Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata made in the USA – Colonnata Lard Focaccia

Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata made in the USA

My American son-in-law is an expert, avid, and very good baker of bread, pizza, and focaccia. So there is a family feast whenever he prepares one of them!

Lardo di Colonnata by Salumeria Italiana, Boston

I gave him as a present a piece of Lardo di Colonnata I bought online from Salumeria Italiana to allow him to experiment with this unique recipe for gourmet focaccia, not well known in the USA, delicious homemade focaccia, flavored with fresh rosemary needles and covered with thin slices of lardo di Colonnata IGP.

Focaccia with Lardo di Colonnata is simple focaccia but made particularly appetizing thanks to the use of a single main ingredient, Lardo di Colonnata which, is cut into thin slices and added to the hot focaccia, literally melts in the mouth giving emotions to the palate.

After he made the focaccia al lardo di Colonnata for the first time, my son-in-law pointed out that he would have preferred to have available a slicing machine instead of slicing the lardo with a knife. He is right, the lardo will melt better on the focaccia if it is sliced very thin. He is becoming an Italian Cuoco!

Lardo di Colonnata

Pieces of lardo di Colonnata to slice B. Gramulin CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most prized parts of the pig is pork fatback cut into rectangular slabs, rubbed with sea salt, and layered with black pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices. Aged from 6 months to a year in marble troughs rendering it a sweet, unctuous silky treasure. Typically served in paper-thin slices on hot grilled bread.

Cellar for Lardo di Colonnata – Frigorbox CC BY-SA 2.0

Lardo di Colonnata is produced in marble basins in which are placed, in alternate layers, the strips of pork lard and the salt with the aromas: pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, sage, and rosemary. The basins rubbed with garlic have special temperatures and humidity, so the finished product has unique characteristics. The full basin is covered, checked periodically, and then reopened about 6-10 months later when the seasoning is complete.

Lardo di Colonnata has a moist appearance, is white and slightly pinkish in color, and has a smooth and homogeneous consistency. It has a delicate and fresh flavor, almost sweet, finely savory if it comes from the buttocks area, enriched by the aromatic herbs and spices used in its processing and its fragrant aroma.

Its ideal use is natural, cut in thin slices. In the past, it was considered as a simple condiment or the “poor man’s” companion for quarry workers, given its high nutritional value. However, it can be tasted like a dish by itself or in other combinations, for example, with shellfishes.

This most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata, where lardo has been made since Roman times. Colonnata is a frazione of the larger city of Carrara, which is famous for its marble; Colonnata is itself a site where Carrara marble is quarried and, traditionally, lardo is cured for months in basins made of this marble. Lardo di Colonnata is now included in the Ark of Taste catalog of heritage foods and enjoying IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status since 2004. It is composed of over 90% lipids.

Lardo di Colonnata – OneArmedMan Pubblico dominio

INGREDIENTS FOR 6-8 PEOPLE

  • For the dough:
  • 300 g 00 flour, 300 g durum wheat semolina
  • 1 cube of brewer’s yeast
  • 3 dl of water
  • 60 g of oil
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 g salt.
  • For the dressing:
  • 10 slices of Colonnata lard
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder.
How Focaccia is served

How to make Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata

Chop the rosemary as finely as possible.
Mix the two flours in a bowl.
Pour them on the pastry board and form the classic fountain.
Make a small hole outside the fountain and put the salt in it (the so-called “salt house”) to not contact the yeast.
Pour the yeast diluted with a little warm water and the rosemary into the center of the fountain.
Pour the water little by little in small quantities, mixing everything with your hands until you obtain a soft and elastic dough.
Work it for about 10-15 minutes, beating it several times on the work surface.
Place the dough in a floured napkin and let it rest in a warm place, away from drafts, until it has doubled its volume.

