Printer Friendly

A candid camera ... goes to Italy.

* ROUND MIDNIGHT AT THE STUDIO

I knew something was up. I sensed adventure. My master spent much of the day cleaning my lenses, packing extra film and checking all my parts to make sure I worked perfectly. When he put the converter in the case, I knew we were venturing somewhere distant.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

DAY 1: 6pm, GMT, suspected location: Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris

What the @#%? Hey, stop touching my lens! No, not the X-ray! Leave that film case alone. Don't open that bag-please. Parle vous Anglais? Can't you understand me? Don't you know who I am? I'm a HASSELBLAD.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Finally in the air. Au revoir.

20 HOURS LATER

All that jostling around on conveyer belts, handling without care and being thrown in with the cargo is exhausting. Now what's this language? I've heard it before, it's a dialect my master Ignacio knows ...

DAY 2: Bergamo, Italy

Just as I thought. We are in Italy. Scusi! Can you please take me out of this case? Grazie, grazie.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In my master's hands at last. Zoom! Flash! Pop! Click! This is more like it. There's so much to photograph. One minute a piazza, the next pizza!

Hold it! Great! Yeah, that's good! 'Gotta' get that. Click!

To the citta alta for a quick apertivo! What a great idea-free snacks and inexpensive wine served late in the afternoon. Snap!

Trying to find Hotel Macaroni, but given directions to Hotel Marconi! Can't possibly read all the signs on the autostrada. Master needs a scotch before he can think to ask for directions again. And get the kid a Limoncello, per favore.

Later, a litre of wine. I hope my master remembers how to focus me!

DAY 3: Sarmeola, just outside of Padova

Stopped for cigarettes at the Tabacchi en route to the pizzeria. The pizzaioli is a true artisan-a highly respected trade.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A quick cafe and cigarette and my master will be ready to roll. What's taking so long? Is there such a thing as a quick meal here? These Italians linger longer for lunch. Life seems to revolve around food, or rather food revolves around life? Suddenly I feel so esoteric ...

DAY 4: Quistello, on the outskirts of Mantova

In the Panaria. Why were all the lights turned off? We can't take pictures like this! This is not unusual, we find out; most Italians conserve energy-utility bills are outrageous!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Everyone smokes like a chimney. Elevators the size of closets. Rooms the size of shoeboxes. Cars on cobblestone are clamorous. The gray-shaded lamps situated on the tops of the buildings give the town a goolish glow. Have to adjust the shutter.

Flash! Pop!

DAY 5: Gioto, on the edge of Mantova

Cos'e?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ah! It's the Sulumeria where the Italians shop for (what else?) salami, salsicce (sausage) and cheese. The metal grate covering the front door is closing, a sign the shop is almost shut down for the night. We are spotted and the owner invites us in.

What's that beautiful piece of machinery? She is red. I have never seen anything so beautiful. A manual hand crank, flywheel slicer. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? She's already been cleaned, ready to put away, but our new Italian friend is happy to help. And in return?

Smile, please. Snap!

What is Italy without romance and love? Ciao!

DAY 6: Linate airport, Milan

Who gift wraps cheese? They do here in Milan. What isn't fashionable? Time for me to go back in my case, but before I do ... Pop! Click! Flash!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

LET YOUR INSTINCTS BE YOUR GUIDE.

Massimiliano, routinely called 'Max', is only 28 years old. At 22, he carned entry into that famous red culinary catalog of 'Who's Who' known as the Michelin Guide with his first star. Now, he has three. This chef is just one of four generations of Alajmos in the restaurant business, but he's the first and shining star of another kind.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Some say, "Podova," some say, "Padua." Regardless, it's the city of saints, a paradise for product and haute couture--think cuisine, not clothes. Pilgrims of two different natures--religious and culinary--are drawn here to honor the town's most famous saint, St. Anthony. They also come here for the miracles Chef Alajmo delivers in his restaurant, Le Calandre.

"I create dishes first in my head." He then, transforms these 'visions' from pot to plate. Mr. Alajmo makes mental notes on flavor combinations and cooking techniques as a composer would notations on a musical score. He trusts his senses wholly, giving himself over to them, allowing them to guide him in the kitchen. "I trust my sense of smell so completely that I can imagine the flavor of a finished dish from the scent of the raw ingredients."

