Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Make Fried Peas with Salt-cured Meat

From Martino of Cuomo's Art of Cooking, p.66 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
Take some unshelled peas and boil. Take some marbled salt-cured meat and thinly slice into pieces half the size of your finger and lightly fry; add the peas to the salt-cured meat. Add a little verjuice, some sodden wine, or some sugar, and a bit of cinnamon.

My Redaction:

24 oz snowpeas in shell
1/2 lb. cured bacon
1/4 cup verjuice or wine vinegar + sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Boil peas in salted water until they soften and their color changes. Drain. Cut bacon into 1/2" pieces and fry until fat has rendered out and pieces have begun to brown. Add peas, verjuice, and cinnamon, and continue frying until ingredients have blended, and peas begin to come apart on their own.

How to Cook Eggplant So That It Is Neither Too Strong nor Ill Prepared

From Martino of Cuomo's Art of Cooking, p.118 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
Cut them into quarters and peel carefully, like a pear. Then bring them to a boil in a little water with salt; and when the water begins to boil, add the eggplant and boil for two Lord's Prayers; then remove and dry. Dredge in flour and fry like fish and when they have been fried, drain off the oil, leaving a little bit in the pan with the eggplant. Then take a clove of garlic and crush with a quarter of the eggplant. Then take a little of the oregano that is used to top anchovies, crushed with garlic with a bit of bread, saffron, pepper, and salt, and thin these things with verjuice; or, if the verjuice is too strong, with some water. Then add all these things together in the pan and cook with the eggplant for a little while. Then put on a platter and serve.

My Redaction:

4 1-lb. eggplants
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp oregano
12 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup fresh bread torn into small crumbs
1/4 cup verjuice or wine vinegar
Saffron (optional)
Salt and pepper

Quarter and peel the eggplant. Parboil in salted water for about a minute, working in small batches. Wrap in paper towels and leave to dry for 20-30 minutes. Cover a flat space in more paper towels for once the eggplant is fried, spread flour on a plate, and heat oil in a frying pan. Again working in small batches, dredge the eggplant quarters liberally in flour and fry until well browned on all sides, then place on the paper towels. Pour off excess oil, or if your oil has significant flour sediment in it pour off all oil and add 2 T fresh to the pan. Combine oregano, garlic, bread, verjuice, salt, pepper, and saffron, and sauté in the pan until browned. Place eggplant on a platter and dress with the garlic mixture. Makes 12 servings.


The main modification I have made is to cook the dressing as a separate component, because of the mass of eggplant involved and the shortage of giant pans. If you wish to follow Martino's instructions you could portion out the dressing mixture and work in batches re-frying the eggplant with it.

How to Cook Squash in the Cuomo Style

From Martino's Art of Cooking, p.72 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
Give the squash a good washing, and then cook in meat broth, or in water, and add the necessary amount of onion. When it seems to be done, remove and pass through a slotted spoon or crush well, and cook in a pot with fatty broth and a little verjuice. Make yellow with saffron; and when it is done, remove from heat and let cool for a little while. Then take the necessary amount of egg yolks and beat them with a little aged cheese and mix with the squash, stirring continuously with a spoon so that it does not stick. Then serve in bowls, topped with sweet spices.

My Redaction:

4 acorn or other squash, approximately 1.75 lbs. each
3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup verjuice or wine vinegar
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 egg yolks
1 cup grated parmesan
2 T lard
Pinch of saffron (optional)

Halve the squash and scoop out the innards, then peel and cut into approximately finger-sized pieces.* Place in a large pot with onion and 2 cups broth, and as much additional water as necessary to jut cover the squash. Bring to a low boil and cook until the squash is easily pulverized, as much as two hours. Remove the squash into a bowl and crush with a potato masher; do not worry about getting every bit of liquid out of the squash. Once turned to a puree, return the squash to a pot with lard, verjuice, saffron if you like, and remaining 1 cup broth and boil until loose liquid is not evident, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes. Beat egg holds and cheese together. Temper the egg mixture by gradually stirring in an amount of squash equal to the eggs and cheese, then stir the tempered mixture into the squash. Salt to taste and serve with a pinch of nutmeg on each bowl. Makes ten servings.

*(If you use ridged squash as I did you may find it easiest to cut them first and then peel them. I cut along each valley of the outside surface, so that I only had to peel convex shapes. Your technique will surely vary with type of squash.)


What type of squash Martino means is highly ambiguous, as is often the case with this ingredient. Because of the long wet cooking process, I decided that a harder late-season squash had the right characteristics. Martino's original un-tempered mixing process will surely work, but I think the modern cook will find tempering less finicky, and the result is the same.

Verjuice has a pleasantly distinctive flavor, but if you have none on hand then substituting vinegar will work fine.

How to Make Roulades of Meat

From Martino's Art of Cooking, p.55 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
First, take some lean meat from the haunch and cut it into long slices and beat it on a cutting board or table using the knife handle, and take some salt and ground fennel seeds and spread over the cutlets. Then take some parsley, marjoram, and good lard, and chop together with some good spices and spread this mixture over the cutlets. Roll them and cook them on a spit, but do not let them get too dry over the flame.

My Redaction:

3.75 lbs. beef top round, or meat of choice
2 T fennel seeds, ground
2 T coarse salt
2 T finely chopped marjoram
2 T finely chopped parsley
2 T lard
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander

Trim excess fat from meat, and slice lengthwise making strips approximately 1/2" thick (by 1-1/2" wide depending on the thickness of your steak). Cover a surface in plastic wrap, lay the slices out on it, and beat them to about half their original thickness using a mallet or whatever's handy. Mix the salt and fennel and sprinkle if liberally on the strips. Cut the remaining herbs and spices into the lard and pound it into a paste, then spread lightly on the strips.

Roll each strip tightly, place them into a roasting pan and broil on low heat for ten minutes, or until they are as well done as you like. Makes about 20 roulades.


I tried using my knife handle for beating the steak, but it was a mediocre tool for the job; perhaps Martino's knives were of different construction. I used an empty wine bottle, but a meat mallet should work fine.

Martino's directions are for roulades of "veal and other good meat" - the good meat I have chosen colored my choice of spices. If you use a different meat you might replace the coriander in particular.

How to make Zanzarelli

From Martino of Cuomo's Art of Cooking, p.64 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
To make ten servings: take eight eggs and a half libra of grated cheese, and a grated loaf of bread, and mix together. Then take a pot of meat broth made yellow with saffron and place over heat; and when it begins to boil, pour the mixture into the pot and stir with a spoon. When the dish has begun to thicken, remove from heat and serve in bowls, topped with spices.

My redaction: 

8 large eggs
2 oz grated parmesan
2 oz grated cheddar
5 oz fresh ciabatta, torn into fine crumbs
3-4 cups beef broth
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Salt and pepper

Beat the eggs, and stir into them the bread and cheese. Bring 3 cups of the broth (with saffron if you please) to the verge of boiling and add the egg mixture, stirring vigorously. It will begin to thicken; if you find it too thick, add broth to make it the texture of a thickish soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes ten modest servings.


Martino's portions are fairly clear in this instance. Although he calls for a half libra of cheese, there is some variation in the size of a libra, and the mixture seemed as though it would be rather cheese heavy at a modern half-pound, so I used a total of a quarter pound. Since the cheese is unspecified, I used a mixture of younger and older cheese. Although his direction for spices is broad, I found that the dish was flavorful enough that it worked well with simple salt and pepper; additions like nutmeg and ginger would not be out of place if you prefer.