It is possible to speed up the leavening time by placing the dough inside an oven heated at 100°C (212°F) but turned off or covering the dough with a woolen cloth.
When the dough is ready, roll it out to a maximum thickness of 1 cm on a baking sheet lightly greased with oil or on a sheet of baking paper greased with oil.
Crush the dough with your fingertips and drizzle with a bit of oil.
Leave the focaccia to rest for another 30 minutes.
Then bake at 200-220°C for about 30 minutes.
Remove the focaccia from the oven when it is perfectly golden.
If necessary, extend the cooking time.
When cooked, cover the hot focaccia with slices of Colonnata lard and, if desired, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chili powder.

Carmen and Aida supervise the making of the focaccia

Portions of text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bomba di zucchine ripiene – Stuffed zucchini bomb in the USA

Round stuffed zucchini in the USA by Siviadc

Use round zucchini

preparation 20 min
medium recipe

INGREDIENTS

4 round zucchinis
2 shallots
1 egg
80 g of breadcrumbs
extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper

How to make Bomba di zucchine ripiene – Stuffed zucchini bomb

Wash the zucchini, cut off the top and hollow them out, removing the pulp, which you will keep aside—Blanch the zucchini shells for 10 minutes.

In a frying pan, fry the shallot with a bit of oil, add the zucchini pulp, and cook for five minutes. Take it out and blend it.

In a bowl, mix the egg, breadcrumbs, zucchini flesh, and Salmon Cream Chef. Mix everything, season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, fill them with the filling made of pulp and cream, and season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil—Bake in a hot oven at 190°C for 25 minutes.

Serve your stuffed zucchini warm or lukewarm.

GIARDINIERA DELLA ZIA RINA/ZIA RINA GIARDINIERA in the USA

conserve di verdura – vegetable preserves

The peppers in the Giardiniera prepared in the USA by Silviadc

Zia Rina was the sister of my mother-in-law. She grew up and lived on a farm in Piedmont, in Northern Italy, where the harvests of the land, particularly the vegetable garden, were abundant during the summer season.

She used a traditional recipe to preserve the summer crops for consumption during the hard and cold winter.

The farm in Piedmont –Paolo Monti  CC BY-SA 4.0

Ingredients

  • 300 Grams green beans
  • 300 Grams carrots
  • 300 Grams celery
  • 3 Peppers
  • 3 Small flat onions
  • 150 Grams of olive oil
  • 150 Grams of sugar
  • Salt 3 Quarts vinegar

How to make ZIA RINA GIARDINIERA

  1. Boil the green beans, carrots, and celery in vinegar for half an hour.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil for 10 minutes all together.

How to do it in the USA

You should buy the vegetables at a Farmer’s Market; unless you have your vegetable garden where you grow the vegetables, they are usually much better than the ones you can find at a supermarket.

Use a Stainless Steel Canning Funnel like this one from webstaurantstore.com to put it in the can.

ITALIANO

Zia Rina era la sorella di mia suocera. È cresciuta e ha vissuto in una fattoria in Piemonte, nel Nord Italia, dove i raccolti della terra, in particolare l’orto, erano abbondanti nella stagione estiva.

Usava una ricetta tradizionale per conservare i raccolti estivi per il consumo durante la fredda stagione invernale.

Ingredienti

  • 300 Grammi Fagiolini
  • 300 Grammi Carote
  • 300 Grammi Sedano
  • 3 Peperoni
  • 3 Cipolline piatte
  • 150 Grammi olio
  • 150 Grammi zucchero
  • Sale 3 Quarti d’aceto

Come preparare la GIARDINIERA DELLA ZIA RINA

  1. Fare bollire con l’aceto I fagiolini, carote e sedano per mezzora.
  2. Aggiungi il resto e far bollire per dieci minuti tutto insieme.

Come farlo negli USA

Comprate le verdure in un Farmer’s Market nel caso in cui non abbiate il vostro orto dove coltivate le verdure. Di solito sono molto migliori di quelle che potete trovare nel locale supermercato.

