Tag: batata

Batata, the American potato from Salento – Italian Cuisine

Batata, the American potato from Salento

Try asking a Salento what it means roasted potatoes in front of the fire as a dessert on long winter evenings

In Salento there is a potato that is different from all the others. It is the sweet potato, pink outside, orange inside and with the flavor and texture of pumpkin. In short, a special product, with which you can really do everything, even the first beer with potatoes that has ever been made in Italy.

Short presentation of the sweet potato

Like almost all potatoes, sweet potato also has origins American. It has been grown in Salento for years, particularly in the municipalities of Salento Greece such as Calimera, Sternatia, Corigliano, but also Surbo, Trepuzzi or Frigole, where in the summer they hold a festival in his honor. In short, the sweet potato has fully entered the territory products, so much so that every country claims to belong to it. After all, how to blame them, given its countless uniqueness, such as color: pink outside and inside with different shades ranging fromOrange to yellow, depending on the variety, which have increased over time as a result of crossings and grafts. Then the flavor and consistency: with closed eyes it is easily confused with pumpkin, such is the similarity; it is not by chance that it is also called sugar potato. For all these characteristics, the Salento sweet potato has great versatility in the kitchen, even (and above all) starting from breakfast.

The sweet potato in the kitchen

Batata is present in the kitchen all year round, but is consumed mostly in autumn and winter, especially during the Christmas period. For the people of Salento it is linked more than anything else to a moment: the one that has passed in front of the fire to roast baby potatoes in aluminum foil, to be consumed both as a meal and as a dessert; the same ones that you can also eat for breakfast, perfect with bread and jam. In this regard, another use of the yam is in the jams, also as a basic ingredient for the preparation of many desserts. Alternatively, it also lends itself to more classic recipes, such as the mashed potato of sweet potato, cooking al sauce of tomato or, again, the timeless batatina fried: in this case the important thing is to cut it thick (keeping the peel) and then cover it with salt or sugar depending on the note you want to accentuate. But it's actually great on its own too, because the sweet potato doesn't need anything. In America, on the other hand, it seems to be very common in the stuffing of turkey during the Thanksgiving holiday. And finally, there are also those who had the brilliant intuition to make the most of it by making us the first potato beer that has ever been produced in Italy. It is Francesco Caprioli, one of the most passionate and expert on beer in Puglia.

From celiac disease to the idea of ​​a beer with potatoes

Francesco Caprioli, a native of Brindisi, has lived for years in Lecce where he works as a computer scientist and produces beer for passion. It all began more than 20 years ago, when fermentation kits were in fashion and Francesco started organizing home brewing contests with colleagues. From there a series of right encounters. First with Luigi Serpe, then brewer of the Maltovivo brewery with whom they gave life to Noscia, one of the first American Pale Ple in Italy. Then with Bruno Petrosillo, with whom he founded the Birsiòp di Lecce, the first beer shop in Salento and the only shop in Puglia specializing in craft beers, including Birra Salento. Then it was time for the Slow (e) Motion project which attracted the interest of Teo Musso, with whom three beers produced in the Baladin brewery (Beggia, Pizzica and Taranta) were born. In 2009 Francesco founded together with Roy Paci I Birrogastrofonici, an itinerant sensory laboratory, with the aim of making cooking and sound interact in a neosyncretic way. But it doesn't stop there. Francesco, being celiac, he had always had a fixed thought: to produce a beer with the lowest possible gluten content. So, after the best millet beer, the idea of ​​a potato with potatoes was born and the consequent collaboration with microbrewery of the Masseria Ospitale, the right place for those who love to research and experiment in small quantities in this field.

