Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lardo e Formaggi

I feel that in the BMW I cannot get lost. Hope I am not jinxing myself. Just seems easy to cruise around in. I also feel very safe in it and free to drive like a true Italian - quickly and aggressively. I feel so invulnerable driving it, I seriously considered picking up a couple of girls hitchhiking today. I quickly came to my senses and passed them by. Quickly. And in low gear.

I landed in Siena for a couple of days to relax in my cute windowless room just off the campo. I figure it should be dark and quiet. With so much driving this past week, I am looking forward to leaving my macchina parked for a day and a half while I walk around and pretend I am interested in something cultural. Besides eating, there is shopping to do. Including a big weekly market in the morning at the fortezza that I can't wait to check out. I understand there are shoes there.

Going the antipasti route tonight because I am not that hungry. Nancy, Sue and I have been 'eating responsibly' this last week but I don't want to get burned out. Now I have to choose only 3-4 dishes to try instead of 6 plus. A glass of wine usually helps the decision making process. And I love antipasti. I have also discovered the 'mezza porzione' - half portions - more opportunities for me!

Crespelle di Baccala

I hear only female voices in the kitchen and I ask the waiter about it. He told me there are only women and one girl tonight and that they run a cooking school for foreigners. I may introduce myself. I ordered crepes stuffed with baccala and olive tapenade, and they are huge. Forgot the mezza. They are light and fluffy.,perfect with the salty olive purée and crunchy salad. I like baccala but I don't really want to make a meal out of it, especially after last nights fish parade.

Carciofi & Lardo

My second antipasti is marinated baby artichokes with a crostone of lardo. I have been trying as much lardo as possible. I justify this by matching it dish for dish with insalata verde and remembering my unlimited yoga membership awaiting me when I get home. Spell check does not like the word lardo, it keeps trying to shorten it to lard. I guess that is what it truly is but it sounds so much sexier with the 'o' on the end. The paper-thin sliced lardo melts on the toasted bread and is the perfect balance to the slightly acidic artichokes. It helps the normally wine-shunning artichokes go with the glass of Verdicchio I am drinking.

Crostone di Lardo

Lardo is traditionally served on warm crostini. I have enjoyed it a few times this way. I had it wrapped around porcini and roasted earlier today. But the best presentation I have seen was in Panzano at the maccelieria xxxxx where it was simply piled high on a plate on a buffet table next to the porchetta for all to sample. I tried a bit and it melted in my mouth. The owner/butcher runs a restaurant as well, and I plan to go back there for lunch later in the week.

I am full but the night is young and I feel like I am being short changed if I only order two antipasti. I am seriously considering crossing the street and ordering more wine and antipasti. I cannot end the night with Verdicchio when I am in Tuscany.

Pecorino Tasting

Armed with the waiter's recommendation and a map as small and unobtrusive as possible, I make my way across the Campo to an enoteca, Campagnia del Vinattieri. I am seated at a table where I order the most expensive wine by the glass for 7€, an '03 Brunello and a small cheese plate. I wish there was a bar here. Why can't cool little places like this have bars like Spain or the US? I love chatting with other people. I'm not usually into cheese with wine. I love them both but usually not together, but the 3 types of Sienese pecorino (fresco, mezzo stagianato and stagianato) and Brunello are a fantastic combo and finishes my night off right.

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