A cheese lunch in the USA

You can have an elementary and enjoyable lunch with just cheese, accompanied by a salad – maybe endive.

It’s a refreshing summer lunch that you can prepare in no time; buy the cheese in advance.

As you can see from the picture, one of the cheeses I used has been goat cheese, which requires olive oil; I used the Vicopisano Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2020/2021 harvest, which is robust and powerful; it complements very well the goat cheese flavor. Gustiamo.com sells it online in North America.

I used the same oil for the endive and tomatoes salad. Again, it gives you excellent results.

Indivia e Pomodori – Endive and Tomatoes in the USA

Indivia e Pomodori – Endive and Tomatoes – Enrico

Ingredients

  • Endive
  • tomatoes
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil.
  • (And a good wine on the side).
  • I used an EXTREMELY GOOD olive oil Vicopisano Extra Virgin Olive Oil: unbelievable, you have to taste it!
  • You can use also your usual extra virgin olive oil from other stores, it’s GOD, but not EXTREMELY GOOD👍

How to make Indivia e Pomodori

Slice the endive into pieces
Mix in a bowl
Flavor with salt, lemon juice, and olive oil

NOTE

The quality of the oil makes a real difference in the taste of this simple dish.

Indivia Belga in padella – Pan-fried Belgian endive in the USA

Indivia Belga in padella – Enrico

If you’re looking for a quick and easy vegetable side dish, pan-seared endive is the perfect dish. Flavorful and light, with a slightly bitter aftertaste, this stewed endive is a simple yet tasty side dish that pairs perfectly with main meat courses or a cheeseboard or can be eaten alone.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized heads of Belgian endive
  • 100 g shredded mozzarella
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

How to make Pan-fried Belgian endive – Indivia Belga in padella

Cut the heads of Belgian endive in half for the long side.

Pan fry with the extra virgin olive oil

As soon as the endive turns color, add the mozzarella and cover with a lid.

Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods – Made in the USA

The final result os Fritto Misto made in the USA – Silviadc.

Many fish varieties usually included in a typical Italian Fritto Misto, especially shellfish, are not readily available in the USA. However, you can have a fritto misto without these ingredients. The images below illustrate the preparation of such a stir fry Fritto Misto made in Washington DC.

Zucchini blossoms from the Farmer’s market – Silviadc.

Ingredients

  • 6 zucchini blossoms
  • zucchini
  • calamari
  • eggplants
  • flour
  • milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
Calamari cleaned, ready to be fried- Silviadc.

How to make Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods – Made in the USA

Cut zucchini and eggplant into thick strips. Keep the zucchini blossoms and mushroom caps whole. Dip each piece into the beaten eggs, pat the food to get rid of excess flour, and set aside.

Zucchini blossoms are frying – Siviadc.

Fry each of the food separately, as they require different cooking times. When golden brown on both sides, remove from frying pan and place on paper towels.

For calamari and squid, use just flour.

How to make the Fried Zucchini Flowers

Mix the flour with two spoons of oil, white wine, egg yolk, salt, and pepper.

Add as much lukewarm water as needed to make a smooth batter that is not too thick. set aside to rest for half an hour. Meanwhile, clean the flowers, remove the pistil and stems. Whip the egg white and gently incorporate it into the batter. Dip the flowers in the batter, drain them and fry them in a large frying pan with plenty of hot oil. With the help of the perforated paddle, remove the fried flowers, dry them on absorbent paper, salt and serve immediately.

When all the frying is finished, arrange the various pieces of food on a serving platter. Salt to taste. Serve very hot.

Speed is of utmost importance in a fritto misto, and the amount will vary according to the number of people to be served. A good rule of thumb is always to use one piece of each kind of food for each person. Remember, for speed’s sake; you can also limit the types of food to include in fritto misto. The recipe can also vary according to seasonal food availability.

Leave Ben The Cat sleeping in the bedroom: he can be dangerous in the kitchen!

