Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another perfect ordinary

eggplant and mushroom
Via Torchiarolo, Squignano (Lecce), May 17, 2015—
WE FOUND TONIGHT'S agriturismo completely per caso , by accident: we decided to take a lesser road south from Brindisi (which we'd bypassed entirely) toward Lecce, and simply stop at the first place we saw that sounded good. The first pannello , signboard, by the side of the road promised LA CRIANZA AGRITURISMO. "La Crianza," I mused, that's familiar, I like the sound of that, let's go there.

So we did. We're the only people here tonight, in a building with perhaps six bedrooms, next to a huge building where probably a hundred could dine comfortably, on a 25-acre farm that grows nothing but olive trees. Well, probably a few chickens, and a small orto for the tomatoes and such.

What a meal:
• Green house-cured olives, with pimento and peppers
Melanzane con menta; Cardoncelli: grilled eggplant with sautéed wild mushrooms
Pomodori dell'orto : their own tomatoes, ripe, forward, substantial, meaty
• Stuffed mushroom caps, with polenta-tomato-onion "lasagna"
• "Orecciete" with fennel-sausage, tomato sauce, and mushrooms
Cardoncelli are a kind of local mushroom, highly prized, that grow where you find beach thistles. They're meaty and deep-flavored like porcini, but more intense, They are delicious. They rather deadened our first wine, but married well to the second.
IMG 0297
This meal was similar to the one three days ago, and Montenuovo — very ordinary in technique, very special in flavor. Afterward the man of the house asked me if I hadn't found it rather salty. Yes, I said; and to tell the truth my companion had mentioned that to me while we were eating. But it pushes the wine nicely, I told him, and he chuckled, and I could see him file the comment away for whenever it might come in handy…

white and red in carafe
•Agriturismo La Crianza, via Torchiarolo, Squignano (Lecce); 08155 84006
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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