Culinary Anthropologist

Secret Kitchen menu, 17th November 2012

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southern Italian autumn

Focaccia, salumi

Chicory, radicchio, persimmon & pomegranate salad

Squash & ricotta tortelloni with nduja,
pistachios and sage

Quince with almond & saffron ice cream

Homemade liqueur

About tonight’s menu

For tonight’s dinner my starting point was a selection of ingredients which I associate with southern Italy and with autumn – persimmons, pomegranates, radicchio, autumn squash, nduja, quinces, almonds and pistachios.  From these a menu grew.

(Negronis, radicchio and tortelloni are associated with the north, but I like them too much to leave them out.)

Nduja is an unusual spreadable salami from Calabria.  I got mine from a small company called Bread Tree, who import specialist Italian products.  This nduja is hand made by a small artisan producer in the Sila National Park, using free range black pig meat and 30% Calabrian peperoncino chilli.  It’s smoked and then cured for eight or so months.  The idea to use it with squash tortelloni, pistachios and sage came from one of our favourite neighbourhood restaurants – Little Sardegna on Blackstock Road.

The baked quinces, semi-candied in their own syrup, is actually a Turkish dish which I learnt there.  The ice cream was made by infusing cream and milk with saffron and toasted almonds – flavours I associate with Sicily.

So there we have it, a little tour around Calabria, Sardinia and Sicily, with a quick detour across the Aegean to Turkey.  Buon appetito!

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