"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spiga - July 17, 2010

Capesante con Purea di Asparagi e Aceto Balsamico

In Italy, many vegetable purees are used as sauces for the meat or fish; yet, asparagus puree as the bed for seared scallops was new to me. The searing of the scallops was on the well-done side, which I actually do not mind at all. However, I was slightly troubled by the bitterness of the asparagus puree.

Once someone told me that the problem with the produce in the United States is that the farmers got paid by weight, not by quality per se. Therefore, the heavier the produce, the higher price it would fetch. And, how do you make them heavy? You grow them big and full of water. Naturally, in the case of asparagus, the result is that per gram of asparagus, there will be more water and less asparagus. While this unfortunate trend of watery, gigantic vegetables and fruits is not always the case, it may be applicable to the asparagus used in this puree.

Ravioli de Carciofi con Ragu di Salsicce di Pollo e Ricotta Stagionata

I cut off a corner of one big raviolo and scooped some of the chicken sausage ragu and the tomato and the shaved ricotta stagionata (a.k.a. ricotta salata): Fresh artichokes, lovingly enclosed in a perfectly al dente ravioli dough, happily shone through to mingle with the chicken sausage ragu in my mouth. The delicacy of the artichoke plus the boldness of the ragu, along with a few accents, hm...it was a beautiful dish.

Trancio di Baccala con Purea di Cipolle e Porri Fritti

I have to be honest: This must be one of the best cods (or the very best cod since I cannot remember a better cod; but I just do not want to give up without a thorough search in the deepest corner of my mind - come on, there must have been one in Portugal). The cod was nestled between pureed sweet onion and fried leeks so that two types of onions played against each other on the cod. It was a happy time: Take a bit of cod with the onion puree, take another bite with the leeks, so on and so forth, until, wait, what happened to my cod?
Gelato di Ricotta con Fico

I am guilty: I betrayed my favorite restaurant (it starts with a "C" and ends with a "E," but I trust you will keep my secret, won't you?) just around the corner by coming here (Operation Stealth) and I praised Spiga's dishes, well, minus the scallops, so much... Will I ever be allowed to be back into the good grace of Don Carmine? However, fear not, the gelato at Spiga cannot even kiss the foot of your cousin's churned-by-hand-using-a-50-year-old-antique-machine (is it really true?). I liked the figs, but I also like the figs I stew in my own kitchen in red wine.

Strudel di Pere e Noci con Gelato alla Cannella e Salsa allo Zenzero

Don't I hate a soggy pie crust? I recommend apprenticing at Cafe Sabarsky to figure out how the strudel stays so flaky after 12 hours.

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