He continues, "I have to know where a piece of meat comes from. It's not enough for me just to taste the raw filet--I need to know the animal's origin in order to pin down the flavor of the herbs it ate. Why? So I can use the same herbs when cooking it. This is a fundamental rule of my cooking. If a meals smells good people will want to taste it."

Certainly, this kind of thinking is a breakthrough from traditional Italian ways.

Everyday before service, the chef faithfully takes a moment to eat salad with white vinegar. He says this practice "cleanses his palate." This being said in the city of saints begs the question, 'what kind of service are we talking about here?'

A CHEF WHO COOKS ON HIS DAY OFF? ONLY IN ITALY.

From the American chefs Art Culinaire has spoken with through the years, the consensus seems to be that, given the option, most would rather not cook--on a rare day off. Not Enrico Cerea. He's a bit of an anomaly. "I cook for my family. I cook at home. I cook on vacation. I cook on my days off. And, of course, I cook at the restaurant. Sure, I get tired, but once I get in the kitchen, that goes away."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The restaurant he's speaking of, is Da Vittorio. It's located in Bergamo, Italy, a city configured on a hill; its oldest part, enclosed within imposing walls, the same ones that still characterize it today. The four centuries under Venetian domination were the most significant period; but today, Bergamo and the Lombardi region are dominated by something else entirely--great cuisine. Hardly imposing.

Like the town in which he cooks, Cerea's cooking is rooted in the traditional. "I've watched people make ..." what Cerea calls, "mistakes." "For example, butter should always be used in risotto, not oil. The essence of a traditional kitchen is knowing how to put together a traditional meal." Cerea is fond of cheeses, white truffles, and fish of all kinds. "We use spices from all over the world. And once in awhile, we look at different areas--Liguria, Piedmonte--to see what other cooking styles are out there."

Family, like most Italian chefs, is an essential part of the business. It runs deep in this household. "My father used to work in northern Italy and came to Bergamo. He opened a place with his brother. He was very proud, always experimenting. As our family expanded, we opened more restaurants. One was a small restaurant and bar for twenty people or so. My father always said if the restaurant didn't work out, we could just keep the bar!"

Apparently, the concept worked out quite nicely. Cerea tells us, "We've done a cocktail party for the Prince of Monaco and did a small, sophisticated wedding for Madonna."

"Now, we own a bigger restaurant in Bergamo--where we do catering, weddings, have a bakery and hold small events. My entire family has a part in the restaurant."

It's all very charming. As it should be.

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER MINCIO

Silvana Ferrari quickly changes into her fashionable Italian street clothes immediately after service. You can't miss the bright orange clogs and short black hair. Silvana, a quiet and soft-spoken woman, is the chef here at al Bersagliere. Her husband, Roberto, works the floor as manager. There are other family members involved in the venture too, like Roberto's brother-in-law who serves as sommelier. It's a family affair, but it is Silvana who works the controls behind the stove. She had never cooked before love entered the picture. Her husband was originally the chef here, and eventually, the two swapped jobs. She tells us, "Sometimes the kitchen staff doesn't listen to me. They still take orders from Roberto."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What used to be just a tavern located on the river Mincio, is now one of the best restaurants in Gioto, Italy, in the province of Mantova. Al Bersagliere serves up simple and elegant food indicative of the region. And yes, that includes fish caught just below the bridge.

The family has owned the joint since 1840, and there's some history here. The Italian Revolution of 1848-1849 changed al Bersagliere. The original building was severely damaged during World War II, but the structure was rebuilt and recently refurbished. Generations of Ferraris later, what remains the same is this: The Ferrari family still owns the place (they live upstairs) and have successfully turned it into a sought-out restaurant with sought-after faire.

A rather unusual characteristic anywhere in Italy--the dining room is supposedly non-smoking. But the Ferrari's make exceptions. If a frequent guest dines here and sets their cigarettes down, the waitstaff won't ask to 'refrain from smoking;' instead, they immediately deliver an ashtray. And there are many guests who visit here time and again, smoking and non-smoking.

Silvana takes a break from the kitchen and sits with AC. With a very convincing poker face, she says, "I need a cup of coffee to smoke with my cigarette. How can I get some good service around here?!"

And an ashtray appears--immediately.

WHAT IF ALL RESTAURANTS WERE BUILT AROUND A CHEF'S CHILD HOOD-HOME?