Insalata di tonno – Tuna salad

Ingredients

  • Canned Tuna – the best you can find and afford
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Green salad
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet onions
  • Boiled eggs
  • Boiled string beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Extra virgin Olive oil

How to make Insalata di tonno – Tuna salad

Put all the ingredients on a serving plate, add the tuna at the end, and sprinkle with the olive oil.

Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) – OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP) Pubblico Dominio

What tuna should you use, and why?

The tuna is the main ingredient and the centerpiece of this dish.

Choose the best tuna you can afford. As you can see from the picture, I choose “Ventresca di Tonno Rosso” by the Sicilian fishery Tre Torri.

Ben The Cat is stealing my milk!

PLEASE: don’t even consider using tuna in water. As a minimum, it should be tuna in olive oil! Tuna in water is for Ben The Cat!

Ventresca di Tonno Rosso is the belly of the fish – known in Japan as toro. The fattiest cut has a creamy, velvety texture and minimal, typical canned tuna, with its dry, chalky texture and bland taste. The exquisite Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna or Tonno Rosso is full of fresh flavor and can be enjoyed right out of the can with a squeeze of lemon.

These Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna are never frozen. Instead, the entire production is done by hand; when the tuna arrives, it is butchered, and the cuts are selected and separated for ventresca, tarantello, and trancio. Then, it is boiled in small batches, cooled, and canned using local Sicilian olive oil and sea salt from Trapani.

Based in Erice, Conservificio Tre Torri continues to prepare tuna with artisanal methods generations old. Tre Torri produces a minimal quantity of canned tuna – about 88,000 pounds a year – which is the amount some industrial plants process in one day. Producing this way is very expensive, and the price of Tre Torri Tuna reflects the actual cost of this Mediterranean delicacy. Nevertheless, it is a Bluefin Tuna you can genuinely feel good about enjoying.

Their Bluefin Tuna is made by a minimal canning facility on the Sicilian west coast in Trapani. The company has been there for 60 years, and it is owned by Vito Torre, whose father was a fisherman and used to sell his fish in the open market of Trapani. Vito Torre tells me that his Tuna are caught off the coast of Sicily by small fishing boats that use methods passed along from the Arabs. Vito buys very few Tuna every year, and he processes them (steaming, salting, packing) only by hand. Vito’s production is minimal. He produces just a few hundred cans of 300 gr (10 oz) every year. The way they catch the fish is costly. The production process is all done by hand.

What about the price of this tuna? Is it worth it?

Yes, Ventresca di Tonno Rosso by the fishery Tre Torri IS expensive. BUT it would be best if you considered the cost of a lunch or dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant, where you would pay more for the same or similar tuna served as sushi or sashimi.

With one can of “Ventresca di Tonno Rosso” by the fishery Tre Torri in Sicily, you can prepare three generous servings of Insalata di tonno – Tuna salad. After all, you end up saving money compared to going to a Japanese restaurant!

Gustiamo.com sells online Ventresca di Tonno Rosso in North America.

A variation: Radicchio Rosso with tuna

A version with radicchio, eggs, potatoes, and mozzarella

Ingredients

  • Radicchio Rosso
  • Mozzarella di bufala
  • Boiled eggs
  • Tomatoes
  • Boiled small potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tna in extra virgin olive oil

How to make Radicchio Rosso with Tuna

Boil the small potatoes and cut them in half
Do the same with the boiled eggs
Cut the mozzarella into small pieces
Cut the tomatoes into slices
Cut the Radicchio Rosso into fine pieces

Mixin a bowl and season with extra virgin olive oil
Serve to add the tuna to the diners’ plates

Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes in the USA

A serving of Mozzarella and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella di Bufala della Campania
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

How to make Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes

The preparation is effortless, easy, and straightforward.

Slice the tomatoes into thick slices.

Put them on a plate, with a slice of mozzarella di bufala on top.

