I had polenta for the first time this season on Saturday. My mother and Dan have been visiting us from Madison and Fabrizio suggested we go eat polenta a village over from his.
Polenta is basically corn meal mush, but tastier than it sounds. The Veneto region (where Venice and Verona are) is best known for it, but it’s also common in much of the central Apennines. (I will talk about polenta later on as it’s considered more of a winter food.)
The grey haired men in the tiny little neighborhood restaurant served it to us on traditional rectangular, cutting-board like wooden platters instead of plates and we alternated tomato and sausage and tomato and wild boar sauces on top. All that we had to do was sprinkle grated pecorino cheese over it all and, a few drops, for those who wanted it, of homemade hot pepper olive oil.
Afterwards we were back at Fabrizio’s to show my parents around and give them information on hiking and cooking experiences he organizes in the area for groups of
English speakers. If you’re too impatient to wait for my description of them, you can see what they are like on the http://www.vacationinrome.it/ (and click on “program”).
Just before dusk, as rain clouds rolled over the mountain ridge across from us like slow motion foamy waves we spotted two trees of limoncello apple trees that somehow still had a few apples on them. We snapped up two buckets and went down the slope to pick them before the rain, our hiking boots freeing up the aroma of wild mint as the first few drops of rain came down. They were full of spots and scars and some of them had been pecked at by birds, but Fabrizio reminded us of what his father would always say: “Se era buono per il verme, è buono per te”
If it was good enough for the worm, it’s good for you too.
Diced apples are simmering on the stove as I write this and I’m trying to decide between chestnut flower honey or cinnamon.