Tag Archives: Chef Marco Legasto


4 Jul

Various recipes involving steaks, sauces and the use of truffle oil were aptly demonstrated, cooked & taught by Chef Marco Legasto during one of the gourmet workshops at Wine Depot Alabang.  This particular session had a number of men as participants.  Probably because of the steaks =)

Mise en place all set.

Chef Marco in action.


Beef cube roll sliced and pan seared with onions.

Beef cube roll sliced and pan seared with onions.

Barbecue sauce poured in small quantity. For the BBQ sauce: tomato sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, bay leaf, celery, leeks, garlic, pepper & soy sauce. Combine ingredients and boil until thickened.

Yum! Finished product for participants' tasting.


Topping: saute chopped jamon iberico , sliced button mushrooms. Add slice foie gras. Set aside. Then add diced tomatoes and a dash of truffle oil.

Grill Tajima Wagyu burgers. Can use ciabatta bread or regular burger buns. Instead of buttering inside of sliced bread buns, spread s little of goat cheese.  Put grilled burger on top of sliced bread.

Grill Tajima Wagyu burgers. Use ciabatta bread or regular burger buns. Instead of buttering inside of sliced bread, spread a little goat cheese. Put grilled burger on top of sliced bread.

Arrange jamon iberico salsa on top of burgers. Add grated Manchego cheese.


Use Tajima Wagyu topside beef or any striploin beef, Create a pocket in the middle of the beef by slicing until mid way. Stuff with butterflied prawns (about 2-3 pcs.), slivers of foie gras & sliced button mushroom. Then close. No need to tie or secure with toothpick.

A wise option is to wrap steak with 3-4 slices of bacon to secure & for that smokey bacon flavor. No need to season beef & bacon. So many flavors will eventually commingle.

Butter on pan. Pan sear both sides. Put end of bacon on pan first to seal. Then bake in oven for 10 minutes at 250C. Time to Prepare sauce.

Saute prawn heads in butter. Add garlic, onions, celery, dry white wine, sliced button mushrooms, sliced porcini mushrooms, water, salt, lobster oil. Drippings from the steak in the oven must be added for extra flavor.

Lobster oil from Australia.

Strain head mixture well. Pour strained liquid in sauce pan. Another option is to blend using a hand or regular blender & food processor especially if prawn heads are excluded.

Finish with butter and cream.

Simmer a bit. Then drizzle truffle oil.

Glorious truffle oil. Gives any dish that spectacular taste and aroma. Purists will not want this as it masks the real taste of food. Mask it does...but beautifully. Drizzle a little on creamy scrambled eggs, pasta sauce or any dish you want to up the ante.

Remove meat from oven when done. Let rest for a few minutes and slice. Slice meat according to preference. The one above was sliced into small pieces for all participants to taste. If quantity is not an issue, best to serve whole per person =)

Pour sauce over. TBW makes this sauce regularly with a bit of change. Prawn heads are removed in the sauce if an all-meat dish is to be served. Also, if porcini is not available, use any fresh and dried mushroom combined. Sauce can be used for pasta, on fish or any protein. Makes any ordinary dish extraordinary.


21 Mar

This is Part 1


Part 2

Hola!  The delightful experience continues…..

An Asian influenced Tapas was next.  TBW could eat this with rice!


Make sure salmon is fresh.  It has to bright in color, not pale and anemic looking.  Flesh should be firm, not sagging.  Like it goes to the gym regularly =))

Salmon in full color

Procedures:  Pour sesame oil in pan.  Sautee garlic, onions and red/green bell pepper.  Grate ginger into pan.  By this time, a marvelous aroma fills the room. Stay focused and continue cooking =) Put in the salmon.  Sear.  Add sliced fresh button mushrooms.  Kikkoman and chili flakes (the Japanese brand Tongarachi is preferred) are next.  Then pour a bit of white wine (of course from the bottle you already opened for yourself  to drink=)).  Add sugar (better brown), sprinkle pepper.  Cook until salmon is half cooked.  Pour sesame oil to finish.

Thanks to food stylist Rizza for this shot =)

This tapas is soooo good and if arranged all together in a serving platter, can be served as a main course.  For wine pairing, Chef Marco set us free by choosing either the Grand Bridge Muscato or the Cape Jaffa Chardonnay.  Some chose both =)

Tips:  1.)  You may substitute salmon with shrimp, tuna or any protein, even tofu.  2.)  Do not over cook fish.