Dress with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

The shape of the tomatoes from the Farmer’s market can be irregular: it’s how they taste that counts!

What do you need to make a perfect Pomodori e mozzarella

  • 1 – the tomatoes are better if they come from the farmer’s market. The tomatoes available in most USA supermarkets have been grown for their look, not for how they taste.
  • 2 – make sure that the mozzarella di bufala comes from the Campania region of Italy: there is a sale of mozzarella produced in the South American Andes in many supermarkets. While it’s not bad at all, it’s not the same. You cannot compare the two. For example, three supermarket chains sell South American buffalo mozzarella in the DC area where I live. Only one specialty store (that I am aware of) sells the real Buffalo mozzarella from Campania: Rodman’s.
  • 3 – Use ONLY extra virgin olive oil. The quality of the oil is paramount to the success of this simple dish. The better is the oil, the better the dish. As you can see from the picture, I used “Antichi Uliveti del Prato,” a specialty extra virgin olive oil produced in Sardinia by a small farm. It is available in North America online from Gustiamo.com. Its exquisite taste enhances the dish, but any excellent extra virgin olive oil would be acceptable.
Campaia Bufalo – Stephen Sommerhalter CC BY 3.0

Mozzarella di bufala della Campania : Why?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala; Neapolitan: muzzarella ‘e vufera) is made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. It is a dairy product traditionally manufactured in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno.

The term mozzarella derives from the procedure called mozzare, which means “cutting by hand,” separating from the curd, and serving in individual pieces, that is, the process of separating the curd into small balls. It is appreciated for its versatility and elastic texture and is often called “the queen of the Mediterranean cuisine,” “white gold,” or “the pearl of the table.”

The buffalo mozzarella sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana has been granted the status of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC – “Controlled designation of origin”) since 1993. Since 1996 it is also protected under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin or DOP Denominazione di Origine Protetta scheme. The protected origin’s appellation requires that it may only be produced with a traditional recipe in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia, and Molise.

Mozzarella di Bufala della Campania – Popo le Chien CC BY-SA 3.0

History in Italy

The history of water buffalo in Italy is not settled. One theory is that Asian water buffalo were brought to Italy by Goths during the migrations of the early medieval period. However, according to the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the “most likely hypothesis” is that Normans introduced them from Sicily in 1000 and that Arabs had introduced them into Sicily. The Consorzio per la Tutela also refers to fossil evidence (the prehistoric European Water Buffalo, Bubalus murrensis) suggesting water buffalo may have originated in Italy. A fourth theory is that water buffalo were brought from Mesopotamia into the Near East by Arabs and then introduced into Europe by pilgrims and returning crusaders.

“In ancient times, the buffalo was a familiar sight in the countryside, since it was widely used as a draught animal in plowing compact and watery terrains, both because of its strength and the size of its hooves, which do not sink too deeply into moist soils.”

References to cheese products made from water buffalo milk appeared for the first time at the beginning of the twelfth century. Buffalo mozzarella became widespread throughout the south of Italy from the second half of the eighteenth century, before which it had been produced only in small quantities.

Production in and around Naples was briefly interrupted during World War II when retreating German troops slaughtered the area’s water buffalo herds. They recommenced a few years after the armistice was signed.

Intingolo per Polenta – Polenta Dip

Polenta and Intingolo prepared by my daughter

Ingredients

  • Ribs
  • bouillon cube
  • Peeled tomatoes
  • sage
  • 2 minced types of meat
  • oil
  • onion
  • dried mushrooms
  • 2 carrots
  • garlic
  • 2 celery
  • sausage
  • wine (white or red)

How to prepare the intingolo

  1. Fry the vegetables
  2. Put the meat in until it changes color
  3. One glass of wine and let it evaporate
  4. One glass of water, crushed, peeled tomatoes, and stock cube

How to serve the intingolo

We serve the intingolo on top of a polenta serving,

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