THE TERRITORY KITCHEN: TWO STEPS IN THE PAST
(topic treated by Giuseppe Mardecheo – Chef of the Ligure Blue Restaurant)
Everything is known about Genoese and Ligurian cuisine, and more than anything else. Daughter of an arid and rather poor territory, it combines the flavours of the sea with those of the hinterland. The hinterland that stretches as far as the Ligurian Apennines, blends and confuses the traditions and culture of the lower Piedmont, of neighboring Provence, of Sardinia and even Arab, fruit of the historic incursions of the Saracens.
THE LIGURIA therefore is not only pesto and fried seafood, it is a combination of wild and cultivated aromatic herbs, porcini mushrooms, game, local cheeses, the aroma of its wines and the unmistakable and unique aroma of its oil.
From ancient times come the aromas of delicate stuffed vegetables and those preserved in glass jars, marinated anchovies with lemon, flour pasta (without egg) such as trofie and croxetti, sea fry with squid, prawns , the anchovies and small fish of paranza, of the rabbit with pine-nuts and olives and of the roast wild boar, of the vegetable pansotti with walnuts sauce, of the “Pasqualina” pie with the artichokes of the Albenga valley and of the inevitable pesto made with the basil with small leaves, pounded with a mortar.
The cuisine of our territory is the perfect combination of poor products of our land and gifts of the sea, the basis of many known and less known recipes that offer a healthy, but never common, table.
Some recipes are almost forgotten, tasty recipes, elaborate and generally inexpensive, which perhaps is not bad to remember because it is synonymous with the specificity of our wonderful territory. Some examples?
The onion soup, which is so popular in France, finds delicious variations in the West Liguria side, as well as the ways of cooking the snails that we call « gi », which have nothing to envy to the most titled and well-known French escargot .
Every place in the West Liguria side offers a range of gastronomic proposals ranging from ravioli filled with nettle or borage, to pumpkin jam, olive leaf extract, pumpkin cream, breaded anchovies and the « spuncia curente » small and tender calamaries, nowadays become a gem for the gastronomic preparations, with the wild mushrooms of Calizzano, the fried green tomatoes, the artichoke fritters or the gianchetti (baby anchovies, currently replaced by other very small fishes of the gulf because fishing of the baby anchovies is no longer allowed), to the spinach pie with rice, al “cundiun” or “condiglione” of green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives and tuna in oil that reminds the niçoise salad (nicoise).
Poor food, but very tasty, admirable jewels of the cuisine that is not bad to remember in order not to fade over time the historical memory of this incredible region.
With the proliferation of the trade of the Maritime Republic of Genoa, the Ligurian cuisine is enriched with foods such as stockfish and cod, products of very far countries that will give life to new recipes like the “buridda”. Foods like chickpeas from Egypt and Turkey, the base of the famous “farinata”. Poor products, from the farms of southern Piedmont like the tripe that in Liguria is prepared very lightly because it is seasoned with oil, pine-nuts and mountain potatoes.
Our Chef Giuseppe Mardecheo is inspired by these recipes, offering some traditional dishes, revisited in a modern key, combining new cooking methods with new trends and preferences. His culinary proposals are always light, fragrant and at the same time elaborated and presented in a creative way. They are dishes prepared with care and attention, with high quality raw materials and zero kilometers.