eating i’s nonna’s cooking is a real treat and one that i was really looking forward to. on friday night we went to hers for dinner. nonna had dispensed with the traditional courses and was not quite pleased. as far as o and i were concerned it wasn’t really an issue, partly because we aren’t italian and partly because i cannot manage to eat antipasti, primo, second, contorno and dolce without feeling like my stomach is exploding.
we started on two antipasti – a salad of octopus, prawns and small diced potatoes dressed in a green sauce made of garlic, parsley and olive oil and ‘acciughe in carpione’. the latter is lightly floured and fried anchovies in a marinade of olive oil and white wine vinegar, thin roasted potatoes, onions softened in olive oil and garlic. the marinade is good soaked up with crusty white rolls which nonna had placed on the table alongside our glasses and plates
our second course is whole baked fish. there is much deliberation about the fish used. i is sent to fetch a rather voluminous and old dictionary which helps us establish that the fish is ‘dentice’ (we later corroborate this from a food encyclopaedia we see at eataly in asti) and then some further googling by me leads to the discovery that the italian dentice is known as sea bream in the uk. to return to the fish. nonna had baked it with butter and herbs stuffed in the cavity of the stomach. there was a contorno of spinach with pine nuts.
the funniest part of the meal is the dolce. i’s mother had roasted chestnuts and made a fresh custard to go with it. nonna and i’s mum had the mithai i bought from ambala – two kinds of ladoo’s, a balo shahi, pera and some barfi. we finished our meal on a homemade liqueur called vov which is really a concentrated zabaglione. absolutely delicious!