Tag: sense

Sour butter and rancid fat. When the kitchen defies common sense – Italian Cuisine

The chefs play with ancestral tastes and forgotten products, challenging our foreclosures and looking for new flavors. Good to eat, but not to think about? Change your mind with a (sexy) recipe

Acid, rancid, bitter, burnt … are not exactly words that make you hungry, on the contrary. And yet they are increasingly common on restaurant menus today. The chefs are looking for new flavors and with often ancestral procedures they recall forgotten preparations such as fermentations. But it's true, they also try to amaze us and capture our attention, challenging us to order dishes that sound like disturbing. But that I'm not at all.

"Rancid"It is said of a fat altered by contact with oxygen and evokes tastes such as that of old oil, of forgotten dried fruit who knows where and when the butter has now turned yellow, acid and with a bitter aftertaste: a disgust. We reject the idea of ​​rancid like that of bitter or acid, from the bottom because our body recognizes it instinctively as a danger. Rancid means spoiled, but rancidity is also a necessary process for obtaining spicy cheeses or blue cheeses, it is part of ancient products that are found in every tradition, in the north and south of the world (storage before the refrigerator generated foods such as smen Moroccan or Slovenian fermented cottage cheese). In the absence of a necessity, the rancidity masterfully governed has become a way to develop new tastes, and the chefs juggle us with increasing pleasure.

Moroccan smen.

Strong ricotta and rancid fat, from chef

Large pots of fermented ricotta are stored in the Hiša Franko cellar, Ana Roš and Valter Kramar's restaurant in Kaporid, Slovenia. It is eaten for breakfast on bread and is often found in the dishes on its menu, combined with the flavors of the forest, smoked eel or beetroot. Its iconic dish, not surprisingly, is Potato cooked in hay with fermented ricotta, a gourmet version of a grandmother's recipe.

Pasta, garlic, rancid fat and chili pepper is one of the (excellent) dishes that are eaten at Bros, a Michelin star restaurant in Lecce by chefs Isabella Potì and Floriano Pellegrino. In this recipe, spaghetti is cooked and then creamed in fat obtained by boiling the waste of Salento ham fat, and then seasoned with garlic and sweet and spicy pepper powder. But just from Bros one of the signature dishes is the Ricotta forte and ricci, in which they use a typical ancient Apulian product with an intense, spicy and slightly bitter taste.

The fat of the Iberian ham

Rancid is the flavor that the Spaniards pursue in the extreme seasonings of raw ham, which year after year sees the fat transform to a golden color and an aromatic flavor with notes of wild herbs, mushrooms, truffles … cheese. Joselito Iberian ham, undoubtedly the most famous in the world, is also aged for ten years, served at room temperature, dark and deliberately unctuous, and the flavor is unforgettable.

Marchesi's sour butter

Sour butter, on the other hand, is nothing new. The father of the kitchen Gualtiero Marchesi used sour butter to whisk the risotto, necessary to impart acidity and therefore balance to the dish. In France, sour butter has a more elegant name, beurre blanc, and sees the addition of sour cream. To make it Italian, Marchesi eliminated the crème fraîche and studied a different procedure: lightly fry the butter with chopped onion and white wine, let it simmer slowly and then filter. Add more butter, mix and put back in the refrigerator until ready for use.

The recipe for sour spaghetti

At the pastry-restaurant Venom of Brescia, the chef Maurizio Amato uses the same technique to prepare acid spaghetti, with butter and beetroot. To amaze, and to break our prejudice towards words, flavors and memories, and to conquer: the name of the recipe is Visceral Love and these Spaghettoni sour butter and beetroot offers them for Valentine's Day.


Ingredients for 2 people

1 golden onion
50 g of white wine vinegar
110 g of white wine (Pinot bianco)
120 g of butter
2 red turnips
120 g of Felicetti Spaghettone


Blend the turnips, sift to obtain the juice. In a saucepan over low heat, put the onion cut into thin slices. Add vinegar and wine until the onion takes on a transparent appearance and the alcohol has evaporated. Remove from the heat and gradually melt the cold butter. Sift all the mixture. Cool and refrigerate. Cook the pasta in salted water, drain and stir in the cold sour butter and beetroot juice.

