Last Supper # 7

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Yes, friends, my glorious gluttonous week at The Awaiting Table is coming to an end. It’s been so lovely but, I gotta tell ya, I am filled to the brim with food and wine. I must take a pause on all this eating and drinking! Ahhhhh… 1 dinner and 1 lunch to go…I think I can…I think I can…okay…twist my arm.

The sticky summer heat is most definitely in full swing here, so we wanted to create our final dinner dishes using the least amount of heat in the kitchen. That was the plan anyway. But as you know, plans don’t always go as planned.

I made the eggplant over a hot stove. (this dish should of been called "eggplant with essence of Aria" from all the sweat I accumulated in making them!) Next to me, Ted was sweating a big pan of yellow bell peppers and next to him Giuseppe (another wonderful teacher at the school) was sautéing a pot of string beans…I mean…come on guys! This was probably the MOST heat we made in the kitchen this entire week!

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The only thing that didn’t create any heat was this delicious classic Leccese cold dish called, Capunata. It’s basically a bread salad with fresh vegetables. The difference is, is that they use a local dense hard bread called, Frise Integrali.

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This hard bread has been around for years and originally was eaten by field workers and those who travelled long distances because the bread doesn’t spoil. They would pack it in their bags and when they got hungry traveling along the countryside, or working in the fields, they would forage some wild onions and tomatoes or what ever they could find and soak the hard bread in a fresh stream until soft. And this is still how they consume it today. Rehydrate until soft. I’ve tried it both ways and personally, I like it better crunchy. But then again, I’m American, so what do I know…

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We started with the Antipasti : Eggplant with essence of Aria, olive oil, sea salt, red pepper and fresh mint. And caramelized yellow bell pepper with olive oil, sea salt and finished with breadcrumbs. This was one of my favorite dishes we made. I have never been a fan of the bell peppers. But cooked this way, I do believe I have been converted.

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The primi was the Capunata, which is the bread salad I wrote about above. So it’s the rehydrated bread, tomatoes, cucumber, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, fresh mint, parsley and basil.

The secondi was Coniglio e Pollo con verdure alla griglia - grilled chicken with a raw marjoram lemon olive oil sauce.

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The docli was Pesche al vino, which are roasted peaches in wine and raw sugar. We served it chilled with a sweet vanilla sugar ricotta.

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We had 2 different wines. One was a Rose from Salento called Girofle, 2008. And the other was a red Negroamaro from Salento called Brindisi, 2008.

Ciao Ciao for now.