On the Garda lake cooking is done, of course, because fishing is practiced there with considerable profit, but in a way that suggests that the gastronomic passage from Lombardy to Veneto takes place here. It is clear from the starter, when sardines are served in saór, alose or agoni, if you like, prepared in marinade of onions and vinegar, anticipating what happens in Venice with real sardines. As for the first courses, the traditional choice is between pasta, which is drawn here with the press, and rice, the historic pride of the Bassa Veronese, always paired with fish: here are the bigoli with aole, large vermicelli seasoned with a sauce of bleaks put in salt in the manner of anchovies, or rice with tench, which uses a good-sized fish caught with nets both in the lake and in the Mincio, the river that is its emissary. Then there are the actual fish dishes, with the whitefish, otherwise known as whitefish, at the top of the preferences, as is understandable being a fine salmonid of ideal size and consistency both on the grill and in the pan. More elaborate recipe is that of pike in sauce, the latter prepared with salted sardines, capers, garlic and herbs, a legacy of the court cuisine of the Gonzaga family, the ancient lords of Mantua. Said of the dishes of strict observance, then there are the most recent proposals, ranging from fish ravioli to lake soup, or more generic preparations declined in Garda terms.
This is the setting that chef Nadalon also gave to the menu Torri restaurant, in Torri del Benaco (Verona), starting from tradition with its Buon Ricordo dish, Garda perch fillets with butter and thyme: breading scented with cedar peel, Benacense citrus par excellence; Alpine butter and thyme serpillo that grows spontaneously on Mount Baldo. Then mentioning, as a dish of specific pride, the bigoli alla Maria Callas, dedicated to the opera singer who was among the guests of the Gardesana: a pasta dish garnished with lake sardines, sultanas and pine nuts, thinking of Venice and the Teatro della Phoenix of which for seven years the Divine trod the scenes. In the glass, the famous Chiaretto di Bardolino, the first step in the knowledge of the great Veronese wines.
Perch swivels with butter and thyme: the specialty of Buon Ricordo
Ingredients for 4 people
800 g perch
100 g butter
Thyme to taste
Salt to taste.
6 crepes (20 cm in diameter)
300 g bechamel
200 g Parmesan cheese
100 ml cream
Clean, fillet and loosen the perch. Cut the pulp into cubes and sauté them in a pan with butter and chopped thyme. Once cooked, pass them to the blender. The result is a tasty cream.
Separately prepare the béchamel and the crepes.
Combine the béchamel and pureed perch pulp in a bowl. Mix until a homogeneous and not too thick dough is obtained. Roll out the dough on the crepes. Roll them up and let them cool.
Then cut them into slices in order to obtain swivels about 4 cm high.
Prepare a buttered baking dish, arrange the swivels on the bottom and add a little butter and chopped thyme.
Bake for about 8 min at 190 °.
Put the cream and Parmesan in a bain marie until a smooth and homogeneous fondue is obtained.
Arrange a spoonful of fondue in the center of the plate, lay on four swivels and spread a little chopped thyme around it. Serve hot.