Sunday, July 15, 2007

Welcoming the sea to our farm!

I found the two reasons given to me for why we do not serve fish in the restaurant to be surprisingly convincing. As a legitimate Agriturismo there is quota of product we have to serve grown on the farm. Makes sense! Secondly, according to Ettore, fish is a finicky offering. Unlike meat and vegetables, patrons have strong preferences and opinions about fish. Since we only serve one menu, fish in essence would complicate the process of satiating our guests with equal measure.

BUT I was finally blessed to cook with local fish since being on the Amalfi Coast. Ettore (reminder: the son of the Baroness), on a slow night, had us do a small feast of the sea for his friends. The occasion, I will probably never know.

The Antipasto:

First we prepared the Polpi (Octopus) by boiling it for 1.5 hrs with a single Carrot and a Bay Leaf (from the garden); its broth morphed into a pale purple as the scent filled the kitchen with the richness of the sea. The Polpi would later be served chilled in a traditional salad of Black Olives, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and salt on a bed of Radicchio.

The tails of large live Scampi were served crudo (raw) wrapped in a paper thin slice of lard. This scandalous technique provided a butter seal to coat the sweetness of the meat; its salt quotient anonymously balancing out the flavors.

Alici (Anchovy), Triglie (a local small whole bitsy fish) and Gamberini (shrimp) were dusted lightly with flour and fried. Each bite exploded with the spectrum of the sea; seductively salty and crunchy!


If you are reading this you likely know my fascination with all things shrimp. Any opportunity, in any medium, in any city to cook with shrimp is more than welcomed, it is celebrated. Although I cant deny that subtle flavor of the shrimp in this dish. The Risotto’s omnipresent starch negated the careful effort put into the stock. Although lovely, I would have hoped the main ingredient had shined with more star power. Whenever I am met with indifference, the “I am here to learn” mantra plays in my head and I move on to the next experience.


Polipetti (squid) in Tomato Sauce atop drenched Bruschetta. Although not a progressive approach to the central ingredient, I found it to be simple, plated beautifully, rich and inviting; a well executed Secondi.

If you've read this far, you have now seen the original menu as it was posted in the kitchen.

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