Each time a take a look at a restaurant menu, my eyes, mind and heart linger in the first course section for an extended amount of time. It's really hard for me to decide just one...so I usually opt for two or even three assaggini-mini portions. Like a recent visit to check out the summer menu at Palazzo Petrucci. Chef Lino Scarallo pleased my eyes and palate with these three dishes.
Tortelli stuffed with mussels, spollichini beans, and spring onions.
Potato gnocchi with cappuccio cabbage, oysters and lime.
Spaghettone with creamy zucchini, smoked mackerel, grated egg yolk and orange peel.
Just three months after my last visit, I was back at Palazzo Petrucci. Back to the Michelin starred restaurant that has enjoyed its position on the beach since its move in January 2016. This time I was curious to try Chef Lino Scarallo's summer menu. A summer menu that included this insalata di mare - this seafood salad. Scarallo broke it down, spreading out each tasty bite around a multicolored dish.
The chef added sea algae chips and dipping sauces made from sfusato lemons from the Amalfi Coast and there you have it.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, I was in Irpinia earlier in the week at Marenna'. Here's a look at three appetizers from Michelin starred Chef Paolo Barale's summer 2016 menu.
Insalata di rinforzo or reinforcement salad. The chef's version has escarole, anchovies, and a small red pepper stuffed with creamed salt cod.
Cod popped up again, being quite popular in the area, but this time vapor cooked, an orange sour cream, sweet peas, and crunchy prosciutto ham.
Then a pleasant surprise that the chef accompanied to my table himself. After a nod and a smile, he asked me if I liked tartare. Because this dish was the chef's play on the famous pear and ricotta flavor mix. Beef tartare, ricotta and hazelnuts, and black truffles.
I decided to escape the summer heat for awhile and head to Irpinia. Tucked away in the hills of Sorbo Serpico is the Feudi di San Gregorio winery and the Michelin starred restaurant, Marenna'. There Chef Paolo Barrale served me some incredible dishes including this first course. Let's take a closer look.
My early memories of tuna include that famous chicken of the sea theme song. Maybe that's why I enjoy hanging out in the kitchen when the catch of the day arrives and the chef gets to work. Like on this particular day at Osteria 1861 located on the waterfront in Santa Maria Di Castellabate. On that particular day, Chef Antonio Tafuro began to clean and fillet an incredible yellow fin tuna. The chef brainstormed aloud about what dishes he may prepare. So what did he decide? I'm curious as well!.
So what do you do at lunch between dishes? Look down at your phone? Look up on the walls? At my little table for one in the kitchen at Dani Maison, I decided to look up..and look around.
I was greeted by the glaze of a mini Pulcinella interpreted by Neapolitan artist Antonio Nocera. A glance inviting me to get up and really look around. I did. For a good close look at the dining room which could also be considered a min art gallery featuring more of the artist's work.
From Pulcinella and the rest of his carnevale friends, to nesting birds. In the dining room, and later speckled around the restaurant's garden.
A few moments later, I found my way back to my table and looked up. Did I see a little smile from that mini statuette?
Maybe, maybe not, but I decided to smile back anyway.
My next dish was on its way.
Torsiello. A name that has been on my blog quite often over the last few months. A visit to the Michelin starred restaurant Osteria Arbustico pulled me out of my writers block back in April. A recent visit last month gave me more material and a sneak peek at the young brothers, Tomas and Cristian's latest dream - opening a trattoria 5 km from their restaurant. A dream not to be viewed as a cash cow, but an opportunity to share his cuisine with tourists and locals in his beloved hometown,Valva. The grand opening of Al Mulinowas scheduled for tomorrow evening. I, like many of his friends was excited to see what the chef and his staff would have in store for us.
Last night, a group of arsonist tried to burn down that sogno.
They tried, by breaking in, pouring gasoline on the chairs and tables and then setting fire to the Torsiello dream.
Instead they only fueled a fire of solidarity around this young chef and all his staff...
A name that has been on my mind, my blog and my heart the last few months. The south shall rise again...