Like Batata Juice, the first beer with potatoes produced in Italy

The idea was born one day while Francesco is cooking the potatoes in the oven. During cooking, he smells aromas similar to those of malt and senses that it could be a product that is right for him, ideal for his purposes. "In fact, the potato favors the abatement, and not the zeroing, of gluten". Thus begins a series of experiments, first treating it as a raw cereal, then completely changing the method, up to the (secret) one that gave birth to the Batata Juice of the Masseria Ospitale, produced only with organic ingredients at the Gruit brewery in Brindisi (under the supervision of the master brewer Carlo Ancona) and released for the first time in full lockdown, in April 2020. "I think no one has thought of it before because it is extremely difficult to produce a beer with potatoes. This is why we want our recipe to remain secret, because to get to our goal there was really a very long job behind it ". The success, however, was immediate: a balanced, fresh, light beer with a dry cut, where the potato is recognizable, but not too much, and above all only for those who already know it. In short, a beer that does not fear combinations and that for this reason has also thrilled the great expert Maurizio Maestrelli: «In autumn, when I was a kid and the television was black and white for only two channels and certainly not for 24 hours, I used to eat sweet potatoes and drink wine must, which was very good as long as you didn't overdo it. Now Francesco brings me this creation of his, the Batata Juice, which contains precisely those potatoes that we called “American”. Removed the saudade effect and a certain reluctance as an elderly drinker, I can say that I was really impressed. The scent reminds me of the tuber in question and the sweet tendency is quite evident, but the saison yeast with its typical spiciness and that gentle peppery touch, avoids any crush. Finally, the word juice must not mislead because it is beer, and not fruit juice. In two words: liked it very much! .

Meanwhile, at the microbrewery of Masseria Ospitale, together with Oronzo Trio, experiments continue with other beers, such as the one with a symbol of Salento present everywhere, namely the prickly pear, always with a view to making the most of all that the Salento area offers. And that is no small feat, indeed: we are only at the beginning.

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Batata toast for breakfast – Italian Cuisine

Batata toast for breakfast

To start the day in a healthy and tasty way, here is an exotic alternative to sandwich bread, to be combined with sweet or savory ingredients

The sweet potatoes they have become a very fashionable food among sportsmen, health-conscious and anyone who is constantly looking for food news. With orange or white paste, this tuber that does not belong to the same family as traditional potatoes, has really recommendable characteristics for a healthy diet: a skin rich in fiber, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins A, C and B6. Try i batata toast it then becomes a must, both for the throat and for health.

How to make batata toast

Prepare this delicious dish, also suitable for those who follow a diet gluten free, it's very easy. just wash sweet potatoes very well and cut them to slices about 3-5 mm high lengthwise, without peeling them. You can then decide whether to cook batata toast in the classic toaster, thus obtaining even darker stripes on the slice of sweet potato, or in an oven already hot at 220-250 degrees. In both cases it will take a few minutes, but check the cooking that varies from the thickness of the tuber to the power of the oven or toaster. Once cooked, fill your batata toast with sweet or savory ingredients.

Avocado & batata toast

L'avocado toast it was one of the trendiest dishes of 2016, photographed and shared on social networks, by stars and VIPs in the first place. The slices of toast are stuffed with slices of ripe avocado or crushed avocado pulp and then, the sweet tooth, add other ingredients to taste in the filling: poached or fried egg, bacon, salmon, cheese and even strawberries, honey and cinnamon. If you want to be keeping up with the latest food trends, substituted slices of toasted sweet potato with bread, for a snack as healthy as it is exotic.

How to stuff batata toast

To stuff batata toast you can go on the classic: butter and jam or hazelnut cream they never disappoint and also go well with sweet potato. To prepare gods perfect sandwiches to post on Instagraminstead you can opt for peanut butter and blueberries; goat cheese, honey and walnuts; hummus or guacamole. But the is also very good tahina, a Middle Eastern sesame cream, as well as the paired honey and cinnamon or mustard and salmon, both highly appreciated on social networks. Those who have in mind to delight their palate with particular combinations without paying too much attention to the popularity of their creations will opt for peanut butter and banana slices; extra virgin coconut oil and almonds; cheese, chocolate chips and cocoa beans or apple and raisin slices.

photo credits: thisishowimomdotcom / Instragram

La batata di Caraglio – Italian Cuisine – Italian Cuisine

La batata di Caraglio - Italian Cuisine

In more and more Italian regions we are witnessing a radical change in crops, with interesting experiments. From Southern Italy, Calabria and Sicily, products such as avocados and some rare experiments such as pineapple arrive. In Piedmont, and exactly in the Lower Grana Valley, sweet batata has been cultivated for about 10 years

The president of the Aglio di Caraglio consortium Lucio Alciati told us how the idea of ​​the cultivation of the batata, originating in Central and South America, was born in the Piedmont area.

