What a meal we were treated to yesterday lunchtime . All local dishes with all of the food found within a 2 km area .
We started with Tortellini in brodo which is one of the great Italian soups. It is described as the definitive soup that combines all the good Italian ingredients . This was ours yesterday
I, of course, wrote the ingredients down and at the end of the meal left them on the table. It can’t have been the wine could it? Still I will get them tomorrow and post them.
From there to Frittata di Asparagi which is basically an omelette but this one used the wild asparagus that we had collected the day before from the hedgerows around the house. This is the first weekend for wild asparagus and the season is very short probably a couple of weeks so very much a welcome to spring dish. This was Rosa’s yesterday
She uses less eggs than lots of cooks which gives the dish more substance and is easier to store as a snack for the next day.
By now we were reeling a bit but the food kept coming. The next dish was Cardoncini which is a very local dish indeed. It comes from an area just south of Martina Franca and certainly today I could not find it in any search. The cardoncino is a wild growing plant that looks a little like a thistle. It takes forever to clean and strip of its spindles and requires lots of washing . So it is very labour intensive just to get the main ingredient ready. then she adds a little mince meat, grated cheese, grated bread and on the top she sprinkles cooked onion. This is how it looked before we made a very large hole in it
Click on the image to see it larger if you want. There were obviously herbs in there too but I was too busy eating to really get them down. I don’t think I am cut out to be a food blogger and as Jonathan has rightly commented my photos never do the food much justice. Let me just say it was superb but the work involved sounded just too much to have as anything other than a really special dish.
We finished with lamb in an herb sauce
The meat dish here is always just that. The meat is served and you help yourself to a piece or maybe two and you eat it as it has been served with just a little of the juice it was cooked in poured over it. Nothing accompanies it and it is the end of the meal in all the houses we have been to. Cake is served with coffee on special days but other than that just fruit is placed on the table. Lamb is very expensive here and so is a treat but even the cheaper meats and chicken get the same treatment. You find therefore that Italians down here eat very little meat . A large bowl of salad is always on the table during the starter and pasta course and you help yourself to it as you eat. I guess this is the true mediterranean diet that the newspapers talk about. Lashing of red wine accopanied the dishes and of course grappa was the digestivo to settle the tum . What a feast.
All this talk of herbs must lead to a tune how about Mint and Rosemary
Now this guy is big. His real name is Adelmo Fornaciari but is known as Zucchero. He is an international star now and has sold more than 40million LPs and CDs since he started in the late 70’s. His collaborations are like a who’s who of the blues world: Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis the list goes on and on. His last big hit CD in 2011 he recorded with Brian Wilson, he of Beach Boys fame. Now Brian was, of course , responsible for Pet Sounds in 1966 which has endlessly been voted the most influential LP in the history of pop. One of the great tracks from that is one of my favourities
Brian Wilson composed all the music on Pet Sounds and planned all the orchestrations, an amazing talent. He said he was inspired to do it by the Beatles LP Rubber Soul and they returned the complement a year later when they said they listened to Pet Sounds and started on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club straight away. Indeed George Martin said no Brian Wilson no Sgt Peppers. Of course drugs rather fried poor Brian’s brain but it is good to see him back.