Post image for [1st course] Poor man’s Cristmas Eve dinner: Amouse bouche – Istrian lard spread

[1st course] Poor man’s Cristmas Eve dinner: Amouse bouche – Istrian lard spread

by Gogo on December 12, 2011

in Antipasti,EatIstria Recipes

This year the crisis is back in Italy and Croatia. So, I decided to share with you this year’s menu for a nice Christmas Eve dinner prepared with produces that do not cost much.

Christmas snow on Istrian highway
Christmas snow on Istrian highway near Pula – Božićni snijeg na istarskom ipsilonu blizu Pule

Ove godine kriza pokazuje svoje zube i u Hrvatskoj i u Italiji. Tako sam odlučio podijeliti s vama moj ovogodišnji krizni meni za lijepu predbožićnu večeru gdje sam osobito pazio da se na namirnice ne potroši puno.

Hrvatska verzija

Pasta rolls with Baccalà mantecatoOn Christmas Eve I usually make a dinner for my closest friends while their job is to bring some good wines. This dinner, established six years ago when I came back from Switzerland, we all wait with the same passion as when we waited Santa Claus in the kindergarten. I usually prepare five to seven courses that I invent few months before and they are mostly my reinterpretation of traditional Istrian dishes.
Roasted duck with bacon and wild orangesFor the main course I like to move to the continental Croatia or the French Sud-Ouest so I usually prepare roasted duck with bitter oranges or roasted goose with pears.

This year the crisis is back in Italy and Croatia and we all have to find alternative ways to spend less but enjoy equally or even more the upcoming Christmas holidays. This is why I decided to share with you this year’s menu for a fancy Christmas Eve dinner prepared with produces that do not cost much. It is very important that the key ingredients for this menu you buy not in a supermarket but from a local farmer. Everybody knows that they taste better and moreover by buying them you support the local economy.

The first course is very simple – Istrian lard spread (Istarski pešt) on toasted bread.

Pešt can be also considered as natural Istrian flavor enhancer because only it is indispensable in preparation of Istrian maneštra (traditional thick soup) and gives it that particular flavor. Some people say pešt is identical to Slovenian zaseka but I wouldn’t agree with that.

Take a piece of good (important!) lard from a farmer you trust and start cutting it with a good knife with few garlic cloves and fresh parsley until you get a smooth spread. It is important to avoid any kind of food processor otherwise you will get a paté of an unwelcome “gluey” consistencz. It is important that the texture is chunky, that you feel the lard chunks under your teeths.

Grbac sparkling winePut the spread on warm bread that has just been toasted for few minutes in a hot oven in grill mode. Excellent as an amuse-bouche to be eaten while your guests are still arriving. Wine? Try excellent and fair priced sparkling wine from Anton Grbac in Vrh or some young Teran from 2011 that you can buy from a local winemaker in Istria. The bubbles or Teran’s high acidity will easily wash out all the fat that might remain in the mouth and make you crave for another bite.

Do you have idea what will be the next course?

Istrian lard paté - Istarski pešt
Istrian lard paté – Istarski pešt on toasted bread

Young teran and Istrian lard paté - pešt
Young teran and Istrian lard paté – pešt

Pasta rolls with Baccalà mantecatoNa Viliju Bojžu, kako se u Istri kaže Badnjak, za najdraže prijatelje radim večeru a oni meni donesu vina. Tu užancu, koja se nekako sama ustanovila prije šest godina kada sam se vratio iz Švicarske, svi iščekujemo sa istim žarom kao kad smo nekad iščekivali Djeda Mraza u vrtiću. Obično pripremim pet do čak sedam slijedova koje izmaštam mjesecima prije a najčešče budu moj pokušaj reinterpretacije tradicionalnih istarskih jela.

Roasted duck with bacon and wild orangesZa glavno jelo se ipak volim pomaknuti na našeg kontinenta ili francuski Sud-Ouest pa obično radim punjenu pa pečenu patku s gorkim narančama ili gusku s kruškama.

Ove godine kriza pokazuje svoje zube i u Hrvatskoj i u Italiji pa nam svima valja naći načine kako potrošiti manje a jednako uživati. Tako sam odlučio podijeliti s vama moj ovogodišnji krizni meni za fensi šmensi predbožićnu večeru gdje sam osobito pazio da se na namirnice ne potroši puno. Poželjno je da ključne sastojke nabavite direktno od nekog lokalnog seljaka a ne u supermarketu. Već i vrapci na grani znaju da su nula km namirnice boljeg okusa i da njihovom kupnjom pomažete lokalne ekonomiju.

Prvo jelo je vrlo jednostavno – istarski pešt na prepečencu.

Pešt se može zvati i prirodna istarska vegeta jer tek s dodatkom njega istarska maneštra poprima onaj iskonski tek. Neki bi rekli da je to u biti slovenska zaseka ali meni je ipak drugačijeg okusa.

Dobru domaću, tek nešto malo prošaranu slaninu isjeckajte što sitnije oštrim nožem zajedno sa par češnjeva češnjaka i svježim peršinom. Važno je ne koristite električna pomagala za sjeckanje jer će se sve pretvoriti u paštetu ljepljive konzistencije. Bitno je da tekstura ostane “komadićasta”, da se komadići slanine još osjete pod zubima.

Grbac sparkling wineNamažite namaz na još tople fete kruha koje ste istostirali par minuta u pećnici u grill modu. Poslužit će kao prigrizak koji se jede s nogu dok ljudi još dolaze. Vino uz pešt? Preporučam odličan a povoljan pjenušac od Antona Grbca iz Vrha ili neki mladi teran iz ovogodišnje berbe, kupljen od lokalnog seljaka dakako, koji će svojim kiselinama isprati svu mast iz vaših ustiju i učiniti vas žudnim za novim zalogajem.

Znate li što pripremam za drugi slijed?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Clem December 13, 2011 at 19:56

Looking forward to the other dishes!

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