It's an interesting question. What if big-name restaurants in the United States were located in random sections of suburban neighborhoods rather than smack in the city center? Hard to imagine, isn't it? But, things are a little different on the back roads of Italy, where this scenario is not far-fetched.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As evidence, visit Chef Romano Tamani in the hamlet of Quistello, just down the way from Mantova. If you are unfamiliar with the geography in these parts, we're talking the Lombardy region. Romano's boyhood countryside is characterized by rivers, fields and farms. You won't find a 7/11 on the corner. But there may be a cheese factory nearby. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, it is. No wonder Romano wanted to have his restaurant here--and he has for the last 25 years.

The chef's profile reads as if it were written for an American reality show-'Romano loves the heart-rendering scenery which he admires in autumn.' Also important to note: Romano "especially enjoys the sunrises."

Lombardy is one of the few landlocked regions of Italy, and its cuisine is a reflection of the river that runs through it--the Po. Tamani takes local fare based on a variety of game birds, meat and freshwater fish and brightly blends those with exclusive components from the Emilia-Romagna region-which means plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and butter. What a change from the original--and only--menu item at Ambasciata--known there, here and everywhere as pizza.

From floor to ceiling, there's something to stare at. Plates, candles, mirrors, paintings, glasses, flowers and any trinket imaginable cover the walls of Ambasciata. The chef fits into this picture nicely. He could very well be an illustration out of the same storybook; Romano's princely size adds intimacy and enchantment to the pages.

Francesco, also called Carlo, sommelier, maitre d' and brother of Romano, watches over Ambasciata's wine program like a hawk. Wine a little warm? Well, forget about taking it back. Francesco will grab it from you (before you can swirl and smell) and send it crashing to the floor where it soaks into several decorative, overlapping oriental carpets. By the time you finish your meal, the carpet is dry. One can hardly deny this practice of its charm (and peculiarity), but would Christie's consider this tangible and indispensable to the rug's value? We didn't know (and still don't!).

RELATED ARITCLE: Beef Tartare (Serves 4)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the brioche: In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine milk and yeast; stir gently to dissolve. Add one cup of bread flour, stirring gently to combine. Set aside at room temperature until mixture is foamy and doubles in volume. In stages, add eggs, remaining flour, sugar and salt; incorporate well after each addition. In stages, add butter scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition; mix until combined. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with a damp cloth, setting aside at room temperature until double in volume, about two hours. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface; knead until smooth. Return dough to bowl, cover with a damp cloth and set aside in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat four 4-inch round molds with non-stick spray and set aside. Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly-floured work surface; knead until smooth. Divide into four pieces, roll into balls and transfer to prepared molds. Brush lightly with egg wash, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to proof until double in volume, about 30 minutes. Brush lightly with egg wash and bake in oven until golden brown. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, combine creme fraiche, lemon juice and heavy cream. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and set aside, keeping warm.

For the tartare: In a medium bowl set over an ice bath, combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Season and set aside in the refrigerator.

For the salad: In a medium bowl, combine vinegar and mustard powder. Add oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Place greens in a separate bowl and toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To serve: Arrange zucchini, yellow squash and scallions on a plate. Spoon tartare into a 6-ounce ring mold and place on top of vegetables. Unmold and top with salad and brioche. Pipe sauce around plate, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and garnish with sea salt.

ingredients

For the brioche:

1/2 cup milk, scalded

1/2 ounce fresh yeast

3 3/4 cups bread flour

4 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon sugar

Pinch of salt

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

Egg wash as needed

For the sauce:

1/2 cup creme fraiche

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 ounce heavy cream

Salt and white pepper to taste

For the tartare:

1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed and finely chopped

1/2 bunch chives, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained and finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons mustard powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

2 egg yolks

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

1 ounce balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

3 ounces olive oil

1/4 pound micro greens*

Salt to taste

For the garnish:

Diced zucchini, blanched

Diced yellow squash, blanched

Sliced scallions

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

Note: The recipe for brioche makes 16.

*Available through The Chef's Garden at (800) 289-4644.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Spaghetti-Wrapped Prawns with Lettuce Sauce (Serves 6)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the lettuce sauce: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lettuce and baking soda; reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Drain lettuce and transfer to a blender; add the sugar, mascarpone and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a squeeze bottle and set aside.

