April 2009


Ramps

Ramps

More signs of Spring– ramps have arrived!  A wonderful wild onion, like a leek without all thetough fibers.  You pretty much eat the whole thing, the slim stems and the greens.  We are selling them for $6.10 a bunch and they are going fast!!

Now what to do with these lovlies; saute them, make soup out of them, blanch and blend with mashed potatoes, scramble with eggs, pickle them… here are some recipes for ramps including one with spaghetti!

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salsomaggiore_05

Last week the Campionate Mondiale di Pizza was held in Salsomaggiore, Italy.  Participants come from around the world, as pizza has become an internationally loved food, but the US team is a strong force!!  So is team Sicilia, pictured at the left.

There are several categories in which pizzaioli battle it out:

Gastronomic:

– Classic Pizza Dough
– Classic Pan Pizza
– Presentation
– Napoletan Style S.T.G.
– No gluten Pizza

Ability:

– The fastest Pizza
– The Largest Pizza
– Free Style Pizza
– Acrobatic Team
and Special Award (I’m not sure what this one means)

acrobatic competition

acrobatic competition

The US team seems to take home the “fastest” and “largest” prizes, the Japanese focus on winning the “acrobatic” prizes and the Italians concentrate on the “traditional” and “Napoletan” prizes.

You really must see these guys in action, they are all amazing!!  The end of the video has some unbelievable acrobatics shots, at one point there are three guys spinning dough in unison like a step team!  Team USA has an excellent website, please check it out here.

p1010929

Yes, it took us too long to bring you salads but there are here now!  We have two sizes of salads, a small green side salad for $1.75 and an entree salad with cubed salami and mozzarella plus a hot pepperoncini for $6.95.  Both salads come with balsamic vinegrette on the side.

marinated-fetaWe have added a few new cheeses to our inventory– if you haven’t been introduced, please meet marinated feta.  This is the first cheese at Piazza that is NOT from Italy.  He comes from Australia, is “Persian-Style” and wins over all worldly discerning palates; except maybe the Greeks who fiercely defend their own feta.

In addition to the marinated feta we have a pecorino-style cheese from Bellwether Farms in California called San Andreas Crucolo from Friuli and Marzolino from Tuscany.  Crucolo is sort of a big hunking cheese with lots of little eyes that tastes sweet and sour and definitely rich.  It is more full in flavor than the Tavoliere, which looks just like it.

Marzolino is a fresh sheep’s milk cheese that looks like a rare forest mushroom-top.  Made in the month of March, Marzo in Italian, the appearance of this cheese marks the arrival of a new flock of lambs and the beginning of the new growing season.  Marzolino is delicate and buttery, a perfect cheese for a picnic, if only we could do away with these April showers.  It is also excellent shaved over spring pea shoots or other little greens that are just beginning to poke out of the ground.

If San Andreas is from California, then California might be the 21st region of Italy.  Bellwether Farms has been around since 1986 and they seemed to have it all figured out.  San Andreas is so concentrated and deep and sheepy well, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was Italian.

asparagus-saba

I’m sure that you’ve noticed that asparagus has reappeared in supermarkets, some imported from Peru or shipped from California.  I don’t think that locally grown asparagus is here yet but as the weather warms it’s what we all want.

I was over at 2 Amys last week and I noticed that one of their specials was asparagus with saba.  I didn’t order it but I knew that I wanted to try to make it at home.  I bought some asparagus and inaugurated the grill with it. The asparagus only takes a few minutes on both sides– just leave it on a medium fire until it’s a little charred but not burnt.  I drizzled the whole lot with saba and olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and that was it.  So good, so spring and so easy.

Saba is the base of what is aged to become Basamico Tradizionale di Modena.  It’s earthy, deep and sweet.