The last but definitely not the least of the 4 tapas is the Spicy trout and cheese cigars. This is definitely a fitting finale for the workshop as the end product created an explosion of flavors in the mouth.  Always end with a bang to create impact, right?

Chef Marco Legasto was very consistent in his wondrous ways that he prepared a cheese spread with fine ingredients to go with the “cigars”.

In a food processor, he put several types of  “immortal” cheeses like  goat, cheese with truffles, bleue, goat curd, Brebirousse d’ Argental (one of my faves) and more.  All purpose cream was added to soften the mix.  Juice of 1 1/2 lemon and chili flakes were added next.  And then….tada….truffle oil once again!  Blend well.

Tips:  1.) For a simpler and practical version, TBW and Rizza think that using “mortal” cream cheeses like Philadelphia or Magnolia  are good enough =)  2.) Or use any leftover soft cheese you have in the ref.

On to the cigar…..

Spread cheese on one sheet of lumpia wrapper. Better to use the square shape. You'll find out why in a bit =)

Layer smoked trout on top of the cheese spread. You can use smoked salmon, tinapa or any smoked fish.

Add a sheet of nori wrapper. Nori wrapper is usually square in shape. That's why it's better to use square lumpia wrapper. Place 2 or 3 sprigs of Arugula and cilantro on one side of the wrapper.

Roll like a cigar. Seal edges with a little egg and flour.

Fry “cigar” for 10 seconds or just enough for wrapper to crisp.  Avoid frying too long as inside ingredients may be compromised.

The ideal fry look. Best to lay on paper towel for oil to be absorbed.

Cut like sushi. About 1 inch thick.

Experience the 4th of July with the burst of different flavors in your mouth.  Really!  Wait for the layers of distinctive tastes to come out and savor each delectable goodness. Plus the crunchiness of the greens, nori and lumpia wrapper adds the element of texture to every bite.  Perfect combination!

Spicy trout & cheese cigars. A very colorful & delicious tapas

Tips:  1.) To balance out the saltiness of the smoked trout and cheese spread, perhaps a nice balsamic vinaigrette dip can accompany this tapas.  2.)  Make sure “cigars” are fried minutes before they’re to be eaten otherwise, they may turn soggy and the crunchiness appeal is lost.

Chef Marco Legasto

Muchisimas gracias, Chef Marco!  We immensely enjoyed that afternoon.  We are now  tapas friendly and tapas wiser that a “tapas party” is in the offing =)  Here is looking forward to the next gourmet workshop….with or without the truffle oil….right BBF’s? (as in Basketball Fans =))


TBW borrows this quote from “neighbor”  My Grandparents’ Kitchen to end this 2 part entry:

“Good oil, like good wine, is a gift from the gods. The grape and the olive are among the priceless benefactions of the soil, and were destined, each in its way, to promote the welfare of man.”

–George Ellwanger




18 Mar


Wine Depot Alabang conducts gourmet workshops monthly.  Lucky participants get to learn new and easy recipes that could be replicated at home without much fuss.  Feature for the month of March: tapas or appetizers or pica pica.

Tapas (singular or plural) was derived from the Spanish noun tapa (cover or lid)  and verb tapar (to cover).  There are many versions of how and why the word has come to denote a type of food in Spain.  The most common story is that in the past, drinkers in tavernas would use a piece of bread or meat to cover their drink glasses as protection from fruit flies. The bread or meat eventually became the snack to go with the drink.

Most, if not all of Spain’s bars and restaurants have a variety of tapas in their menus.   In certain parts of the country, they are called pinchos.  Tapas was originally more of an appetizer and has evolved from the uncomplicated anchovy stuffed olives to elaborately prepared ones that could pass off as a main meal.  Nowadays, we can find tapas all over the world. In Manila, this type of food is fast gaining popularity and it is no wonder that Wine Depot decided to make this their feature for March.

At the  gourmet workshop, premium ingredients and top of the line equipment are used.

The much publicized Green Pan seen in Asian Food Channel

Only the finest ingredients used....pata negra, EVO, truffle oil, etc.

Booklets containing the different tapas to be demonstrated, their corresponding recipes, and space for jotting down notes are given to all attendees.

Chef Marco Legasto, the Executive Chef of Wine Depot was our tapas guru for the day.  He was a very gracious, generous and inspiring host.