For the prawns: Preheat a deep fryer to 350 degrees. Lay the spaghetti on a flat work surface. Season prawns with salt and place on top of spaghetti, rolling the spaghetti around the prawns. Deep fry skewers until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Arrange prawn antennae in the center of a plate; top with fried prawns. Pipe lettuce cream on plate and sprinkle with paprika.

ingredients

For the lettuce sauce:

4 ounces green leaf lettuce

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons mascarpone

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

For the prawns:

1 1/2 pounds fresh spaghetti, boiled and dried

18 prawns, shelled, cleaned and skewered

Salt to taste

For the garnish:

Prawn antennae

Paprika

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Gazpacho with Turnip Sorbet (Serves 4)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the gazpacho: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and set aside in refrigerator overnight. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, season and set aside in refrigerator.

For the turnip sorbet: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for three minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set in an ice bath until cooled. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

For the cucumber gelatin: In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the cucumber juice. Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat, add the agar agar, and simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and transfer to a two-inch ring mold. Place in the refrigerator until set.

For the beet foam: In a large bowl, combine beet juice and anisette. Whisk until foamy, season with salt and set aside.

For the ricotta foam: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, heavy cream and soy sauce. Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree until thick and creamy; season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and set aside in refrigerator.

For the vegetables: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, toss in oil and set aside.

To serve: Spoon gazpacho in a serving bowl. Add turnip sorbet, cucumber gelatin and vegetables. Pipe with ricotta foam and add beet foam. Cover the turnip sorbet with a slice of tomato confit. Garnish with bread, chives, basil leaves and sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil.

ingredients

For the gazpacho:

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped

8 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 red pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped

3 ounces white bread, cubed

2 ounces olive oil

2 tablespoons vegetable stock

2 tablespoons water

Salt and pepper to taste

For the turnip sorbet:

4 pink turnips, juiced

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons glucose

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon anisette

Salt to taste

For the cucumber gelatin:

1 cup cucumber juice

1 teaspoon agar agar powder

Salt to taste

For the beet foam:

3 beets, juiced

1 tablespoon anisette

Salt to taste

For the riootta foam:

10 ounces buffalo ricotta

7 ounces heavy cream

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Salt and white pepper to taste

For the vegetables:

1 cucumber, chopped and blanched

1 yellow pepper, skinned, seeded, and chopped

1 green pepper, skinned, seeded and chopped

1/4 bunch scallions, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Tomato confit

Toasted bread slices

Chopped chives

Basil leaves

Maldon[R] sea salt

Olive oil

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Smoked Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables (Serves 4)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the mushroom aioli: In a medium bowl, combine porcini powder, vinegar, egg yolk, garlic, water and lemon zest. Add oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a squeeze bottle; set aside.

For the mustard sauce: In a small bowl, combine mustard powder and water. Add oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Season with salt and transfer to a squeeze bottle; set aside.

For the mascarpone cream: In a small bowl, combine mascarpone and heavy cream. Whisk until soft and smooth. Season, transfer to a squeeze bottle; set aside.

For the smoked tenderloin: Slice pancetta into four thin strips. Season tenderloin and wrap with pancetta, securing with a toothpick. Season tenderloin with salt and pepper and place on a wire rack-lined sheet pan. Smoke in a cold smoker for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a roasting pan, add oil. Transfer tenderloin from smoker to roasting pan, roasting until desired doneness. Remove; discard toothpick and set aside, keeping warm.

For the roasted vegetables: Preheat over to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and toss in oil. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast until vegetables are tender. Remove; set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Pipe mushroom aioli, mustard sauce and mascarpone cream onto a plate. Place smoked tenderloin next to roasted vegetables, haricots vert and a feuille de brik crisp. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fried basil, fried oregano and dill. Sprinkle with sea salt and paprika.

ingredients

For the mushroom aioli:

1 tablespoon porcini mushroom powder

1 ounce sherry vinegar

1 egg yolk

1 clove garlic, roasted, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon water

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 ounce extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the mustard sauce:

8 tablespoons mustard powder

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt to taste

For the mascarpone cream:

1/2 cup mascarpone

1 ounce heavy cream

Salt and white pepper to taste

For the smoked tenderloin:

1/2 pound pancetta

20 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 4 5-ounce portions

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the roasted vegetables:

1/4 cup olive oil

4 chef potatoes, sliced into wedges

4 beets, peeled

2 red onions, peeled and quartered

4 mushrooms, stems removed

1 green pepper, seeded and quartered

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Haricots vert, blanched and sauteed

