Tag Archives: polenta

cicchetti tea break…

I know i came to Venice for the biennale, but actually i would almost make the trip just to eat the cicchetti at this place near Academia (discovered a few years ago thanks and infinite gratitude to a venetian friend).

So cicchetti are the Venetian version of tapas, and this place does them SO WELL…They come in many varieties but you can usually find the culinary wonder that is Baccalà Mantecato – pounded salt cod that is then whipped with olive oil till it reaches a buttery pate like consistency, you can leave it at that or add garlic, parsley, lemon juice…they also do a brie with nettle pesto that’s pretty darned good too…

2 Spritz (prosecco, campari and a spalsh of soda) plus 8 assorted cicchetti for €12, bloody bargain!

Still on the subject of food, over by the Giardini, in some adjacent public gardens, you can find a modest local bar apparently with no name,

where you can have a hefty plate of polenta plus many trimmings. Normally i hate polenta me, i find it bland and boring, i call it prison food…and you get a LOT of it in Piedmont. However, on this particular day in Venice, we were experiencing the tail end of the bora wind and there was the threat of acqua alta (and me in converse trainers) anyway you get the picture,  it was freeeeezing,  so hot polenta with many interesting accompaniments was not sounding so bad…

A big old plate of Venetian style polenta with: funghi (mushrooms), baccalà mantecato (salt cod paste), formaggio fuso (melted cheese), sopressa (salame)…never thought i would hear myself say it but really…delicious…

other foody posts on this blog:

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break

chocolate con churros

baracca

empanada

further adventures in foraging

revelations in a milanese restaurant

braid burn

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano

revelations in a milanese restaurant…

Italian food, much as i love it…it is can be so goddamn rigidly regional that people have never heard of common dishes that are being served up by their neighbours 30 of 40 km up the road. 5 years in Piedmont educated me well in their cheesy-meaty-polenta-y…well…heavy but truly wonderful cuisine (except for the polenta [concia]…or prison food as i like to call it…). But the food of Lombardy and of Milan in particular has always remained a bit vague to me, a risotto here, a frogs leg there…However the other night in a local Milanese restaurant i had a bit of a revelatory culinary experience…

To start with something very austere, it’s so Italian to pare your food down to the bare but exquisite essentials…so a plate with one solitary thick slice of very lightly cured soft salami. You have to keep space for the serious stuff ahead…

…and to the house speciality…ossobuco e risotto allo zafferano (osso buco with saffron risotto)…i had my doubts…i don’t normally like risotto…too boring…too bland…can make it better myself at home…blah blah blah…Trust me says my friend and generous host, you will like it. I trust him, and so i found myself with this placed in front of me:

ossobuco e risotto allo zafferano

So the photo does not really do justice to the scale and perfume of the thing but suffice it to say it was a mighty plate-full…and the risotto, so rich, so perfect, so full of butter that as it cooled it was reverting to its previous incarnation (in a good way), full of flavour from the stock of the meat and just al dente…and the meat, aromatic and buttery soft and falling off the bone in a liquor of its own juices that was rich with herbs and well…meat. I ate it all…every last scrap of it, even the fat around the outside. In fact i think i scared/impressed the waiters, all hardened professionals of a certain age who were used to more petite milanese ladies than myself…,whatever… i would have licked the plate clean if i thought i could have gotten away with it! There was pudding too (there is always room for pudding)…a bready, raisiny, chocolatey affair and it was good, but i was drunk on meat and saffron (and dolcetto d’alba red wine) and forgot to photograph it. If anyone is planning a trip to Milan ask me where this place is and go there, the people watching is also fantastic, it’s an old school neighbourhood restaurant, its not cheap and it is worth every single penny.

other foodie posts on this blog

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break

baracca

further adventures in foraging

braid burn

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano