Monday, December 27, 2010
After stuffing ourselves at Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch, it’s family tradition, when we are in Bari, to go out to a restaurant on Boxing Day to have a really big meal. This year was no exception.
We walked down the Lungomare to Il Tavolaccio. (at least we got a walk in) It’s ‘new’. And by ‘new’ I mean it opened 18 years ago. The chef/owner, Minguccio Perrucci, used to work at Il Sorso Preferito (our other favorite restaurant) and decided to open his own, smaller, place, down the road.
Since it was a holiday, they told us there was a limited menu. I guess by limited they meant there were only 20 kinds of antipasti, instead of 30. They also told us it was 30 euros a person, so we might as well just eat all the courses that came our way.
We barely ordered, which is exactly how I like it in a restaurant that I know and love. First a truly endless and delicious array of antipasti that just keep coming until we told them basta. Then a huge padella of orecchiette con le rape. Even though we felt like we couldn’t move at that point, they insisted on a second course, which was four spigole, baked in salt. (see video below)
And, well, since it was all included...we had a few desserts. Including chocolate souffle and sporcamuss made to order. Here follow the highlights. I haven't included the half dozen other vegetable antipasti which were fantastic. And the bruschetta. And the fruit. And...oh, never mind.
A simple seafood salad of boiled octopus, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and parsley.
Thinly sliced roast veal, topped with an oregano-flecked tomato salad. Very lemony and fresh.
I'd never had this before: Cialda. It was a tepid salad of potatoes, tomatoes and basil, with a heavy dose of olive oil. It's usually served stuffed into a big crusty roll, where all the juices soak into the bread.
It was so great to get real deep fried mozzarella. These days most restaurants serve the pre-frozen variety. These were oozing and gooey and great.
Pettole. Fried dough. Need I say more?
Crispy, fried slices of artichokes.
Finally, the primo: Orecchiette con le Rape. Looks easy to make, but hard to get the timing right, since the rape (broccoli greens) cook in the same water as the orrecchiete. They are then tossed in the warm olive oil seasoned with anchovies and garlic.
The main course: Spigola (sea bass) baked in a crust of salt. As you can see, they really bury the things. There are four fish hidden here. The result is not salty at all, but moist and perfectly cooked fish. See the video below for the dramatic unveiling.
Finally dessert. My favorite: sporcamuss. So-called because you can't eat them without getting your muss (mouth) sporca (dirty.) Crispy, freshly baked pasta sfoglia, cut in half and stuffed with a lemony pastry cream. And smothered with powdered sugar.
di Minguccio Perucci
Via Giancomenico Petroni 53
080 558 8636