An American friend called while I was immersed in the preparation of one of my absolutely favorite dishes – stuffed zucchini flowers.
A dish so heavenly that you never forget the first time…I was hot and hungry in Milan, and came across a deep dark ristorante. I entered, and found true love. I still also recall the price tag of that experience, but let’s just say, the ride with this great dish was truly worth the fall.
So he asked, “What are you stuffing them with?”
-- “My favorite – fresh mozzarella and anchovies.”
“Hang on a minute – you emphatically told me that Italians never – never ever – combine cheese & fish.”
And, as my thoughts stretched back to the innumerable plates of shrimp dishes, clam sauteés, and untold ‘frutta di mare’ all peppered with grated cheese – the wait staff too aghast to even look at the rape…I ventured forth:
“Well, I think it’s this dish and like one other one that it’s okay to combine the cheese with the fish. But no others.”
He was unconvinced. And as we debated the anchovies-on-pizza tradition, I know for sure this is one dish that the two flavours combined make for the most mouthwatering marvel.
I still can’t think of the other one, but I know it’s out there. But, as far as ‘La Cucina Italiana’ is concerned, it’s one rule followed by everyone – everyone – north to south. A rule so carved in stone, that you’d think it was the predecessor of the muslim/pork law:
Just because it’s pasta, never grate that parmigiano on that dish with fish. A gastronomical no-no to the nth degree.And one I think might have some health and taste value.
Now back to deep-frying my zucchini flowers. Buonissimi.