Tag: find

Wild garlic: what it is and where to find the treasure of the woods – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

Wild version of common garlic, wild garlic has always been present in our woods but only recently has its great value in the kitchen been disappearing. Also because until a few years ago only the natives knew how to distinguish it from other similar (and poisonous) varieties, they kept it in family recipes and followed its seasonality. The great chefs have cleared it, breaking down the old taboos of bon ton that fear its smell.

Wild garlic: the 100% edible “wild” version

Wild garlic is the wild cousin of common garlic, a spontaneous and perennial medicinal plant. It belongs to the same family as the tulip and grows almost everywhere without major demands: in the woods, along ditches and near rivers. It seems to have taken its name from the enjoyable habit of bears to stock up on them to recover the energy lost when waking up from hibernation (or so the popular legend says). It has antibiotic and antifungal properties and is rich in vitamins and minerals. This tenacious plant is totally edible, so much so that it can be considered a “vegetable” version of pork, nothing of which is thrown away. Most importantly, from the bulb to the stem and up to the leaves it has a strong taste, but less persistent than classic garlic.

Dangerous similarities

We are all passionate about foraging, or perhaps we would like to, but we must remember that the pitfalls, as with mushrooms, are just around the corner when it comes to collecting wild herbs. In fact, wild garlic is very similar to other species that are highly poisonous if ingested, i.e. thrush and colchicum. Our senses can help us recognize it even when it is not in flower but it is better to contact a local person and an expert botanist or agronomist who can check the spoils. So let’s not get carried away by enthusiasm and leave the wild plants where they are, admiring and smelling them: there is a much safer way to enjoy all the properties of wild garlic. Let’s grow it on the balcony.

The wild garlic flower.

On the terrace it is a guarantee

We can grow wild garlic in our homes starting from seeds, seedlings and bulbs. In the first case we can find the seeds in specialized shops, but in this case we will have to wait at least two years to have something to bite into. It is therefore better to opt for bulbs to be buried in autumn in groups of three as is done for garlic and onion, or the seedling that can be transplanted directly into a pot in spring. The leaves can be picked and used all year round, watering them to avoid stagnation. Wild garlic is perfect for “black thumbs” (who would be better off just buying plastic flowers) and for shaded balconies, the nightmare of lovers of metropolitan gardening.

Region you go, salami you find – Italian Cuisine

Region you go, salami you find

From the Alps to the Mediterranean, there is (almost) no area in Italy that does not have its typical salami, often known only locally, and usually made with centuries-old recipes (and each producer jealously preserves its own). Typically, those characteristic of northern Italy are sweet and flavored only with pepper and garlic (or they are not at all) while those typical of the south are much tastier and more aromatic, because other ingredients are often used, from chilli to fennel seeds.

This rich tradition is also recognized internationally, where "made in Italy" salamis are considered an excellence. This is also why we are the country with the most EU-protected salamis: we have 12 pork salamis between DOP and IGP. And they are only a small part of all those produced in Italy, always using only the few and "usual" ingredients: meat and fat, usually pork (although there are also salamis made with other meats, such as goose or donkey). So how do you get salami so different in aroma, flavor, texture and size, from the cacciatorini snack to the XL 5 kg salami?

What differentiates the various types of salami

To make the difference between the many different types of salami that are produced in Italy are several factors: the quality of the starting meat, the cuts of meat and fats used and the ratio between them, the type of grinding (fine, medium or coarse) and the amount of salt added. The drying technology and the duration of the curing also have a great influence on the final quality.

The finest meat is that of heavy pork, which is typical of Italy and is the most used in delicatessen. What makes it unique is the fact that it is raised for a long time (at least 8-9 months) until it reaches 160 kg of average weight and its meat is firm. Thus, there is no need to add to cured meats with milk powder and derivatives (if present, they are indicated in the list of ingredients), to make them more compact and to absorb water, in order to accelerate their curing and increase their weight.

This heavy pig uses different cuts of lean and fat meats: each type of salami has its own "recipe". For example, for those with a fine grind and where the lean and fat parts remain well divided (such as the Milano salami), lean cuts (such as the shoulder) and resistant fats (such as the throat) are used. On the other hand, for softer salamis (such as Felino) semi-fat cuts are needed (such as lean pancetta) and for those (such as Fabriano) where the fat is diced, lard is used.

Do you know all six Italian PDO salamis?

To obtain the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) salami, like all other food products, must demonstrate that their quality and characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to the area where they are born, and to its intrinsic natural and human factors. For this reason, both the characterizing raw materials and the entire production must take place in this defined geographical area. There are six Italian PDO pork salamis and they are produced in different regions, from Lombardy to Calabria.

