Posts Tagged ‘butcher’s’

So yesterday I took my first trip to the butcher’s in Opicina (this little town I’ve just moved to near Trieste). Butcher’s are always a daunting propsect: and Italian ones are a double whammy. But he was very friendly, didn’t look aghast when I pointed to a delectable joint of meat (all rolled up and criss-crossed with string, a sprig of rosemary stuck on for good measure) and asked ‘What’s that?’ (vitello) and then, ‘How much is it?’ Expensive (19 Euros) but irresistible.

He told me in fast Triestine dialect how to cook it, and I understood something about white wine, stock and eating it cold, and that the kids would love it. When I got home, the only near enough recipe was in my very trusty ‘Great Italian Cookbook’. But although when the butcher described it, it sounded delectable, in practice it was just boiled meat. And tasted like it. Never again.
But, also did a fab caponata (that’s aubergines, onions, tomatoes, plus possibly peppers – then it’s called peronata – , celery, fennel, pine nuts, raisins – and even dark chocolate apparently in Sicilia – and then lots of balsamic vinegar). It’s a kind of sophisticated ratatouille, but in true Italian style, there’s a special knack to getting all the flavours to combine and unify.

I first came across it at Carluccio’s in Chiswick – and asked the waiter for a recipe – which he gave me – verbally – very enthusiastically. And I’ve been modifying/ perfecting it ever since. Yesterday I used Georgio Locatelli’s version from his book ‘Made in Italy’ – but he deep fries everything. I’m sure it tastes wonderful but I can’t be doing with that. I’m more from the Nigel Slater school of ‘as little hassle as possible while cooking thank you very much’. But did pick up a taste-changing trick: leave the caponata to settle for two hours after cooking, covered in cling film (I didn’t have any so just put a lid on the pot – seemed to work.

Anyway, think I’m hoping to aim for at least one new dish a week, and take a visit to the local fish shop next. I guess I’ll have completed this goal (I’m writing this first as one of my goals on 43things.com) if I can sustain this till Christmas…


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