We had a busy weekend, with barely a chance to say a formal goodbye to summer. I did take a walk around town to look at the flowers, and to check on the various nuts and fruits that are almost ripe. Depending on what route I take to the restaurant, I can pass: lemons, olives, grapes, persimmon, figs, walnuts, chestnuts, quince and something that I’m pretty sure is
Pomegranate fruit. And that’s just in town!
We’ve had gorgeous artichokes and zucca in the restaurant. Fall and spring are artichoke time, and I couldn’t be happier. For the past week they’ve been showing up on the menu either frizzled on top of baccala, or as a soufflé. Now, soufflé’s are a funny thing. To me, they are sort of 1960’s, like quiche, and celery stuffed with cream cheese. But here in Europe, it’s just a traditional dish without a lot of kitschy baggage. It’s actually pretty funny in the kitchen when we do a soufflé….everyone gets ready, Jeff or Martina, standing right there as the oven door opens, out pops the soufflé, onto a waiting plate, and then everyone in the kitchen yells “Corri! Corri!” or “Run! Run!”. I’ve come to really enjoy the soufflé ritual!
The zucca, or big squash, that we have is being served as gnocchi in a celery sauce. Now before your eyes glaze over at the mundane-ness of celery, stop. For one thing, celery tastes really good in Italy, for another thing, it really has a depth and unique flavor that is undervalued in the US. We’ve been refining the celery sauce, and this weekend it was perfect, just the right foil for the natural sweetness of the gnocchi.
Today we cleaned a big crate of broccoli rabe, we’ve got some ideas of what to do with it…I’ll keep you posted. Happy autumn!