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Archive for April, 2016

Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook, 1570, translated by Terence Scully, p 219, recipe 156) has two recipes for rice in a Lombard style. I was originally drawn to this recipe because someone had posted a mention of making this using his homemade finocchiona. Having been inspired by that to try making finocchiona and similar cervelat recipes back in February, it was time to try the rice dish containing it. Lombard style means layered, with cheese, sugar and cinnamon between each of the meat or other layers. Saveloy is a kind of sausage that is now like a spicy frankfurter, but the name derives from cervelat. I had some leftover turkey breast, which I used instead of chicken.

To prepare a rice dish in the Lombard style, braised, with chicken flesh, saveloy and egg yolks.

Get rice which is cleaned as above and cook it in a broth that has cooked capons, geese and saveloy. When it is done such that it is firm, take a portion of it and put it on an earthenware, silver or pewter (more probably tin) platter. Sprinkle it with cheese, sugar and cinnamon, and on the riceput a few dollopwof fresh butter and capon breast and goose breast along with finely chopped up saveloy. Then sprinkle on cheese, sugar and cinnamon. Repeat, building up three layers of it. On the topmost pourmelted fresh butter, and sprinkle on the same mixture. Put it into an oven that is not too hot, leaving it there for half an hour until it browns a little. Splash rosewater over it and serve it hot.

What I did: I cooked 2 cups of whole-grain rice in water to which I had added a little chicken broth, because I was improvising. I only used about half of the finished product,because I saved the other half for the next recipe. Scappi probably used a short grain white rice, and would have had fresh broth from cooking his meats. I should have cooked my cervelat in some water to soften it and add flavour to the water, but it was late at night and that adjustment only occurred to me now.When it was done, I spooned enough rice into the bottom of an earthenware casserole dish to completely cover, perhaps 1 cm deep. I then layered Parmesan cheese sprinkled with about 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of ginger, then a layer of chopped turkey breast (probably about 2-3 oz) and sausage 1 1/2 oz, or 1/3 of a standard large sausage) plus several dollops of butter on the meat. I repeated the cheese, sugar and cinnamon layer, more rice, cheese, meat and butter, cheese, rice, cheese, meat, and finally cheese. Then I poured on a couple of ounces of melted butter and popped the whole thing into the oven at 325F, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Finally, I sprinkled a few Tbsp of rosewater on the finished product. Here’s how it looked, though perhaps a bit more golden (:

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Things I would do differently:

  1. boil the cervelat and maybe even the meats (assuming I am using leftovers again). I think boiled meats might have held together in layers a bit better.
  2. Be a bit bolder with my spices and butter. It is delicious, and the touch of sweetness with savoury meats and broth makes the flavours more complex. As for butter, when is more butter not a good thing?

When I did my taste test, I was very pleased with the result and felt I had been quite successful, until I tried the second recipe:

You can do that rice another way. When it is cooked, grease the platter with butter and on that put slices of fresh unsalted provatura sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and grated cheese, and on that put the rice. On the rice put raw fresh egg yolks, the number of them depending on the amount of rice there is, having first made hollow in the rice in which you set the yolks. Over those yolks again put the same amount of sliced provatura sprinkled as before with sugar, cheese and cinnamon. Then cover that with as much again of rice. In that way you can make up two or three layers. On the last put a little butter. Set it on hot coals or in the oven as before. Serve it hot.

What I did:

I didn’t have provatura, which is a mild sweet cheese (probably similar to bocconci), so I used mozzarella. I used duck egg yolks because that’s what I had in the fridge. I followed the recipe exactly, for two layers. I used the same proportions for ingredients as in the first recipe, though I skimped on the rice for the very top layer and cooked at about 300F for a little over half an hour in an enameled cast-iron casserole without the lid. In truth, I would have loved to finish with the eggs as a top layer, but I suspect they might have hardened and been a bit nasty. As it was, this dish looks a bit boring but it tastes amazing! The cheeses are rich and gooey, and the duck eggs are creamy and beautifully yellow. ¬†While the first recipe was very good, this one is my favourite. I reheated a portion for my lunch today.

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This recipe comes from Apicius (The Roman Cookery Book, Flower and Rosenbaum, 1957, p 215).

Cook liver, grind and add pepper and liquamen or salt. Add oil. Use hare, kid, lamb, or chicken-liver: and mould into a fish in a small mould if liked. Sprinkle virgin oil over it.

For only the second time in my life, I wish I had a mould of any kind (the other was when I read Mid-Century Menu’s lamb cake experiments. You can find them here:¬†http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2012/04/vintage-lamb-cake-1-the-eight-days-of-lamb-cakes/).

The recipe was incredibly simple. I had a leftover turkey liver, which is what prompted me to look for something to do with it. I boiled the liver, ground it in my mortar with a pestle, added pepper, salt and a bit of olive oil, plopped it on a plate and shaped it to look sort-of like a fish, added a tiny bit of cheese for an eyeball and voila! Now you see why I wished for a fish mould!

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