VENETO MACELLAIO - step by step instructions

The Veneto spans much of north-east Italy, from Venice itself on the shores of the Adriatic all the way to the foothills of the Dolomites. So too does our menu; scallops from the sea, pig braised in milk from further inland, and tiramisu from god-knows-where, depending on whose story you believe, but certainly somewhere in the Veneto, probably. This is rich and hearty fare for the coldest months of the year; a final wintry celebration before the lean months of early spring. 

Baked scallops with parmesan, lemon & thyme
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Maiale al latte
Wet polenta, butter & parmesan
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Tiramisù

 

For your meal you will need:

A tray for baking the scallops

A lidded saucepan for warming the pork, and a second saucepan for the polenta

The detailed recipes for the dishes are below, but in essence:

  • Put the pork in a saucepan with its liquid, cover with a lid, and heat on a low flame
  • Pop the scallops on a baking tray, dot with butter & crumbs, and slip into a hot oven for 5-6 minutes, then eat
  • Warm the polenta, then beat in butter and parmesan
  • Eat this, with the pork
  • Decide you’re too full for dessert, then change your mind and scoff the tiramisu

Baked scallops with breadcrumbs & parmesan

Italians will tell you there is a cardinal rule that seafood must never, ever, be served with cheese. What they don’t tell you is that they’re really not very good at obeying them. Here we have a rule-breakingly good dish of scallops baked with parmesan crumbs, scented with lemon zest and thyme. Mum’s the word.

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • Two fat scallops, on the half shell
  • A little butter
  • Some Breadcrumbs, flavoured with parmesan, lemon zest & thyme
  • Half a lemon

 Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to maximum
  • Season the scallops with salt & pepper, then dot with the butter
  • Loosely mound the breadcrumbs atop, then pop into the oven
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the crumbs are crisp and golden
  • Serve with the lemon

Maiale al latte

Pork braised in milk is a classic dish of the northern Veneto; cooked long and slowly with a little soffrito, bay leaves and sage, and gentle spicing – cinnamon & nutmeg – the milk curdles into a thin but superlative sauce, and the proteins in the milk and meat do something wonderful to each other – and to you! It is rich and comforting and delicious and complex and homely and exciting all at once. 

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • A GENEROUS chunk of pork shoulder, braised with milk and other bits & bobs
  • Some very coarse yellow polenta
  • Butter & parmesan

Directions:

  • Place the pork and its sauce in a saucepan, cover with a lid and warm gently
  • Loosen with a splash of milk or water if it begins to look a little dry
  • Meanwhile, place the polenta in another saucepan and heat over a medium flame, adding a splash of water to loosen and whisking till smooth and hot
  • When it is bubbling gently, beat in the butter and parmesan
  • Spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the pork and its sauce

Tiramisù

There is something insanely satisfying about retro foods, and tiramisù is no exception. It is almost the definition of a cliché dessert – very safe… and very vanilla, to couch it in a bedroom term. It is hard to describe my delight when I learned its origins are not so salubrious as one might imagine. Tira-mi-sù means ‘pick me up’ – a rather charming name for a cheery pudding, spiked as it is with espresso. The academy of tiramisù (yes, there is such a thing – Italy treats its culinary heritage with due import, and every dish of note has its own guild or knighthood or foundation) tells a different story: ‘… this dessert was invented by a clever “maitresse” of a house of pleasure in the centre of Treviso. The “Siora” who ran the premises developed this aphrodisiac dessert to offer to customers at the end of the evening in order to reinvigorate them and solve the problems they may have had with their conjugal duties on their return to their wives.’ Not such a frumpy dessert after all...

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • A tiramisù, to share

Directions:

  • Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before eating, to take the edge off
  • Spoon gently onto plates, then eat