Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dinner with Chef Tammaso!

Tuesday May 31, 2011

Can you believe it’s already the last day of May?? It’s amazing how time flies.  I missed a whole entire month in Cleveland!!

I would like to begin this entry talking about how incredibly fun dinner was last night!! When we approached Trattaoria Cammillo, Chef Tammaso was waiting for us right outside, eager for our arrival.  He had decided to join us for our entire dinner instead of just a cup of coffee!!  When we sat down at our table for ten we all waited quietly for chef Tammaso to tell us his favorite dishes, beginning with the appetizers, then to pastas, to main dishes, and finally dessert!

For appetizers we ordered white beans with tuna, fried zucchini, pecorino cheese is a crème brulèe style with balsamic, and as a surprise, chef Tammaso ordered some lard for us to try.  No one knew what the lard was, at first.  He had everyone try on a slice of Tuscan bread before telling us.  It was extremely salty and I had no clue what it was.  I didn’t know if I liked it or not. It tasted fine, but knowing that I was eating lard grossed me out a bit.

For the main course Laura and I split fresh fettuccini pasta with procini mushrooms as well as fried lamb with zucchini.  The pasta was amazing!!! The sauce was very light.  The lamb was very tender and wonderful, as well. 

The ten of us also split 3 desserts: tiramisu, pear cake, and a chocolate ganache cake.  All three were wonderful.  I loved the pear cake the best! I had never had anything like it!  After we left Cammillo chef Tammaso insisted that he treat us to Perché-no! gelato.  We were all extremely full, but took him up on his offer. 

This was by far one of my favorite nights here in Italy.  No one expected Chef Tammaso to actually show up to dinner, and even if he did, we did not expect him to stay the entire time, and then treat nine girls to gelato!  I could not have asked for a better class and teacher here in Florence!

entire group with Chef Tammaso

Student and teacher pic

The topic of today’s class was cured meats.  We discussed the difference between prosciutto in Parma and Tuscany.  Parma prosciutto is sweet because it is only kept and cured  for one week, making the prosciutto soft and tender.  Tuscano prosciutto is salty and is kept and cured from one-month to a full year.

We prepared 3 different appetizers using cured meats.  The first was melon and prosciutto, which is a popular summer dish.  The second was gamberoni al lardo (shrimp and lard).  This is a new combination.  Lard used to be used for everything when cooking, such as in soups, stuffing meats, etc… Now it is a delicacy.  It is much more expensive and used in appetizers such as this one.  We cleaned the shrimp, wrapped them in the lard, which was sliced thinly, and placed them on a slice of Tuscan bread to cook in the oven for about 10 minutes.  The third appetizer was Crostini con salsiccia e stracchino (toasted bread with pork sausage and stracchino cheese).

I was the only one to try the shrimp and lard from my group.  It almost reminded me of bacon wrapped shrimp, but a little more salty and greasy.  The melon was wonderful!! So juicy and sweet.  The saltiness of the prosciutto caused the melon to be extra juicy.  The sausage and stracchino was also good, reminding me of a sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich.

This afternoon I am going to lunch with my roommate Becca to what is called The Ganzo.  It is FUA’s “dining hall.”  This evening, our group of nine has a wine tasting scheduled and then we are going to Galleria dell Accademia to see the famous David!


Molly Jean 

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