WEEKEND CHEF | Healthy holiday recipe: Chef Kalel Chan’s Spanish-style Balsamic Bangus Belly

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Weekend Chef prepared this flavorful Spanish-style Balsamic Bangus Belly from Chef Kalel Chan's recipe. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.
Step 5. In pan with warm Doña Elena olive oil, onions and carrots, add crushed garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

Who says healthy food is always bland and boring? It can be hearty and delicious when you cook with quality ingredients, beginning with the oil that you use, and when it is prepared with love.

Top chefs swear by high-quality olive oil such as Doña Elena Olive Oil, and two of these top local chefs are Raintree Restaurant’s corporate chef Kalel Chan and Locavore’s executive chef Mikel Zaguirre. Both were recently introduced as the first Chef Ambassadors of Doña Elena Olive Oil. The Chef Ambassador Series campaign was launched over an exquisite dinner event held at Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant in Horseshoe Village, Quezon City, and will feature techniques and personal recipes of game-changing chefs that consumers can easily reproduce at home.

Chefs Kalel and Mikel were chosen as the first Chef Ambassadors because they have proven to be game
changers in the industry.

Doña Elena Olive Oil’s first culinary ambassadors, chefs Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore (in photo, center) and Kalel Chan of Raintree Restaurants (extreme right) with host Sam O present their recipes during a recent press conference. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

Chef Kalel who belongs ot a family of home cooks shared that he started cooking as early as age seven. As a professional chef, he likes to work with healthy and sustainable ingredients in his dishes. He also leans toward healthy cooking techniques, such as low fire cooking that harnesses the natural flavors of ingredients, tenderize the meat, reduce shrinkage and retain the natural form of the ingredients used.

The main man of hip and chic Locavore, Chef Mikel, is highly imaginative with his dishes but does not compromise the texture, flavor, balance, and presentation of such dishes.

Both chefs consider Doña Elena Olive Oil as a staple in their kitchen—and so they were chosen to represent the brand with their culinary creations. For the Chef Ambassador Series launch, Chef Kalel shared his Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly recipe to encourage everyone to cook and eat healthy, while Chef Mikel made Mojo Chicken to show people that it only takes a few quality ingredients, the right amount of marination and proper cooking time to come up with a perfectly roasted chicken.

Guests during the launch got to taste the two signature dishes. They were so good that I decided to replicate them at home, starting with Chef Kalel’s Spanish Style Balsamic Bangus Belly since the fish vendor on wheels who passes by the house almost every day constantly has boneless bangus among the different fish varieties he sells and I have all the ingredients needed.

Happy to share with you the result of my kitchen test.

Spanish-style Balsamic Bangus Belly
Ingredients
1 cup Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil
100 grams bangus bellies
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pc. red onion, cut into quarters
1 pc. carrot, peeled and sliced thinly into rounds
2 pcs. bay leaf
6 pcs. green olives
4 Tbsps. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
3 tsps. salt
1 pinch chili flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Cut the belly part of boneless bangus into size desired.

Step 1. Make sure bangus belly is deboned and cut according to desired size. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

2. In a small pot, add olive oil and bring flame up to medium.

3. Once oil is warm, add onion. Allow it to sizzle.

4. Add carrots.

5. Follow with crushed garlic. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Step 5. In pan with warm Doña Elena olive oil, onions and carrots, add crushed garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

6. Drizzle in balsamic vinegar.

Step 6. Drizzle the mixture with balsamic vinegar. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

7. Add bangus bellies.

8. Add green olives (*black olives can be used if green ones are unavailable) and bay leaf.

9. Then season with chili flakes, thyme, salt and pepper.

Step 9. Season the bangus belly dish with chili flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

10. Simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until bangus bellies are fully cooked.

Serves 4.