Red Meats of Italy – A selection – Part 1

Τρίτη, 16 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2008

All of a sudden, I decided to post some images of red meats and red meat dishes from Italy. I call this Part 1 as I expect there will be more in the future.

I start by stating that I am not a fan of red meat. In an average place I usually do not order red meat. I prefer to eat vegetables, or chicken, or even better, a nice sald with cheese!

But I am a fan of exceptional red meat and its by products, flavours and colours and juices.

And this is what I will try to post here, the red meat beyond, creations that take the primary material and tranform it to something that is and is not the original. Transformation and transfiguration.

All the items included in thepost are”classics”, ie they have been around for a lond time and are here to stay. No meteorites, no short-lived stars, only treats that cut across the years.

Culatello di Zimbello

Culatello di Zibello

I start with the Emperor of the Italian cured meats: Culatello di Zibello!

Storage Area

Storage Area

This is the storage area where Miriam Leonardi (owner of “Trattoria La Buca” in the small town of Zimbello) keeps her treasures.

Slicing machine

Slicing machine

When I saw this machine I thought that it only befits the marvelous culatello to have such a beauty for slicing it.

Salumi di Cremona

Salame artigianale tipico di Cremona

I tasted this beauty in “Caffe la Crepa”, in the small town of Isola Dovarese. It was juicy, almost sweet, and its texture allowed it to melt in the mouth. Apparently Cremona does not only produce the finest violins in the world! Soppressata
Soppressata

Soppressata

Dekicious “Soppressata” from the “il Latini” restaurant in Florence.
Filetto di maiale affumicato

Filetto di maiale affumicato

Smoked pork filet from “Locanda San Lorenzo”, in the small town of Puos d’Alpago, near Belluno, Veneto.
Lardo di colonnato con zucca

Lardo di Mora Romagnola con zucca

An excellent treat, from “Trattoria Amerigo dal 1934″ in the small town of Savigno, near Bologna. Lardo is transparent, sweet, and it melts in your mouth leaving a sense of olive oil! The zucca is the well know paumpkin, that here is grainy, tasty, and providdes support to the heavenly taste of the lardo!
Selection of antipasti

Selection of antipasti

 

A selection of antipasti from the “Vino e Camino” Ristorante in Bracciano, near Rome.

 

Steak Tartere di Vitello

Steak Tartare di Vitello

This tartare steak  comes from the wineshop of Pallatino in Roma. It is served without egg and the other regular trimmings. Just lemon, pecorino and light greens. The meat taste was clear, fresh and the firm texture of it made the pleasure complete. I was afraid that it would be a rather boring dish, given the absence of taste enhancing materials that accompany a Steak Tartar. I was wrong! Top quality veal does not need anything more than just some lemon to cut the protein surge, and a light cheese to provide a salty stimulus to the palate.

 

Display of meats in Dario Cecchini's Macelleria

Display of meats in Dario Cecchini's Macelleria

This is part of the diaply in Dario Cecchini’s Macelleria in the small town of Panzano, near Firenze.
Renaissance Salame

Renaissance Salame

Dario’s shop is full of surprises, including this one!

 

Ramerino in culo

Ramerino in culo

Marinated beef cubes (it could be called beef sushi) served with rosemary, from the restaurant of Dario Cecchini, Solociccia, although Dario does not call it a restaurant, but the home of a butcher!
Bolitti

Bolitti

A selection of boiled meats with vegetable and herb sauces, prepared by the team of Amerigo dal 1934.
Porcini e fegato di vitello

Porcini e fegato di vitello

A divine combination, porcini mushrooms with tender ultra sweet calf’s liver, from “dal Pescatore”, in the Park of River Oglio.
Fiocco di Manzo

Fiocco di Manzo

Roast beef from Dario Cecchini’s restaurant.
Roast Pork

Roast Pork

Roast pork from Dario Cecchini’s Antica Macelleria in Panzano.
Animelle co i funghi

Animelle co i funghi

 

Sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms offered by Osteria di San Cesario, near Rome.

 

Bistecca Fiornetina

Bistecca Fiornetina

Glorious juicy bistecca from “il Latini” in Firenze.
Capello da prete di manzo

Capello da prete di manzo

Cappello da prete di manzo al barbera e polenta gialla belgrano! This is the full name of the dish offered by “dal Pescatore”.

Psariston Seafood Tavern, Athens, Greece – Ψάριστον

Παρασκευή, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2008

I have started going to this tavern in 2004. It was colleagues from Thessaloniki who took me there, and started drinking tsipouro from the moment they sat down. Apparently the owner – chef is from the North and serves two types of tsipouro, with and without anise (Pimpinella anisum). But this is not about tsipouro, it is about seafood, so I better get down to it!

Over the four years that I visit the tavern regularly, it has evolved for the better and is now at a level that I can recommend it as one of the best seafood places in Athens, without any doubt.

Its name plays with two greek words, one being “psari” ie fish and the other “ariston” ie best. By combining the two words, the imaginative owners imply that they serve the best fish, “ps-ari-ston”, a word that does not exist in the greek dictionary. But this is not about language, it is about seafood, so I better get down to it!

Graffiti on the wall

Graffiti on the wall

The inside of the tavern is – on purpose – a kitsch assortment of above average proportions. In a strange way, you have the feeling you are on an island.

The inside

The inside

The “Psariston” salad is quite fresh and creative, as it has tomatoes, some feta cheese, olive oil, capers, parseley, balsamico and lightly marinated gavros.

Psariston Salad

Psariston Salad

The “married fava” dish is also very good, as it combines the “fava” with tomatoes, onions, ans capers.