  1. Salame Brianza Dop: produced in four Lombard provinces and in various formats, both fine and coarse, it is characterized by its ruby ​​red color, consistent thickness and delicate taste, which is never acidic. It is tastier when cut into thick slices
  2. Varzi salami Dop: it is produced in the Oltrepò Pavese with a mixture of fat and lean pork, in a ratio of 30%, coarsely chopped and seasoned with sea salt, pepper, spices and an infusion of garlic in filtered red wine. Tradition has it that the slices are cut "like a clarinet beak", so that they take the characteristic non-round shape and have the right thickness.
  3. Salame Piacentino Dop: already known in 1400, it is produced in the province of Piacenza with lean meat and 10-30% fat parts (such as lard and pancetta). Dry-cured with salt, pepper, garlic, wine and sugar, it has a strong aroma and a bright red color. Excellent as an appetizer and with an aperitif, it should be cut diagonally when cold so that the slices remain compact. But it should be consumed when it has reached 10 ° C and thus releases all its aromas.
  4. Vicentine Soprèssa Dop: sausage with a long tradition, made with pork, minced at medium high and enriched with the traditional consa, a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and, sometimes, garlic. It has slices of a pinkish color tending to red, with an intense aroma and a slightly spicy flavor. Ideal to be enjoyed with cooked vegetables, coarsely cut and seared on the grill, it accompanies Asiago cheese and toasted polenta.
  5. Soppressata di Calabria PDO: has origins in Magna Graecia, this tasty salami made with a mixture of meat obtained from ham and fillet (or shoulder) and fat taken from the lard of the front part of the loin. It can be "natural" (ie white) or sweet, if flavored with sweet red pepper or sweet pepper cream. Or spicy if spicy red pepper or spicy pepper cream have been added to the mixture.
  6. Italian salami alla cacciatora Dop: sold under the “Cacciatore italiano Dop” brand, they are small (weigh 200-350 grams), dry and compact, and have a sweet taste and delicate aroma. Perfect as a snack and with an aperitif, thinly sliced, in strips or diced, they enrich salads, such as the one with apple and pomegranate, or the one with lentils, tomato and olives, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Do you know all six Italian IGP salamis?

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) food products owe their specificity and reputation to a place (for example a country or a region); for this at least one of its stages of their production must take place in this geographical area.

  1. Piedmont salami IGP: with compact slices and a delicately spicy flavor, flavored with herbs, spices and Piedmontese wine, it is produced throughout the region. The consistency of the dough is soft and the flavor is sweet, thanks to the short aging and the aromatic note conferred by the use of red wine.
  2. Cremona salami Igp: made only with pork from the areas of San Daniele and Parma ham, flavored with salt and crushed garlic. Always soft and mellow, even after 4 months of aging, it has a distinct garlicky note. Due to its texture it is perfect with fruit with the same pasty consistency, such as figs or pears, but also with brioche.
  3. Salame Felino Igp: it is produced in the province of Parma, this salami with an irregular shape and a compact and not very elastic consistency. Obtained with fresh first choice minced medium-grain meats, flavored with salt, black peppercorns and garlic, it has a delicate taste and a spicy aroma.It is the classic salami as an appetizer or to be served with fried dumplings or focaccia.
  4. Finocchiona IGP: documented as early as the Middle Ages, it is obtained in Tuscany from various pork cuts (in particular shoulder, ham trimmings, throat, pancetta and pancettona) ground to medium grain and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic, fennel seeds or flowers. It has an intense aroma, a strong and appetizing flavor, and a soft texture. It is ideal with unsalted bread, because it allows you to fully appreciate the aroma of fennel, but it is also excellent with focaccia and savory flatbreads.
  5. Ciauscolo Igp: it is a soft and aromatic, fine-grained salami, typical of the Marche region, obtained from the double grinding of fine pork cuts (bacon, shoulder and trimmings of ham and loin), flavored with salt, black pepper, wine and garlic. It is generally eaten fresh (from 20 to 60 days from preparation) its soft consistency allows it to be spread on croutons, slices of bread and bruschetta.
  6. Salame Sant’Angelo Igp: this typical product of Messina is made with fine pork cuts (thigh, shoulder, fillet, loin, coppa and pancettone) and little fat (less than 20%), mixed with sea salt and black pepper. Coarse-grained, it has a tender but compact slice, a slightly spicy aroma and a dry flavor. It is cut into thick slices and served with olives, pickles and pecorino cheese.

