Citizens, I the dazzling urban warrior who alone is TFD!, today would like to share a recipe from the great city of New York, by way of Naples and the Italian immigrants who came to this mighty metropolis! Lard bread includes meat, cheese and seasonings, all nobly enrobed by a delicious bread ring!
Neapolitan cuisine has ancient historical roots that date back to the Greco-Roman period, which was enriched over the centuries by the influence of the different cultures that controlled Naples and its kingdoms, such as that of Aragon and France.
Since Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of Naples, its cuisine took much from the culinary traditions of all the Campania region, reaching a balance between dishes based on rural ingredients (pasta, vegetables, cheese) and seafood dishes (fish, crustaceans, mollusks).
A vast variety of recipes is influenced by the local aristocratic cuisine, such as timballo and the sartù di riso (it), pasta or rice dishes with very elaborate preparation, and dishes from popular traditions prepared with inexpensive but nutritionally healthy ingredients, like pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans) and other pasta dishes with vegetables.
Naples has a history that goes back many centuries: the city itself predates many others in that area of the world, including Rome. It has endured the Greeks, Romans, the Plague, and dozens of successions of kings from France and Spain and each culture left a mark on the way food is prepared in Naples and Campania itself.
Finding the connections between modern and Greco-Roman culinary traditions is not always easy. Among the traces of classical culinary tastes, plates from the period of Greek rule found in Magna Graecia (southern Italy) depict fishes and mollusks, an indication that seafood was appreciated during that period. Frescoes from Pompeii depict fruit baskets filled with (figs and pomegranates). An excavation at Oplontis in the Villa Poppaea shows a fresco of a cake, the ingredients of which are not yet known.
The Roman garum is the ancient sauce most similar to that used for the modern Colatura di Alici, typical of Cetara. It can be traced back to the sweet-sour taste typical of the Roman cooking described by Apicius, along with the use of raisins in salty dishes, like the pizza di scarola (endive pie), or the braciole al ragù (meat rolls in ragù sauce).
The use of wheat in the modern pastiera cake, typical of Easter, could have had originally a symbolic meaning, related to cults of Artemis, Cybele and Ceres and pagan rituals of fertility, celebrated around the Spring equinox. The name struffoli, a Christmas cake, comes from the Greek word στρόγγυλος (stróngylos, meaning “round-shaped”).
The Spanish and French sovereignty in Naples initiated the difference between the cuisine of the aristocrats and that of the poorer classes. The former was characterized by elaborate, more cosmopolitan, dishes, and a greater number of expensive ingredients, including meat. The poor used foods that were cheaper and could be grown locally (that is, cereals and vegetables). These were embellished over the centuries and came into contact with the influence of the aristocratic cuisine, so that today traditional recipes of the poorer classes have often acquired great quality and taste, while preserving the original simple ingredients.
The nutritional value of the napolitan cuisine was discovered by the American epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the 1950, being later often mentioned by epidemiologists as one of the best examples of the Mediterranean diet.
Tòrtano Napoletano is made year round, and has become a beloved Italian and Italian-American treat. My version is especially luxurious with its use of four different cured meats, four different cheeses and utilizing the colors of the Italian flag – red-colored lardo, green colored lardo and white bread! This is a dish of nostalgia and is even better reheated the next day, Citizens! Don’t skip the bread enhancer, it really makes a difference!
Battle on – The Generalissimo