Chef Marco Legasto

For the first demo, it was an easy breezy tapas that anyone can prepare. This must be the simplest tapas ever:  Sliced honey dew melon (better to use the orange Spanish melon) wrapped with a slice of  jamon (the best is the Pata negra variety).  Dollop with honey on top to achieve the sweet-salty taste. As an added treat, Chef Marco drizzled a substantial amount of truffle oil.  This started the truffle oil shower that afternoon and no one complained at all =)

Honey dew melon wrapped with Jamon Iberico or Pata Negra (the rolls royce of cured jamon)

Truffle Oil

Did I mention that aside form the cooking demonstration, the organizers thought of pairing each dish with an appropriate wine coming from Wine Depot’s vast inventory?  We were thrilled with the food and wine pairing =) For the honey dew melon with jamon, a light Chardonnay was served to everyone’s delight.

Cape Jaffa unwooded Chardonnay---meaning it was stored in barrels not made of wood.

Chef Marco in action preparing the first of four "official" tapas...

Better to use grass fed beef. Striploin, local tenderloin or wagyu topside are suggested meat cuts.

Procedures:  Rub garlic on meat and leave overnight if possible.  Right before cooking, put salt and using high heat, sear meat in coated pan with a thin layer of olive oil spray.  Remove meat from pan.  In the same pan, on medium to low heat, add garlic, onions and sliced green & red bell pepper.  Add Spanish paprika, a dash of red wine (from the bottle you opened to drink while cooking) and soy sauce. Stir.  Add back meat and mix.  Add chili flakes for a kick.  As a finishing touch add about 2 tablespoons butter.  Sprinkle pepper.  Sarapique =)

Tips:  1.)  Never marinate beef with salt as this dries up the meat.  2.)  Use the pan used for searing meat as there is so much flavor on it. You can saute on it or just deglaze it with wine or stock.  3.) Green & red bell pepper may be omitted for a more traditional salpicao.

This beef salpicao was paired with Tatachilla Merlot from Australia.

Next on the agenda….Covap croquettas (Covap is the brand name of the cured meats used in this recipe).

Procedures:  Sweat diced bacon, chorizo, salsichon, jamon iberico.  Sprinkle with paprika for that Spanish taste.  You can add some blue cheese and grated cheddar cheese for more flavor. If you wish to add cheese, turn off heat.

Then, combine mashed potatoes with all the ingredients in the pan. Make sure mashed potatoes are plain…meaning no salt or seasoning, no butter/cream/milk. After a thorough mix, form the meat infused mashed potatoes into your desired croquetta shape.  Ideal shape of course is the elongated one.  Roll the croquetta in flour, egg, breadcrumbs (in that order please). Fine bread crumbs will do.  Deep fry.

Ideal croquettas form

"Croquettas look" after frying

A cheese sauce was made as accompaniment. Recipe was not in the booklet but because Chef Marco was so generous with his knowledge and ingredients, sauce was made on the spot.  He sauteed garlic & onions in butter.  Salt and milk were added.  Then these sinfully delicious stuff followed:  grated aged cheddar cheese, goat cheese, goat curd (divine!).  Stir constantly on low fire.  And then it’s shower time!!!  Truffle oil poured….like rain =)

Extremely pleasurable cheese sauce! TBW wanted to lick the spoon and pan after =)

Finished product

Tips:  1.)  For the cheese sauce, use whatever cheese you have, especially the over staying ones in the ref.  2.)  A  well prepared sofrito can be used as sauce.  In fact, any sauce sourced from ceativity & imagination will do. =) 3.)  You can add ground beef, diced chicken, flaked salmon or any leftovers as filling.  This is actually a great solution for leftover meat, seafood and mashed potatoes of the previous night’s roast.  3.)  A huge batch of croquettas can be made to maximize time & effort. Store formed ones complete with batter in freezer.  Anytime you need a ‘croq” fix, pop a few in the fryer.

The croquettas seemed quite simple to prepare yet the taste was nothing like it. The experience got even better as this tapas was paired with a Muscato frizzante, a light and fruity sparkling wine.  A match made in heaven!


Grand Birdge Muscato Frizzante


Simple things can be used to create spectacular things.  Higher levels can even be achieved if paired well.  Hmmm….Food imitates life. Or life imitates food =)

Stay tuned for Part 2!


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