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Italian Cook Book, The

114

ASPARAGUS

(Sparagi)

Asparagus can be prepared in many different ways, but the simplest and best is that of boiling them and serving them seasoned with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. However there are other ways as, for instance, the following: Put them whole to brown a little with the green part in butter and, after seasoning them with salt, pepper and a pinch of grated cheese, pour over the melted butter when it is browned. Or else divide the white from the green part and place them as follows in a fireproof plate: Dust the bottom with grated cheese and dispose over the points of the asparagus one near the other; season with salt, pepper, grated cheese and little pieces of butter. Make another layer of asparagus and, seasoning in the same way, continue until you have them. Be moderate in the seasoning. Cross the layers of asparagus like a trestle, put on the oven and keep until the seasoning, is melted. Serve hot.

If you have some brown stock, parboil them first and complete the cooking with brown stock, adding a little bust and dusting moderately with grated cheese.

115

FISH WITH BREAD CRUMBS

(Pesce col pane grattato)

This, which can also be served as a side-dish, is made especially when you have boiled fish of good quality left over.

Cut it into little pieces, remove carefully all the bones, then put it in the balsamella (No. 54) and season with enough salt, grated cheese and some mushrooms chopped fine. If dried mushrooms soften in water first. Then take a fireproof plate, grease it evenly with butter and dust with bread crumbs ground fine; pour into it the fish prepared as above and cover with a thin layer of bread crumbs. Finally put over a piece of butter, brown in the oven and serve hot.

116

STEWED FISH CUTLETS

(Pesce a taglio in umido)

The fish that can be used for this dish are the tunny, the umber or grayling, the sword fish and any piece of fish of large size and good savor. A pound may be sufficient for four or five persons.

Remove the scales, clean and dry well, dip in flour and put to brown in a little oil. Remove dry, throw away the oil that remains and clean the saucepan. Make a hash, chopped very fine, with half a middle sized onion, a piece of white celery and a good pinch of parsley. Put this to brown on the fire with sufficient oil and season with salt, pepper and one whole clove. When it is browned put abundant tomato sauce (No 12) or tomato paste diluted in broth or water. Let it simmer for a while, then place the fish to complete the cooking, turning it over frequently. The fish must be served with this thick gravy that ought to be abundant.

117

WHITING WITH ANCHOVY SAUCE

(Merluzzo alla Palermitana)

Take one whiting, one pound or a little more, and trim all the fins, leaving the tail and the head. Split it to remove the bone, and season with a little salt and pepper. Turn it on the back, grease with oil, season with salt and pepper, dust with bread crumbs then lay it with two tablespoonfuls of oil on a fireproof plate or baking tin.

Take three or four good sized anchovies, bone and clean them, chop them and put on the fire with two tablespoonfuls of oil, but do not allow it to boil. With this sauce cover the back of the fish and dust it all with bread crumbs, putting also some leaves of rosemary. Bake in the oven, allowing a little crust to form over, but see that it doesn't dry up, pouring over to this purpose more oil. Before removing from the tin squeeze half a lemon over.

This dish can be served surrounded by little toast with caviar, or anchovies and butter.

118

STEWED EEL

(Anguille in umido)

For this dish it is preferable to have good sized eels that must not be skinned, but cut in small pieces.

Chop some onion and parsley, put it on the fire with oil, salt, and pepper, and when the onion is browned, add the pieces of eel. Wait until it has absorbed the taste of the onion sauce and then complete the cooking with tomato sauce (No. 12).

See that there is plenty of gravy and serve with little squares or diamonds of toast.

119

EELS WITH PEAS

(Anguille coi piselli)

Cook the eels as above with the onion sauce and when it is cooked remove it dry to cook the green peas in the sauce. The pieces of eel should be put back in the sauce to be warmed. No tomato sauce is necessary here.

120

MUSSELS WITH EGG SAUCE

(Arselle in salsa d'uovo)

A good washing with fresh water is sufficient for mussels that do not have any sand to be cleaned away. Put them on the fire with a sauce of oil, garlic, parsley and a pinch of pepper. Shake them and keep the saucepan covered seeing that they do not absorb all of the sauce. Take them out when they are open and prepare the following sauce: one or more yolks of egg, according to the quantity, lemon juice, one teaspoonful of flour, broth and some of their own juice. Cook this sauce until it becomes a smooth cream and pour it on the mussels when they are served.

