irakaslea (instructor) in Seattle -via UW Extended Studies and in Washington, DC via the Basque Club
Boiseko Gazteak instructor- teaches Basque American youth traditional cultural dances to celebrate, educate and perpetuate our culture.

In 2015, Director of the Basque Soccer Friendly that brought a team from the Basque Country, Athletic Club Bilbao to Boise to play Club Tijuana. We covered the Blue with green grass 😉 Athletic Club Bilbao requires that all players be from the Basque Country or raised in the Basque Country to play on their team.

University of Washington: B.A Political Science and Gender Studies, 2003
Universidad del Pais Vasco : MA Basque Studies, 2010

Chef Jesus Alcelay knows food. He started cooking traditional Basque dishes when he was nine years old, learning alongside his mother Felisa in Oñati. He officially began his culinary career as a sous chef in San Sebastian, when he was 18. Eventually he married an American and followed her to Boise, where he opened his first Basque restaurant, he called it Oñati, like his hometown.
He served the traditional Basque dishes of his native land for 17 years.
Once his kids were grown, Chef Alcelay returned to Spain and opened two American-themed restaurants. He has since returned to Boise to become executive chef at the Cottonwood Grille. Today he specializes in seasonal Northwest fare and farm-fresh wild game paired with fine wine. Of course, he has added his own specialty Basque dishes to the menu, including lamb shank and croquetas.
Well known in Boise’s restaurant and Basque community, Chef Jesus Alcelay has been a fixture of the Idaho restaurant scene since he immigrated here from San Sabastian, Spain, in 1975.
He is also the chef at the Boise Basque community center.

I encourage you to read John Bieter (B.S.U History Professor) & Mark Bieter’s excellent book :  An Enduring Legacy : The History of basque in Idaho

Voilà! The evening was very very tasty & we would like to shout out: Eskerrik asko! To Chef Jesus Acelay & Argia Beristain

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