Feuille de brik crisps*

Olive oil

Fried basil

Fried oregano

Dill sprigs

Sea salt

Paprika

*Available through Paris Gourmet at (800) PASTRY-1.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Saffron Risotto with Licorice Powder (Serves 4)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the risotto: In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add rice and saute for two minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add 1 cup of broth and simmer, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Add saffron and mix to combine. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, until all liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should be creamy, but the rice still slightly firm. Remove from heat; stir in butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Spoon the risotto on a serving plate. Sprinkle with licorice powder and drizzle plate with saffron oil.

ingredients

For the risotto:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

11 ounces carnaroli rice*

1/4 cup white wine

1 quart chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon saffron

2 ounces unsalted butter, cubed

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Salt to taste

For the garnish:

Licorice powder

Saffron oil

*Carnaroli rice is similar to arborio, but has a firmer grain. It originates in the towns of Novara and Vercelli in Northern Italy.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Yogurt Sandwiches with Cocoa, Mint Sorbet and Apricot Jelly (Serves 8)

MASSIMILIANO ALAJMO

directions

For the mint sorbet: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and set over an ice bath until cool. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Arrange eight 2-ounce glasses on a sheet pan. Transfer sorbet to glasses, filling each half way; set aside in the freezer.

For the apricot jelly: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the apricot juice and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add the agar agar, and simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set over an ice bath to cool slightly. Remove sorbet from the freezer and fill remaining half with apricot jelly; store in the freezer until needed.

For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine butter and sugar, mixing until incorporated. Add glucose, egg whites and salt. With the motor running, slowly add flour and mix until incorporated. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and dust with flour. Roll out to 1/8-inch thick and cut into 1X1-inch squares. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan, bake in oven until golden brown. Set aside.

For the yogurt sandwiches: Coat an 8-inch square mold with non-stick spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to the prepared mold and place in freezer until set. Unmold and slice into 1X1-inch squares. Sandwich each square of filling between two of the reserved cookies and set aside in the freezer.

For the cocoa: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, keeping warm.

For the raspberry sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

To serve: Remove the yogurt sandwiches and mint sorbet from freezer and stand at room temperature for two minutes. Stack four yogurt sandwiches and stab with a wooden skewer. Pour cocoa in a two-ounce serving glass and garnish with whipped cream. Garnish mint sorbet and apricot jelly with a mint leaf. Arrange the three items on the plate, drizzling with raspberry and chocolate sauces.

ingredients

For the mint sorbet:

1 3/4 cups water

4 ounces granulated sugar

1/2 bunch mint, stemmed

Juice of 1/4 lemon

For the apricot jelly:

10 ounces apricot juice

2 ounces water

2 teaspoons agar agar powder

For the cookies:

3 ounces unsalted butter, softened

3 ounces granulated sugar

1 tablespoon glucose

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon salt

7 ounces all-purpose flour

For the yogurt sandwiches:

13 1/2 ounces plain yogurt

4 ounces heavy cream

2 ounces granulated sugar

Reserved cookies

For the cocoa:

8 ounces water

8 ounces milk

3 ounces cocoa powder

6 ounces granulated sugar

For the raspberry sauce:

6 ounces raspberries

2 ounces water

4 ounces granulated sugar

For the garnish:

Wooden skewers

Whipped cream

Mint leaves

Chocolate sauce

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Prawns with Herb Vinaigrette (Serves 4)

ENRICO CEREA

directions

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, parsley and chives. Add oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season and set aside.

For the mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, lemon juice and vinegar. Add the oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Add Tabasco and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

For the prawns: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil prawns for three minutes. Remove from water and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Arrange prawns on a serving plate; drizzle with vinaigrette. Spoon mayonnaise into a small ramekin and serve with prawns.

ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 cup lemon juice

4 sprigs parsley, stemmed and chopped

1/4 bunch chives, chopped

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the mayonnaise:

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco[R]

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire

Salt and pepper to taste

For the prawns:

20 prawns

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Mixed Fried Seafood with Fresh Fruit (Serves 8)

ENRICO CEREA

directions

For the batter: In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and club soda. Add flour and salt, mixing gently to combine; set aside in the refrigerator.