121

MUSSELS WITH TOMATO SAUCE

(Arselle alla livornese)

Chop fine half an onion and put it on the fire with oil and a pinch of pepper. When the onion begins to brown add a pinch of parsley chopped not very fine and after put in the mussels with tomato sauce (No. 12) or tomato paste diluted in water. Shake them often and when they are open, put them over slices of toast prepared beforehand and arranged on a plate.

122

CODFISH

(Baccalá)

I

Freshen and soak the codfish in cold water, changing the water two or three times, or, better, keeping it for some time in a vase under running cold water. Then cut it into pieces as large as the palm of the hand and dip them in flour until they are well covered. Then put a kettle or a saucepan on the fire with plenty of oil and two or three cloves of garlic, whole but a little crushed. When the garlic begins to brown put in the codfish and brown it on both sides, stirring it often, so that it doesn't burn. Salt is not necessary, or at least only a little after tasting, but a little pepper will not be amiss. Finally pour over some tomato sauce (No. 12) or tomato paste diluted in water, let it boil a little more and serve.

123

II

The following is another way to prepare the codfish, slightly different from the preceding. Cut the codfish as above, then put it as it is in saucepan with some olive oil. Spread over it a hash of garlic and parsley and season with a pinch of pepper, oil and little pieces of butter. Cook on a good fire and turn it with care, because, not being sprinkled with flour, it breaks easily. When it is cooked, squeeze a lemon over and serve.

124

FRIED CODFISH

(Baccalá fritto)

Place the codfish on the fire—after washing as explained in No. 107—in a kettle with cold water and as salt, and as soon as the water boils, remove the codfish.

After boiling cut it in little pieces and remove all the bones. Sprinkle some flour and dip in a frying paste composed of water, flour and a little oil. Fry in oil and serve hot.

125

CODFISH CROQUETTES

(Cotolette di baccalá)

Boil as explained above and, if the quantity is one pound or a little more put together two anchovies and some parsley, chopping everything together very fine. Add some pepper, a tablespoonful of grated cheese, three or four tablespoonfuls of pap, composed of bread crumbs in large pieces, water and butter, and two eggs. Give the compound the form of several flat cutlets, dip them in beaten egg and in ground bread crumbs. Fry in oil and serve with lemon, or tomato sauce.

126

FRIED DOG-FISH

(Palombo fritto)

Cut the dog-fish in slices, not very thick, and place it in a plate with beaten eggs somewhat salted. Leave for some hours until half an hour before frying, dip the slices in a mixture of bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic and parsley chopped fine, salt and pepper. A clove of garlic is sufficient for one pound of fish. Fry in oil and serve with lemon.

127

STEWED DOG-FISH

(Palombo in umido)

Cut the dog-fish in rather big pieces and then make a hash of garlic, parsley and very little onion. Put this hash on the fire with oil and when it is sufficiently browned, put the pieces of dog-fish and season with salt and pepper. When the fish is cooked pour over some tomato sauce (No. 12), let this simmer for a while, then serve.

128

ROAST-BEEF

(Arrosto)

Although roast-beef is not an Italian dish, still it is prepared in a peculiar way by the Italians, and hence this recipe finds its place here.

To obtain a good roast-beef not less than two pounds ought to be cooked on a strong fire. It ought to be covered with good olive oil and finally with cup of soup stock which with the oil and the juice from the meat will form a rich gravy. Salt it only when it is half cooked and do it moderately, because the beef is already tasty by itself.

Put it on the fire half an hour before the soup is served and the meal begins. This will be sufficient if the piece is not very big. To ascertain the cooking prick it in the bigger part with a thin larding-pin, but not often, in order not to allow too much juice to escape. The juice must neither be of the color of the blood nor too dark.

If baked it is to be seasoned with salt, oil and a piece of butter, surrounded by raw potatoes peeled. Pour in the kettle a cup of broth or of water. If you do not like cold roast beef, cut it into slices and warm with butter and brown stock or tomato sauce.


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