Give it a try with these vibrant pea pancakes and a simple method to smoke whitefish or swap in your favourite purchased smoked fish for an easy shortcut. Although you can bake the package for longer to achieve a firm egg, that moment where you cut through the crispy shell and the runny yolk oozes out is part of the impressive nature of this recipe. Crunchy with a fried coating and creamy with buffalo mozzarella, salty fresh anchovies and prosciutto, even avowed anchovy haters will want to give this recipe a try.
Pan seared to a crunchy finish and with a fluffy interior, this recipe will be a new family favourite. This recipe instead uses anchovy, Parmigiano Reggiano and colatura di alici, an Italian fish sauce made from fermented anchovies. The nut and herb mixture packs a double punch, tossed into the dish while cooking and sprinkled on top as a garnish.
Start Over. More Galleries. What's going on? Why is garlic deemed so "Italian" outside of Italy, but less so in Italy? One theory holds that Italian immigrants to North America were so poor that garlic was all they had to scent their meagre bowls of polenta or cover over the poor flavour of low-quality meat. But if garlic was a last-ditch ingredient, why did Italian immigrants keep using it in the land of riches while their cousins in Italy toned it down?
Another theory holds that garlic is more popular in the south of Italy, and since the bulk of Italian emigration came from the south, the Italian diaspora created a sort of "Italian" garlic distortion field. This, too, sounds plausible. Until you visit southern Italy, that is.
Zucchine a ‘Scapece’: marinated courgettes with mint and garlic
Tilde Vecchio, who operates an agriturismo in Campagnia called Iscairia — and who all but adopted me when I visited her for the first time in — collects and preserves traditional local recipes. Vecchio's attitude toward garlic is identical to Paganelli and Hazan. When I run recipes past her by e-mail, her advice, as often as not, is "not so much garlic. On a recent trip to Italy, I developed my own theory. During a five-day tour of Veneto, the land whose gifts to the world include Prosecco and Amarone, I ate lunch at a castle overlooking a valley crosshatched with vineyards.
As the waiter approached with a plate of grilled zucchini and eggplant, I winced. Then I started eating said vegetables and found it impossible to stop. I went on a similar Cookie Monster-style binge the previous night with spinach, a vegetable I've never been fond of.
I asked the waiter for the recipe. His response: olive oil and salt. Strange, I thought. For years I'd been bombarding my grilled vegetables with garlic and herbs. Eager to replicate the dish at home, I bought a bottle of olive oil in the nearby town of Treviso and, when I got home, followed the waiter's instructions. It could be, of course, that I was "overcome" by my surroundings in Italy — the castle and the view of the valley all conspired to make the lunch taste better than it actually was.
Maybe my sea salt isn't up to the standard of salt they use in Italy. Perhaps the waiter was lying? But I think the difference between my grilled vegetables and the ones in Italy comes down to something else. In Marcella Says , Hazan cautioned that flavour cannot be "replaced" with spices or garlic. Vecchio told me almost exactly the same thing by e-mail.
How to make the perfect eggplant dish
In the kitchen, meat and vegetables are the "predominant" flavours, she said. But perhaps the best clue in the Italian garlic mystery comes from Gabriele Paganelli, the Italian who moved to Canada.
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Paganelli is well-known for his superb charcuterie — pancetta, soppressata and coppa. If you ask him why his salumi tastes so good, he won't tell you it's the recipe. He'll tell you it's because of the to month-old pigs he orders specially from a Mennonite farmer. Commodity pork, which comes from five-month-old, soybean- and corn-munching machines, "has no flavour," Paganelli says. All these chefs are united in their emphasis on the flavour of what they're cooking, not what they're adding. And that, it seems, is what separates "Italian" cuisine from the real thing.
The ingredients taste different there. Paganelli only uses Japanese eggplant at his Bolton, Ont.follow site
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But anything less is unacceptable. In other words, the reason Italian chefs' recipes don't lean on garlic as a crutch is because their ingredients taste better to begin with. They possess what Hazan calls "true" flavour. All of which hit me during my failed grilled zucchini and eggplant episode. Mark Schatzker's next book, The Dorito Effect, investigates the connection between flavour and nutrition.
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The Getting of Garlic
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