For the seafood: Preheat deep fryer to 350 degrees. Dip all ingredients in batter and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Place a paper towel in the bottom of a deep serving bowl. Arrange pineapple leaves in the bowl and top with fried seafood, fruit and vegetables. Top with julienned potatoes and sweet potatoes. Garnish with eggplant skin and fried parsley.

ingredients

For the batter:

2 egg yolks, beaten

2 cups cold club soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

For the seafood:

1/2 pound calamari, cleaned and sliced

1/4 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined

2 lobster tails, boiled, shelled and sliced

3/4 pound crayfish

1/2 pound king crab legs

1/2 pound mussel meat

1/2 pound cuttlefish, cleaned and sliced

1/2 pound sole fillets

1/2 pound red mullet, butterflied

1 banana, peeled and sliced

1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and julienned

1 yellow pepper, seeded and julienned

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

2 zucchini, julienned

8 zucchini flowers

1 eggplant, peeled and seeded; reserve peel

Salt to taste

For the garnish:

Pineapple leaves

Fried julienned potatoes

Fried julienned sweet potatoes

Fried eggplant skin

Fried parsley

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Prosciutto-Wrapped Risotto (Serves 4)

ENRICO CEREA

directions

For the risotto: In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add rice and saute for two minutes. Deglaze with wine. Add 1 cup of stock and simmer, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Add remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, until all liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should be creamy, but the rice still slightly firm. Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper; set aside, keeping warm.

For the sauce: In a blender, combine mayonnaise, brandy, heavy cream lemon zest, and Worcestershire. Puree until smooth, season with salt and pepper; set aside.

To assemble: Line a bowl with plastic wrap. Lay prosciutto over the plastic, overlapping slightly to create a flat sheet. Layer with remaining prosciutto. Place risotto in the center of prosciutto and wrap to seal. Set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: On a plate, unmold prosciutto-wrapped risotto and slice. Spoon with sauce and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with parsley, chervil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with freshly ground pepper.

ingredients

For the risotto:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped

9 ounces carnaroli rice *

1 cup white wine

1 quart chicken stock

2 ounces unsalted butter

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

1 ounce mayonnaise

1 tablespoon brandy

1 ounce heavy cream

Zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire

Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble:

3/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced

For the garnish:

Olive oil

Chopped parsley

Chervil sprigs

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Freshly ground pepper

* Carnaroli rice is similar to arborio, but has a firmer grain. It originates in the towns of Novara and Vercelli in Northern Italy.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Tuna and Flatbread Salad (Serves 4)

ENRICO CEREA

directions

For the flatbread: Preheat deep fryer to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, baking powder and salt. With the motor running, add boiling water in a thin steady stream until incorporated. Add cold water in a thin steady stream until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface; knead until smooth. Cover dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into two equal pieces and roll into 8-inch flat circles. Fry circles until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan and set aside.

For the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the egg and cook until lightly scrambled. Transfer to a blender. With the motor running, add broth and olive oil in a thin steady stream until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

For the tomato oil: In a blender, combine the tomato, oil and Tabasco. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the salad: In a medium bowl, combine gingerroot, lime, orange and lemon juices. Add olive oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Place greens in a separate bowl; toss with tomato oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

To serve: Season tuna with salt and pepper; arrange on a plate with salad and flatbread. Drizzle with sauce and tomato oil. Garnish with scallions, dill and chervil.

ingredients

For the flatbread:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 cup boiling water

1/8 cup cold water

For the sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup vegetable broth, heated

Salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato oil:

1 tomato, blanched, skinned, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco[R]

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

1/2-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and grated

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup olive oil

1/2 pound baby mixed greens

Salt and pepper to taste

For the dish:

3/4 pound blue fin tuna, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Sliced scallions

Dill sprigs

Chervil sprigs

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Roasted Duck with Potatoes and Prunes (Serves 4)

SILVANA FERRARI

directions

For the duck: In a roasting pan over medium-high heat, heat butter. Add duck, season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Remove from heat; set aside, keeping warm.

For the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat butter. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add duck bones, rosemary and sage. Saute until bones are browned. Add Marsala wine, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return to the heat. In a bowl, combine the potato starch and stock. Add stock to the sauce and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, skimming as needed. Season; set aside, keeping warm.

For the potatoes and prunes: In a saucepan over low heat, heat butter. Add the pancetta and cook until tender. Add potatoes, onions and prunes. Saute until lightly browned. Season; set aside, keeping warm.

