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Entries in lardo (3)

Wednesday
May162012

Verona, Part the First

After rejoining the rest of the Iaciofano's in Bologna, all four of us made haste to the train station and headed to Verona.

I have to admit to being a bit disoriented, having just spent four days biking in France and getting blown over by hurricane-force winds. I kept saying "frommage" instead of "formaggio" and I couldn't get my outfits right.

Verona is a beautiful city. A combination of Medieval and Roman architecture, it's a feast for the eyes. 

We made camp at the Due Torre Hotel. Marmo scored us some prime suites with a balcony!

We were just a short skip away from the Piazza delle Erbe...and some serious shopping. And eating. Have I talked about the eating yet? I'm gettin' there, don't worry. Before there is food, there are usually some antics. You have to work up an appetite by doing something... 

So first, we visited Juliet's (of Shakespeare fame) house to find a place to put our used gum...

And then we made our way to the Roman theater surrounding the city center to check out some quality ruins, and play amongst the archways.

And then we got lost. So The Box had to pull out the map and both sets of his glasses.

Getting lost makes me hungry. So I suggested we forgo the usual tourist-infested, open-air panini cafe's and find something local. We found something local while I was getting everyone lost running them around the Verona looking for a cycling shop. Which we eventually found, along with a fancy wine bar - Osteria del Bugiardo.

The Osteria looked very local. There were no Americans inside. I could tell. This made The Box nervous. Things "outside the box" generally make The Box nervous. But I convinced him with the promise of cured meats and cheeses and perhaps even beer that it would be worthwhile.

Well, they were out of beer.

But they had wine! And LOTS of meat and cheese. I suggested to our server using my elementary Italian and some all-encompassing hand gestures (Italians love hand gestures), that we wanted enough meat and cheese for four people, a crostini sampler plate and some local wine.

Our server wandered away with what I hoped was our order (The Box was still wary at this point, perched atop his high bar stool like an owl on high alert). At this point, he and John started sketching diagrams of the perfect golf swing onto the kraft paper placemats.

Sheesh...Americans...

And then came the crostini!

Some of these were unidentifiable! Others were just strange, like the purple one which turned out to be a cabbage slaw type of thing. All were really good! Seriously. I have not, however, developed a taste for anchovies, so that particular crostini didn't appeal to me.

This was just a precursor to the awesomeness that lay ahead in the form of:

Aaaaaand:

Not a scrap of either remained. Iaciofano's young and old devoured them all....diagrams of golf physics lay forgotten underneath piles of LARDO. Yes, my favorite meat butter made an appearance on this platter. This particular version tasted slightly smoky. It was expertly seasoned with fresh pepper...and it just melted...like butter. The best I've had to date.

As for the cheeses, we were presented with a lovely arrangement of semi-hard to hard cheeses accompanied by a selection of jams. John preferred the raspberry, while I fought Marmo for the pear flavor.

The Box was now full of wine, cheese, beer, and some random crostini and acting like going to the wine bar was his idea all along.

He does that, get used to it.

As for the rest of us, we were ready to go get lost all over again, in an effort to work up an appetite for dinner...

Thursday
Jun162011

Spanning the City for Frozen Desserts – Semifreddo from Salumeria Rosi

All this week, we've been talking about cream. Frozen cream, that is, in various forms. Gelato, ice cream and now semifreddo.

"Semifreddo" literally means "half cold" in Italian. It has a much softer texture than ice cream or gelato, perhaps because it is mixed with equal parts whipped cream. So it's lighter and fluffier. Like an ice cream mousse (sans antlers).

The above pictured semifreddo is of particular note. All you downtowners now have a reason to go to the Upper West Side: Salumeria Rosi. Go for brunch, stay for the semifreddo, and don't forget to buy some lardo before departing.

This semifreddo was a Parmigiano Reggiano Parfait, garnished with prosciutto brittle (yeah, you heard me right: prosciutto. brittle.) and tiny chunks of melon. The tangy frozen cream was offset by crispy, salty chunks of cured meat and an ever-so-slight-sweetness from the melon. Truly different. And categorically and undeniably outstanding.

If the above isn't convincing enough to have you cruising around the UWS looking for half cold desserts, consider the following:

Equal halves sunny and shady outdoor seating!

The Porchetta Calabrese sandwich! With provolone piccante, pickles and and Calabrese pepper sauce, I really shouldn't need to beg you to order this "sangwich" but I'm going to. PLEASE DO IT....

And finally, what other chef/owner has this certification? Posted in the bathroom, no less:

I was convinced. By the semifreddo, by the porchetta, a few "Tuscan Marys," and this official restroom certification. You will be too.

Overall Dining Experience: The Shawshank Redemption (The Happy Ending)

Salumeria Rosi
283 Amsterdam Ave
NY, NY
(212) 877-4800

 

Thursday
Jun092011

Be a Dumas, Put Lardo On Your Pizza

You knew bread week was coming back to pizza, right? Well, you should have.

We've been featuring a bunch of Meals on Reels posts – food related to movies. Well, I'd like to change media on you and switch to books.

I enjoy reading. When I was little, I would read books, sometimes over and over again. This is very geeky of me, I realize. Don't hold it against me, k? Unlike television, reading is quiet. I can turn off all the noise and let my imagination take over. And in books, you have a little more space to talk – about anything. Often this space is used to discuss or describe food.

Recently, I read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas whose flair for historical fiction is only outstripped by his fantastic hair:

This book delivers a healthy mix of themes, including hope, justice, revenge and – my personal favorite – ridiculous banter.

Consider my favorite quote from the book:

"I say that when a thing is beyond my comprehension, I stop thinking about it and pass on to something else. Is our supper ready?"

My kind of book. And supper is what we are concerned about here. As it turns out Dumas was a fan of pizza. In his book Le Corricolo he talks about the original Neapolitan pizza vendors (the food trucks of yore!), and notes the popular toppings: oil, lard, tallow, cheese.

I have recreated, to the best of my ability, that original Neapolitan lardo pizza. To describe my fondness for this pizza, and lardo in general, I must use another Dumas quote:

"...know you not that you are my sun by day, and my star by night? By my faith! I was in deepest darkness till you appeared and illuminated all." (from Queen Margot)

Here is the recipe for Nineteenth Century Lardo Pizza That Illuminates All:

What You Need:


1 recipe pizza dough – found here
1/4 pound thinly sliced lardo (I got mine from Salumeria Rosi on the UWS)
Olive oil (don't bother to measure)
Grated Peccorino cheese - about a cup, but feel free to use more
Fresh herbs: I used rosemary and thyme, but basil would be lovely as well.

What To Do:
Heat your pizza stone in your oven to 500 degrees for a half hour before you even think about placing dough in there.

Stretch out your pizza dough onto a pizza peel coated with semolina flour or cornmeal.

Drizzle your dough with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until your crust is turning golden and starts to bubble.

Remove the pizza crust from the oven with the pizza peel. Place it on a plate.

Garnish with sliced lardo, Peccorino cheese, and fresh herbs.

The heat from the hot pizza dough will melt the lardo and cheese and create a wonderful just-toasted effect.

Eat it immediately. With wine. Like so:

Lardo Pizza from John Iaciofano on Vimeo.

 

Speaking of wine, Dumas has this to say:

"So much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have some bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts."  (from the Count of Monte Cristo)

Oh, and if you are looking for the correct pronunciation of "Dumas", see this handy reference. John and I still call each other "dumas-es."