Why the batata

At the base of everything there is the awareness of having to diversify agriculture following the emerging needs of consumers, increasingly sensitive to physical well-being, but also to sustainability, with the search for products with low environmental impact, and therefore the need to avoid long journeys from production sites; and then the opportunity to communicate vis-à-vis with producers and provide the right economic support to local companies. In practice, the choice to be glocal.

The research led to the batata because many health-giving qualities are recognized (an Italian study by the CNR of Padua exists), in which the presence of a molecule called Cajapo has been detected, which seems to be able to control basal blood sugar. It is also rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins and has a great antioxidant and antiaging power. Not everyone knows, then, that it is a rizotubero and which is very versatile in the kitchen: the batata can be used both for savory recipes (like potatoes, but more dietetic), and sweet. In addition, it does not contain the toxic Solanine present in potatoes, so it can be eaten raw and can also be stored in a bright room without the risk of greening classic potatoes.
From a historical research, it was found that attempts to cultivate the batata had already been made at the beginning of the twentieth century, at the Turin Botanical Garden. But the more extensive and easier cultivation of the potato did not make the batata take off.
This brings us to 2010, in Caraglio, with the first attempts to cultivate the batata made to understand its environmental adaptation and encounter any difficulties.

The sweet batata of Caraglio

The extremely positive peculiarity of the sweet batata di Caraglio is that it is less sweet than the batata grown in the countries of origin, as well as having a more sweet and delicate taste, due to the characteristics of the territory located at the foot of the Alps. it is expressed very well by savoring it raw (Lucio Alciati recommends trying the julienne-style batata di Caraglio, seasoned with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil).

In 2017, some Caragliese farmers were involved to verify the different territorial situations, which were found suitable for cultivation.
From there the project was born Batata Good: the sweet batata of Caraglio for the development, promotion and enhancement of the cultivation of batata in the mild lands of the lower Valle Grana which, to date, has nine producers, three of which are organic (the other six follow the same method, although not certified ).

The growers, in addition to producing the batata, have also created captivating compotes with vanilla and cinnamon, tasty vacuum-packed preparations for soups, pastes, minestrone, cakes. A small oven produces fragrant biscuits with Caraglio's sweet batata, an agripanetteria prepares delicious croissants filled with batata compote. A Facebook page dedicated to Batata Good and transformation trials will soon be launched with the ITS Agroalimentare Piemonte Foundation.

The sale takes place through shops, farmers markets and sector events. Local consumers have given a positive response to this product and its derivatives and are studying gastronomic events related to the culinary promotion of batata di Caraglio, throughout 2020. The only regret is the fact that many local chefs do not know the batata and its multiple features, its versatility in the kitchen.

A small list of activities that use and transform the sweet batata of Caraglio

Agri panetteria Valgrana (Daniele Giorgis and Franzi Lucia) typical baked products with historic Valle flour; croissants filled with batata compote.
The Atelier de Tartes; Mondovì district, in Cuneo; batata pie.
Milone Bakery Pastry; Caraglio; batata biscuits.
Lerda Diego farm; Caraglio; prepared for vacuum-packed soups with batate, batata cake, batata jelly, vanilla batata compote.
Bio Ceaglio Giuliana farm in Serra Debora; Bernezzo; organic cinnamon batata compote.
Gelapajo restaurant in Vallera; Caraglio; produces a delicate ice cream with Caraglio batata.

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