To finish the duck: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush duck with reserved sauce. Roast until desired doneness. Remove from oven; set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Arrange duck pieces on a plate with potato and prune mixture. Spoon with reserved sauce.

ingredients

For the duck:

1/4 cup clarified butter

2 ducks, split and deboned, legs and wings intact; bones reserved Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

1/4 cup clarified butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

Reserved duck bones

2 sprigs rosemary, stemmed and chopped

2 sprigs sage, stemmed and chopped

1 1/2 cups Marsala wine

1 tablespoon potato starch

1 1/2 cups duck stock

Salt and pepper to taste

For the potatoes and prunes:

1 tablespoon clarified butter

1/4 pound pancetta, julienned

16 new potatoes, turned and blanched

16 cipollini onions, peeled and blanched

10 pitted prunes, halved

Salt and pepper to taste

To finish the duck:

Reserved ducks

1/2 cup reserved sauce

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Marinated Eel with Mixed Greens (Serves 4)

SILVANA FERRARI

directions

For the eel: Prepare a hot grill. Season eel with salt and pepper. Grill for five minutes, turning once. Transfer to a flat work surface and roll into a tight spiral, securing with string; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, wine, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Place eel in vinegar mixture and simmer for two minutes. Transfer to refrigerator to marinate overnight. Remove; cut into one 1/2-inch slices; discard the string.

For the mixed greens: In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice and vinegar. Add oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Place the greens in a separate bowl; toss with dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

To serve: Serve salad in radicchio leaves with eel.

ingredients

For the eel:

1 pound eel fillets

2 cups white vinegar

1 quart white wine

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 sprig basil, stemmed and chopped

1 sprig oregano, stemmed and chopped

1 sprig thyme, stemmed and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

For the mixed greens:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pound mixed greens

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Radicchio leaves

Thinly sliced shallots

4 radishes, cut into flowers

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Pumpkin Ravioli with Pistachios (Serves 4)

SILVANA FERRARI

directions

For the pasta dough: In a medium bowl, mix bread flour, semolina and eggs until just combined. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap; rest in refrigerator for one hour.

For the pumpkin filling: Pass pumpkin through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving solids and discarding liquid. Transfer to a bowl; add the amaretti cookies, cheese, egg and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, mix to combine and set aside.

To finish the ravioli: Divide reserved pasta dough into three pieces. Roll each piece through a pasta machine, starting on the thickest setting and ending on the thinnest. Cut pasta sheets into 3 X 1 1/2-inch rectangles, and spoon one tablespoon of filling into each. Brush edges with egg wash, fold in half, and seal to close. Trim edges with a fluted pastry wheel. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Simmer ravioli until cooked. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove ravioli from water, drain, and add to the saute pan. Toss with butter to coat and season with salt.

To serve: Arrange ravioli on a plate, garnishing with pistachios and almonds.

ingredients

For the pasta dough:

10 ounces bread flour

5 ounces semolina flour

4 eggs

For the pumpkin filling:

1 pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, chopped and roasted

3 ounces amaretti cookies, crushed

3 ounces Grana Padano cheese, grated

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

To finish the ravioli:

Egg wash as needed

1/4 pound unsalted butter

Salt to taste

For the garnish:

Ground pistachios

Sliced and toasted almonds

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Blueberry Bundt Cake with Concord Grape Jelly (Serves 10)

SILVANA FERRARI

directions

For the bundt cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat a medium bundt pan with non-stick spray and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, four ounces of sugar and salt. Mix until incorporated. Add eggs, lemon zest, and Marsala wine, mixing to combine. In a separate bowl, combine yeast, milk and remaining sugar. Mix to combine and set aside until bubbles begin to form on the surface, about 15 minutes. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture and fold until incorporated. Add flour and mix to combine. Fold in blueberries. Transfer to bundt pan; set aside to proof until double in size. Sprinkle with coarse grain sugar; bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove and cool. Slice into 10 pieces and set aside.

For the almond cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and vanilla. Add butter and mix to combine. Fold in 6 ounces of almonds. Using a 1-ounce scoop, divide cookie mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds. Bake in oven until golden brown. Remove and transfer to a wire rack.

For the concord grape jelly: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the grapes and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return to the heat. Add cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Transfer into 10 3-ounce flexible dome molds. Refrigerate until set; unmold and slice.

For the mascarpone cream: In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks. Cook over a double boiler, whisking constantly until mixture thickens and lightens in color. In an electric mixer fitted with the wire whisk, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Fold whites into mascarpone mixture and refrigerate.