January 2022
Manuela Soressi

Incoming search terms:

Seasonal fruit and vegetables: this is what you will find in November – Italian Cuisine


Launched for the first time on November 1, 1994, the World Vegan Day was created precisely to increase and spread the knowledge of the benefits that this lifestyle can bring to our body. A green lifestyle with a low environmental impact that has spread like wildfire throughout most of the world in recent years. And we, on the occasion of this day, want to tell you about the seasonal fruit and vegetables that you will find on the tables of November, the one that tastes and smells of autumn, earth and good!

Why it is important to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables
Growers, nutritionists and doctors have been telling us for years now, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables is good for us body and toenvironment. From the fruit and vegetables in season, which is born and grows in its time of year, we can draw several benefits including a greater supply of micro nutrients such as minerals and vitamins; eat tastier and more fragrant foods. How many times, buying fruit and vegetables out of season, have we realized that the flavor and aroma were less intense? This happens because fruits and vegetables do not have the necessary time and the right environment to ripen as nature wants, the plants are forcibly grown in greenhouses and the fruits ripen in a completely unnatural way. Not only that, seasonal fruit and vegetables contain fewer pesticides than those grown in greenhouses "out of season". Why? Seasonal plants are stronger and more resistant parasites while those grown forcibly to meet the market and consumer demand for seasonal fruit and vegetables that are not always available on large-scale distribution stalls are weaker and more exposed to parasites.

Seasonal fruit and vegetables, that of November
There fruit this month is full of C vitamin, we find it in oranges, mandarins, clementines, lemons And Kiwi, but also in the unsuspected persimmon. Yes, even persimmons have a good amount of Vitamin C in addition to many precious micro nutrients. But the fruit par excellence of November is her, the Chestnut! One of the beautiful gifts of November nature (but also of mid / late October) that turns out to be a very versatile food in the kitchen. Perfect for roasting in a pan, boiling in water or milk to soften them and prepare many sweet or savory dishes. But let's not forget about the apples, harvested from the end of August to November to be available on our tables until January; a delicate, tasty, juicy and excellent fruit for baking sweet and fragrant cakes. For example, one of the November varieties is the Melannurca bell, small, juicy, with a slightly sour and fresh taste. Given its size, it turns out to be an excellent snack to be consumed in the middle of the morning or as a snack. Not only that, another apple variety that is harvested in November is the Pink Lady, with an unmistakable color tending to pink and an aromatic flavor. But did you know that this apple variety is the fruit of a cross between a Lady Williams apple and a Golden Delicius? Very good! Furthermore, in November we can also find some very juicy and sweet grape.

And the vegetables? In November we find cabbages, cabbage, potatoes, turnip greens, broccoli, fennel, mushrooms, spiny artichokes, cauliflower. Mushrooms, the true kings of the undergrowth, with an intense flavor and aroma. Excellent for preparing risottos, preserves or soups; to sauté with other vegetables or to fry or sauté to accompany a soft polenta. But in reality, all the vegetables that November gives us are perfect for preparing very hot dishes, soups and dips that warm the soul and stomach. Not only that, they are also perfect for gratinating! Think of a steaming pan of fennel or broccoli au gratin? Irresistible! And then the cabbage, perfect allies for wrapping meat and vegetable rolls to be cooked slowly; or you can use them to prepare savory pies or the more classic Valtellina pizzoccheri, strictly with Bitto!

November and truffles
192432Mineral and earthy, with an unmistakably good and elegant scent, the truffle It is not only good for the soul and the palate, it is also good for the body! One of its strengths is that it is totally cholesterol-free, which makes it an excellent food to combine with more fatty dishes such as classic fried eggs or noodles with butter! But pay attention to the quantities, to flavor a dish, a few flakes are really enough. There are several varieties, but the ones that you will find also in November are the Precious White (September – January), the Smooth Black (September – December), the Ordinary Black (October – January), lo Winter Scorzone (October – December) and the Precious Black (mid-November – March).
Truffles are mainly eaten raw and in flakes, to flavor risottos, tagliolini, eggs or bruschetta. You can also make a different use of it and try to prepare a truffle flavored oil homemade! Very simple and impressive. You will need a truffle, a truffle cutter to obtain thin slices, 500 ml of extra virgin olive oil with a not too marked taste and obviously a glass bottle. The procedure is very simple, you just need to cut thin slices of truffle and put them in the bottle of oil, close and let it rest in a cool and dry place for a few days so that the tuber can release its aromas and the oil absorb them. properly. Use it to dress bruschetta, salads, pasta and rice dishes!
Here you can find lots of information and curiosities about this precious tuber!

November 2021
Giulia Ferrari

Proudly powered by WordPress

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Click here to read more information about data collection for ads personalisation

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Read more about data collection for ads personalisation our in our Cookies Policy page