Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Little eggplant and tomato towers

Italy has only had so-called celebrity chefs for about a generation. Here is one I've just now discovered, and intend to follow.

His name is Guerrino (isn't that cute?) Maculan, and he has a world of experience, being a gentleman of a certain age, who started cooking very young and comes from a family of cooks. Although he is from the Veneto in Northern Italy, he has convincingly embraced national and even international influences. He has a TV show called Guerrino consiglia (Guerrino recommends.) Many videos from the show are on YouTube.

You can probably follow this recipe even if you don't know Italian. But here are a few pointers, just in case.

Ungere- literally, anoint. He says to barely cover the pan bottom with olive oil.

Extra-vergine- he uses extra-virgin olive oil.

Salare- Guerrino pre-salted the eggplant to remove the amaro (bitterness), but he reminds us that very fresh eggplant need not be pre-treated (there is considerable controversy on this important matter.)

Spessore- thickness. The eggplant slices should be a little over one centimeter (half an inch).

Girare- turn.

Sciogliere- to melt- the towers are grilled only long enough for the mozzarella to melt.

Also look for these food-related words as he's speaking:

padella, cuocere, tagliare, antipasto, vegetariano, primo, secondo, stuzzichino, fette, piatto, forno, goccino, sale, pepe, forno, grill.

I'll be featuring other videos from Guerrino, which I'll comment on and for which I'll provide some help for your Italian comprehension.

The real, live Guerrino can be found cooking at his restaurant near Vicenza, which you can virtually visit here. Ah, I'd like to be there right now (even though I just had lunch.)