To serve: Arrange the almond cookies next to a slice of bundt cake with mascarpone cream and grape jelly garnished with champagne grapes.

ingredients

For the bundt cake:

5 ounces unsalted butter, softened

5 ounces powdered sugar, divided

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Zest from 1 lemon, grated

6 ounces Marsala wine

1/4 ounce active dry yeast

1/4 cup milk

10 ounces all-purpose flour

1/4 pound blueberries

1/4 pound granulated sugar

For the almond cookies:

9 ounces fine ground cornmeal

9 ounces all-purpose flour

9 ounces granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces unsalted butter, softened

9 ounces almonds

For the concord grape jelly:

8 pounds concord grapes, stemmed

1/2 cup water

4 teaspoons cornstarch

For the mascarpone cream:

9 ounces mascarpone

3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

5 eggs, separated

For the garnish:

Champagne grapes

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Tortellini in Capon Broth (Serves 6)

ROMANO TAMANI

directions

For the capon broth: In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer for three hours, skimming as needed. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, season, and set aside, keeping warm.

For the pasta dough: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and eggs until just combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

For the filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine bacon, sausage and beef. Saute until tender, add the onions; saute until translucent. Add cloves, rosemary, cinnamon, water and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for three hours. Remove from heat, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the egg and cheese and pulse until incorporated. Season and set aside.

To finish the tortellini: Divide the reserved pasta dough into three pieces. Roll each piece through a pasta machine, starting on the thickest setting and ending on the thinnest. Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares, spoon 1/2 tablespoon of filling into each square. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold into triangles. Holding the pasta point side up, pull the two lower corners together and press to secure. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and simmer until fully cooked, about one minute. Remove from water, drain, and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Spoon tortellini in a serving bowl. Ladle broth over the tortellini and garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

ingredients

For the capon broth:

1 whole capon*

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 1/2 gallons cold water

Salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta dough:

1 1/2 pounds all-purpose flour

6 eggs

For the filling:

7 ounces bacon, chopped

9 ounces sausage, chopped

3/4 pound ground beef

1 onion, peeled and chopped

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 sprigs rosemary, stemmed and chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups water

3 cups red wine

2 eggs

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Egg wash as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

* A capon is a young rooster bred to be particularly juicy and flavorful.

Note: The capon broth yields more than six servings.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

RELATED ARTICLE: Roasted Guinea Hen with Grapes and Pears (Serves 6)

ROMANO TAMANI

directions

For the pears: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice. Stir until completely dissolved. Add pears, remove from heat and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Transfer pears to saute pan, and brown lightly. Remove pears from pan, drizzle with mustard oil; set aside.

For the guinea hens: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saute pan, melt butter. Season the breasts with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Deglaze with lemon juice; add rosemary. Roast in the oven to desired doneness. Remove from oven and place over medium heat. Add sultana grapes and saute for one minute. Remove breasts from pan and set aside, keeping warm. Deglaze pan with orange juice and reduce until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season and set aside, keeping warm.

To serve: Slice a guinea hen breast and arrange it on a plate with the red and white grapes and pears. Spoon sauce over the guinea hen; garnish with pomegranate seeds and a rosemary sprig.

ingredients

For the pears:

1 1/2 pounds granulated sugar

Juice of 5 lemons

3 bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons mustard oil

For the guinea hens:

9 ounces unsalted butter, cubed

6 guinea hen breasts, bones removed

4 lemons, juiced

3 sprigs rosemary, stemmed and chopped

1/4 pound dried sultana grapes*

1 cup orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish:

12 red grapes, halved

12 white grapes, halved

Pomegranate seeds

Rosemary sprigs

* Available in health food markets.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Culinaire, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Art Culinaire
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Words:7649
Previous Article:Crab gate; The fall of an American icon: the waterman.
Next Article:2003. The Boba boom generation.
Topics:


Related Articles
Photography basics.
Candid Camera.
Candid Eye, & Lonely Boy Unit B: take one's interview with Wolf Koenig.
Staying fresh: what's cooking in the format biz? (Pre-Packaged Deals).
Webcam a great idea. (Letters).
Smile, you're on candid cell phone: with millions of cell-phone snapshots being beamed into cyberspace, are people's privacy rights at risk?
Security camera captures thieves.
FEI, ANDAF: bilateral conference on the CFO's changing role.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters