Before trying to make this dish myself, I had heard so many people rave about how beautiful it was and how well the bitter gorgonzola went with the soft sweet figs and salty prosciutto. When making it myself, I was blown away at how well the flavours worked and how simple it was to make!
1. Slice a fig in the shape of a cross and pry open
2. Place a nob of gorgonzola cheese inside
3. wrap with a slice of prosciutto
4. bake in a 200 degree oven for 8 mins
Who would have thought that a place in Lane Cove would serve Buffalo Mozzarella made in Naples and flown to Australia within the week it was made!! Sometimes I am convinced that in order to experience true Italian food, I have to be in Italy – but apparently not! Via Napoli has to be one of the most authentic Italian places in sydney! As soon as that ball of cheese was sliced down the middle, buffalo milk rushed out and my eyes seemed to pull themselves away from the direction of the provincial wood fired ovens and straight onto the soft, velvety cheese. I felt the same rush of energy that I had felt in Italy, an energy that forced an enthusiasm for the dishes that were to come.
Weirdly, the only pizza I ate on my trip to Italy was in Venice. Dad and I found a restaurant that overlooked the water, and bravely chose to sit outside and soak in the sun, although it was fleeting. The pizza was so simple, yet so good! Crispy, elastic bread covered with shaved prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. It’s these little food experiences, that although not to fancy and not over-exciting, that capture the true essence of the city.
My first experience of Italy was everything I had imagined it to be! Vibrant people flooded the narrow alleyways, occasionally deviating into small delicatessens. It was almost as if Italian grocers only sold prosciutto and parmesan cheese. But It was to my excitement that I experienced the most sublime array of delicatessens the world has to offer – Bologna, being home to some of the best! Enormous cured pig legs rimmed the ceiling of the store, followed by a lower rim of dried Italian sausage. The counters were packed with piles of age old parmesan quarters and below the sectioned off cooler was home to some of the most delicate nona-style tortellini, tortolloni and Ravioli. It was as if every Delicatessen in every alley way was having a full-blown pork-fest. Heaven!
Prosciutto with its soft chewy texture and its rich meaty flavour is one of my favourite things to eat. In a random market in Barcelona, just off La Rumbla, I found many of what I thought was my beloved prosciutto, hanging from the ceilings of delicatessens. But my ignorance was quickly uncovered when I discovered that it wasn’t prosciutto, it was Jamón, much the same as my beloved meat, but also very different. Its rich meaty flavour offered a sense of familiarity, but its firm and dense texture was something other than what I had known. It was even better than the glorious prosciutto! Yes, I said it! It was everything that I had secretly wished prosciutto to be – almost a jerky, but much tastier and much more delicate.