During our visit to Italy, one of the highlights was a cooking class that was arranged for our group. The class included a walk around the Campo di Fiori, a well-known produce market in the heart of Rome, to choose our fresh ingredients for the class. We then took a short walk to the chef's personal home where we learned to make a fresh tomato compote with fried pizza dough, an eggplant cake, and a raspberry tart before sitting on the rooftop patio to eat lunch and enjoy the spectacular view.
I will share the recipes and photos of the class in the upcoming days, but first enjoy the rainbow of colors we saw at the Campo Di Fiori. We cooked with local, in-season ingredients which we found in abundance at the market. In Rome, late summer is the season for figs, eggplant, tomatoes and peaches (much like it is here in Pennsylvania!). The market was small compared to the huge markets of Istanbul, but you could find everything you needed to make a delicious Italian meal.
You could find dried pastas of every shape and color, olive oils, spices and Italian cookies. Surrounding the temporary stalls of produce are small specialty shops where they sell delicious meats and cheeses, and other items for cooking. I picked up some figs (green and brown for taste testing), balsamic vinegar, soft amaretti cookies, Acacia honey, a bag of lentils and some dried borlotti beans to bring home.
My suitcase was filled with things for the kitchen! The airline security in Chicago didn't like the looks of my lentils and beans and pulled me aside to test the packages for traces of chemicals and ran them through the security x-ray twice. Finally they determined that the lentils were safe and we were on our way home. I guess I just need to decide what I want to make with my imported ingredients! I'd love any suggestions you might have!
Tomorrow I will share a simple and fantastic appetizer recipe we learned at the class!