"Married" Fava

The octopus dish that came next is another interesting combination: sliced grilled octopus, hot peppers, crushed feta cheese and fresh tomato cubes all in one!

Octopus with hot peppers and fresh tomatoes

Octopus with hot peppers and fresh tomatoes

The grilled “chtenia” came next, they were juicy and loaded with flavour! (I cannot translate their name.)

Grilled Chtenia

Grilled Chtenia

Finally, the medium sized grilled squid was tender and sweet. Perfect!

Grilled Squid

Grilled Squid

Practical Info. The tavern is right next to the AB Grocery Store opposite the Olympic Stadium on Kimis Avenue. It is better to call in advance so that they give you instructions, or even better, get a taxi, so that you can enjoy the good ouzo and wine served.

Psariston, Kalavriton 16, Neo Herakleio,

Limanaki Tavern, Neos Pyrgos, Evia, Greece

Κυριακή, 24 Αυγούστου, 2008

 

For those who want to capture the flavours of the Aegean, as fresh as you can get them, the “Limanaki” Tavern in Neos Pyrgos on the northern tip of Evia is the place to go.

The tavern is literally on the small harbour of fishing boats that venture out in the Aegean every day for a catch. The village of Neos Pyrgos is small and its big neighbour, Orei, has all the big fishing boats. Neos Pyrgos has the small ones, and this is why you can eat fish that has been literally hooked, and not caught in the nets.

Limanaki is the favourite place of the fishermen when they return in the morning. You can see them having “tsipouro” (the local grappa, or eau de vie) eight o’clock in the morning, while Nikos, the Limanaki proprietor prepares a nice meze for them.

Enough of all that, lets now get to the food.

In the summer, it is essential to start with ultra tender green beans, called “ambelofassoula”.

 

 Ambelofassoula
Ambelofassoula
Nikos will serve you the freshest squid grilled on charcoal. I cannot begin to describe the flavours.
 
 Squid grilled on charcoal

Squid grilled on charcoal

After that you can have prawns grilled to perfection, that I suggest you eat without taking the head off. Its full of flavours and deliciously crunchy.

   

  

 Prawns grilled on charcoal

Prawns grilled on charcoal

 What comes naturally next is whole fried little fish, called “atherina”.

 

 Atherina

Atherina

The grilled cod that comes to conclude the set has been caught on hook. The fish is sweet, the flesh is firm and has nothing on it but coarse salt. Just add a little olive oil and lemon and you have it.

 

 Grilled Cod
Grilled Cod

Osteria al Garanghelo, Venice

Σάββατο, 23 Αυγούστου, 2008

Osteria al Garanghelo

Osteria al Garanghelo

During my last visit to Venice I was lucky to discover “Osteria al Garanghelo” http://www.garanghelo.com/ita-index.htm and enjoyed eating and drinking there. The Osteria is located in the area of Castello, very near the Arsenale, on via Garibaldi.

In spite of the hords of tourists in Venice, the Osteria was also frequented by the locals, which right from the beginning was a very good sign. The sea breeze reaches the Osteria and you can enjoy your lunch or dinner al fresco.

One of the two brothers – owners is Simone, who suggested the dishes that follow.

Folpetti - Uova di Seppie

Folpetti - Uova di Seppie

This is a mixed dish of boiled folpetti (little octopi) and cuttlefish eggs. Delicious! But wait until you see the detail that follows.

 

 The "stuffed" folpetto
 
The “stuffed” folpetto

 Simone took the initative to serve one of the folpetti as it came out of the sea, taking out only the mouth and eyes. He explained to me this is how they eat it in his town on the island of Palestrina, near Venice. I had something similar in Palermo, Sicily, but the octopus was not that little! The Venetian folpetto was a miracle of tastes!

 

Frittura di pesce misto fresco

Frittura di pesce misto fresco

Simone then served the mixed fried seafood, which was perfectly prepared, everything was full of the aromas of the sea and even the squid was tender.

 

 

Kollias Seafood Tavern in Piraeus, Greece

Κυριακή, 3 Αυγούστου, 2008

Kollias is a tavern in a working class neighbourhood of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece.
 
It may be the best seafood tavern in Greece.
The Entrance Door

The Entrance Door

 
The owner has given the tavern its name, and quite deservedly so. He is always there, meeting the customers, cooking, serving, chatting. He is the heart, the mind, everything.
 
I visited the tavern on a Friday, when thousands of people were departing from the port of Piraeus for their summer holidays. The tavern was open, Kollias was there and so were the customers. The food I was going to taste required a rather strong drinki, so I opted for ouzo from the island of Chios, named “Apalarina”.

The first dish was “Asparagus of the Sea”. They come from the island of Lefkada. Incidentally, I saw some “greens of the sea” similar to them in the fish market in Venice, but do not recall how they are called in Italian.

 

Asparagus of the Sea

Asparagus of the Sea

The taste of sea prominent, crunchy and enjoyable.

He then served “Stuffed Mushrooms”. They had cheese, shrimps and clams with white wine. Quite tasty.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

When it came to the fish, the chef recommended “katsoules”, a fish very popular in Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf Islands. They are like flattened red mullets. They are very tasty and juicy, although they are considered to be a humble fish.

"Humble" Katsoules

"Humble" Katsoules

To wrap the meal up, the chef brought another “B” fish, from the sea lake of Messolonghi, called “stiradi”.

The fish was grilled in “butterfly” mode, as you can see in the picture. Lightly fatty, juicy, tasty, great choice!!!

"Butterfly" Stiradi

"Butterfly" Stiradi

Overall, if you ever visit Athens, grab a cab and go to Kollias. You will not regret it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers