SALADS & VEGETABLES Recipes
ARMIDA’S STICKY TOMATO FRITTATA
Armida had all sorts of tomatoes growing in her garden, and combined them with celery leaves to create earthy-sweet dishes. This frittata (a crustless Italian quiche) pays homage to these flavors, and to the prevalence of pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese) in the hills of Lunigiana. To make the frittata, I slowly dry oiled, cut tomatoes; this is lovely to do under a hot summer sun, but is also easily accomplished in a low-temperature oven. The rich and sticky tomatoes are an integral part of the frittata, but also make for a delicious addition or garnish to many other dishes.
CHARD-SESAME BALLS WITH RED ONION JAM
Although Carluccia was not accustomed to cooking in the early afternoon, when I went to say good-bye she pulled these emerald-green polpette di bietola (chard balls) piping hot from her oven. Out came some Tropean red onion marmellata (jam) and a fizzy glass of the family’s red wine to accompany them. It was the perfect, verdant last treat with Carluccia, and she sent me off with an extra paper bag filled with them for the long plane ride home.
ROASTED LEEKS WITH EGGS AND OLIVES
This appetizer dish is a tribute to the three foods Armida loved most from her farm: alliums (members of the onion/garlic family), eggs, and olives. In particular, Armida favored alliums, always growing many varieties of them to add to soups and sauces, and to pound into pesto for testaroli. One of my favorite ways to eat leeks is slowly roasted in a cooling wood-burning oven until they become crispy and slightly sweet. Roasting them in a regular oven produces a very similar effect, one that is complemented perfectly by a dip into a soft-boiled egg and a bite of salty olive. These leeks are rich, and make for a somewhat addictive and unusual hors d’oeuvre.