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Niko's sense of matter – Italian Cuisine

Niko's sense of matter

He studies her as a scientist because "I understand where he takes me". For Niko Romito, research is the starting point for a journey that leads to a goal of incredible, essential but delicious dishes. Apparently simple, yet complex

The name of one of his dishes was even included in the Treccani: Absolute. «Exact: Absolute, of onion, did not exist before in gastronomy. I created the dish first and then gave it the name: a liquid that has the same structure and density of water, then zero, but there is no water, so it is not broth. Absolute, because it is a hundred percent liquid made up of onions . Obviously very good, because Niko Romito on every plate there are very few in Italy, only a few in the world. In the poker of aces at the top of our kitchen, you can rightly have a passionate preference, but the personalities are different. Simplifying, Massimo Bottura is the Vision, Massimiliano Alajmo the Talent and Enrico Crippa the History: there is no doubt that the chef from Castel di Sangro represents the Application. In the sense that he totally self-taught and starting only to help the family after the death of his father. From an (almost) degree in Economics and Commerce in Rome at Three Michelin Stars in just seven years, conquered in 2013 when the restaurant had moved from two years to Casadonna – beautiful former monastery – from the Rivisondoli office.

It takes months for a dish

A self-taught genius, it was said, that he did not go through professional schools or like so many illustrious colleagues he did not have teachers and did not even do the classic starred stages. «But afterwards I“ studied ”a lot: my kitchen is a continuous research. I take the ingredient and I take it all over, the study in depth. To create a dish, before it can be served on the table, it can also take months, sometimes more than a year of failed experiments, ingredients that are not used, dozens of very busy people to make that dish unique. Let's try, let's taste. Are we not convinced of the result? You throw everything away and start again. The cost of the dish is not what is served on the table, but what is behind it: research, technology, study. For this reason haute cuisine has a high price, but unfortunately the concept is not understandable to everyone .

Essence and Ideal

An example? The pigeon that today at the Reale it is served with cloves, water and mustard, inspired by the work done five years ago on the particular (and ingenious) cooking of meat «It is cooked in a broth obtained from the same bird, which is then reduced: I sacrifice a animal to cook ten. I called it "fondant" because the temperature at which I prepare it, below 70 ° C, is such that it retains all the humors inside while the toasting cooks the skin without triggering the Maillard reaction. The absence of the external crust gives continuity, allows the pigeon to "melt" the inside of the flesh with its outer shell. An expedient that helps me to focus on the centrality, on the essence of a product ". Not surprisingly, one of the tasting menus of the Reale is called Essence (at 170 euros, wines not included), while the other has a name Ideal (at 210 euros). With the famous downed and regenerated bread ("better than the espresso, it is more stabilized") which becomes a real course. The paper is very rich: 45 dishes, including desserts, each with the year of creation indicated. They would all be tasted, of course.

The fish that looks like meat

In the "2019 collection", there is a dish that explains Romito's art in an exemplary way: the turbot on the grill with caper powder, gentian and emulsion of its broth. A semi-absolute that required a long work, where the texture of the fish stands out, celebrated by the cutlery: it is obtained by marinating for 12 hours in water and salt and roasting on the embers, for the power of the fire that does not it dries and the smoky note on gentian. Sea and mountains, structure and bitter balanced by salty lemon and caper powder. An aesthetic and tasteful masterpiece, which is hard to understand how it was created. How are theSliced ​​beef, whose indefinable consistency hides an explosion of flavor, or the Rice, potatoes and black pepper where you remain stunned discovering that the perfect creaming is done without any fat.

The touch of class

But perhaps even more important is that this manic work finds the right declinations in the other Romito premises: at the Bulgari scattered around the world (by the way, in a few months the one in Shanghai took the Michelin Star) for example there are already famous ones Spaghetti and Tomato – where the pure tomato is concentrated in the oven without adding liquids, then cut down and then blended – and "its" versions of baked Lasagna and Costoletta alla Milanese. And from alt – the taste station on the state road that leads to Castel di Sangro – there is the most famous fried chicken of the peninsula. «After a long work we got to cook it whole in just nine minutes, thanks to a pressure fryer that by virtue of the constant volume prepares a crispy chicken that does not lose moisture, which in fact is the same in the thigh and in the chest "He explains happily.

Invisible ingredients

Foregone question, but mandatory: what is all this research for? "At the emotion of simplicity. I try to give emotions to those who taste my cuisine: I try to ensure that the complexity behind making a dish is resolved in simplicity, the dish must be understandable in respect of the raw material used. Complexity in the kitchen can be advantageous, the complication never. A badly processed ingredient is a ruined ingredient. In my dishes there are invisible ingredients, but an integral part of the recipe: those who eat do not perceive them, but if they were not there the dish would not be complete, the balance and emotion that all the parts together can give away would not be complete . Right, absolutely right: that's why Niko has a sense of matter.

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