CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC
Music – “Arrivederci Roma” from Reader’s Digest Music: The Romantic Strings Play Hit Movie Themes Volume 2 by Romantic Strings. Released: 2007
Ahh….Rome in late September. Too bad I had only one and a half days to enjoy it! It was 1984 and I was waiting for my sister to join me for our flight to Cairo and 10 days in Egypt.
Despite my brief sojourn in Rome, I made the best of it and crammed several local tours into my one and a half days.
Unfortunately, I had little time to experience Roman food, although I did manage to have a fabulous “Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes” lunch at the hotel, in between tours. It was luxurious, accompanied by a glass of local red wine. In one of my cookbooks, “Food of the World – Italy” by Linda Doeser, published in 2003, I found a similar recipe.
The author notes in the book that “Mozzarella is often included in salads, but this recipe from Rome is a more sophisticated version, as befits Italy’s capital city”:
Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(mozzarella alla romana) (serves 4)
5 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (drained weight – save the oil)
1 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely shredded
1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped coarsely
extra olive oil, if necessary
3.5 ounces mixed salad greens (oak leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, etc)
1 pound 2 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced
Put the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, capers, vinegar and garlic in a food processor or blender. Measure the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar and make it up to 2/3 cup with more oil if necessary. Add to the food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with pepper. Divide the salad greens between 4 individual serving plates. Top with the slices of mozzarella and spoon the dressing over them. Serve immediately.
(the author notes that Taleggio or goat milk cheese may be substituted for the mozzarella)
Rome is situated in the Lazio region of Italy, which is a rich, fertile area for growing vegetables. These are usually cooked with liberal amounts of oil, herbs and garlic. Snails are said to be a popular dish in the region, as is pasta, which is usually the larger, chunkier types, such as bucatini. A favorite pasta dish, spaghetti carbonara, comes from this region.
I wish I had a few more days to see more of Rome and to spend some time exploring the diverse culinary regions of Italy. Sigh. Arrivederci, Roma!