Friday, April 23, 2010

A day on the Farm then we ate the critters

We went to the "factory farm" of C. Bianca. They have a huge production staff of about six people. It was Great, they raise sheep and cows on the farm that we went to and cooperate with another farm which has Goats. Their main product is, of course, cheese. Robiola to be exact but the particular type of cheese that they produce in a given day is determined by the milk which is available to them. If they have milked sheep they make peccorino if they have goats milk they make goat cheese, they mix the milks and and make cheese out of that. It really was an interesting place. I'll leave out the technical process for the sake of sanity because honestly all cheese is made the same way. But interestingly enough their blue cheese is innoculated with penicillin and I discovered today that I am still allergic to penicillin. and the cheese that I ate ended up in the plumbing of the castle.

After lunch we went into the demonstration kitchen where we were learned about Meat. Our Guest Chef was the Executive Chef of La Bettula in Turin, Franco Giacomino. This is a man who knows his meat he was the first truly fat Italian that I have seen since I've been here but his food was so good I could not blame the man for his size. The first dish we started was Caprelle al Forno, Oven roasted Goat, With Lightning fast speed and eficiency that can only come from years of practice Franco broke down the goat from whole beast to the five essential cuts and reserving the offal into a neat pile on the side of the cutting board. The shanks Legs and Ribs were then seared off, draped with lardo(Italian Belly fat of a pig, a lot like Fatty Bacon), and placed into a roasting pan and into the oven 160 degrees C. for about an hour and a half. The end result was a moist and juicy meat that fell off the bone and melted in the mouth.

The Next dish was Guinea Fowl with a sauce made for Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Honey, Butter and Green Peppercorns. The Guinea Fowl was nice and moist slightly more flavorful than chicken. But the true star of this dish is the Vinegar reduction sauce. It was amazing, a simple sauce that I will most surely take with me, I would use it on almost any meat it was balanced and the whole peppercorn would explode with spice to counter the sweetness that the balsamic takes on as it reduces with the honey. The sauce was nothing short of divine making Chef Franco in my eyes a Fat little angel sent down to satisfy our gustatory desires and enlighten us to the ways of meat cookery.

As the Goat and Fowl roasted slowly in the oven Franco put some stock on to boil with a little bit of cream, olive oil and salt. This would be the base for a Polenta that was taught to make in the first restaurant that he worked in where, in the traditional italian and therefore the best method, cooked the polenta in a steel lined copper pan over a wood fire. The flour was typical of the piedmont region,we learned that as you go from west to east the grain of the polenta flour gets finer and finer. The piemontese was like coarse sand which meant that the cooking time would be slow. When the polenta reached the desired thick pasty consistency Chef Franco added diced fontina and another sharp cheese the name of which eludes me at the moment. Another simple dish that was simply amazing.

The last dish we made was Filleto di Meiale, Pork lion which was covered with a mix of herbs and lardo finely minced into a paste. This paste waas spread on the seared pork loin and secured with Caul Fat, which is the lining of a cows stomach. It looks like a spider web of fat with windows in it. But when you bake the meat it keeps everything together and dissolves into the meat an amazing little natural tool that I hadn't seen employed since culinary school but Chef Franco uses it everyday in his restaurant. it's too bad his restaurant is in Turin or i might have tried for my extern there but he says he's already got a full boat with three Japanese and one Canadian. oh well. thats about all I got for this entry stay tuned

1 comment:

  1. Totally forgot to mention the Villeto alla Milanese. a Veal chop tenderized breaded and fried in clarified butter. The chop was crispy on the outside tender and juicy on the inside. Not overcooked and seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper. Simple yet amazing just like most things Italian