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Posts tagged ‘brassicas’

Cime di Rapa—You’re the Top

A field of cime di rapa at the Saturday market in nearby Ostuni.

A field of cime di rapa at the Saturday market in nearby Ostuni.

One of the more annoying habits of expatriates who write about their adventures in foreign lands is the tendency to drone on and on about what they’re doing, seeing and eating that you can’t possibly replicate at home. So I will ask your forgiveness in advance as I indulge for a minute. Or consider this fair warning, because I’m writing about cime di rapa today. You can’t get them anywhere else but southern Italy and Puglia is the epicenter of its cultivation. We have become slavish fans of cime di rapa and find ourselves firmly in their thrall. Read more

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Comfort Food—A Winter Story

A wintry day at the beach near Ostuni.

A wintry day at the beach near Ostuni.

We’ve been told that January and February are the cruelest months in the Valle d’Itria in Puglia, Italy. If it’s going to snow, it’s likely that it’ll happen during these first two months of the year. If not, a regular schedule of icy winds sent straight from the Russian steppes whip their way through the twisty little streets of our centro storico. So we expected the worst. Read more

A Winter Palette

The winter fruit and vegetable market in Martina Franca is a revelation.

The winter fruit and vegetable market in Martina Franca is a revelation.

After seventeen years of summertime visits to Martina Franca, we always knew what to expect at the weekly market. In July, the rows and rows of fruit and vegetable stalls are overflowing. Tomatoes of every imaginable variety, slim, tender green beans, bunches of basil as big as a bouquet of flowers and luscious, vibrant stone fruit all shine in the sun. We want to buy it all, then rush home to cook it, overwhelmed by the sheer excess of it all. So when we decided to live here year round, we resigned ourselves to slimmer winter pickings. It gets cold here, after all, and fields must lay fallow waiting for the spring. Instead, we’ve discovered that it is a different, but equally bounteous landscape. We are overcome with the urge to dive deeply into the season. Read more

Autumn Arrives in Martina Franca

The first autumn vegetables make their debut in the markets.

We’re on the cusp of autumn here in Martina Franca. The signs are everywhere: shorter days, a snap in the air and impromptu rainy spells that thwart my best-laid alfresco clothes-drying plans. Tomatoes are still available in the market, but they’re considerably more acidic than their late summer predecessors. Prudent cooks have already preserved summer’s tomato harvest to last throughout the winter, but pomodori da pendola, small, thicker-skinned tomatoes still clinging to the vine are hung in cellars here to extend the fresh tomato experience as long as possible. Improbably, they’ll stay fresh and full of flavor well into January. And the last wild oregano is gathered in bunches to preserve it all winter long, but the gorgeous nectarines are long gone. Read more

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