Tuesday, 28 September 2010

GOURMET WORDS OF THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: CIMA ALLA GENOVESE (STUFFED VEAL BREAST)

A “pièce de résistance” for both Ligurian cooks and housewives, cima alla Genovese features (deservedly) among the highlights of regional cuisine. Once eaten (devoured!) at Easter, it has become a 365days- a year delight.
The meat – prepared by butchers in the shape of a pouch – is filled with a wealth of vegetables, eggs, offal and ground meat, not to forget a handful sliced (and blanched) pistachios. Then, the cima is dutifully sewn and poked (the chef’s trick to avoid bursting), enveloped in a cloth and boiled for 2 hours or more. The time comes for some rest (and cooling off), and a heavy object (go local and choose a marble mortar) is set on top of the cima. Slice, serve, rejoice! Provided that everyone has his/her share of cima, the art of leftovers calls for the treat of fried cima slices.
Variations abound – e.g. in Prelà (IM) the stuffing includes artichokes, while in Montalto Ligure (IM) kid meat is used instead of veal. In Lunigiana, the primacy of vegetables over meat is a reminder of the hard age of poverty.
Last but not least, cima alla Genovese might be a relative of French poitrine de veau farcie
Wine matching: red, DOC Riviera ligure di ponente Rossese.

Luisa Puppo
Ligucibario

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