Pick your table with a sea view and we’ll tell you about a place where tradition and innovation move side by side without one overriding the other, somehow managing to find the right balance. The success of a recipe requires dedication and raw materials that tell the story of their territory – one whose timing, seasons and needs must be respected.
The story we tell is not that of any place, but that of a Taverna on the Cristoforo Colombo seafront, in the small town of Tricase in our beloved Puglia. Here is a place where you can breathe the sea and live off daily caught fresh fish, a story that began with grandfather Vito Coppola known as “Vitucciu u nostromo”, a farmer and fisherman who collected treasures from “a land of the sea”.
Vito wished a different future for his eleventh son, Mario, who grew up on loaves of bread and fish, but as some of you may know you can take away a man from the sea but you can’t take away the sea from a man. Puglia’s sea ran through Mario’s veins and so he set sail with the local fishermen, to form his first experiences searching for a future that he could guarantee for himself and his beloved partner, Enza.
In 1985, their firstborn’s birth year, after escaping two dangerous storms, he decided to pull the oars up into the boat, but not to totally abandon his true passion, he could never! That’s when he opened his first local fish shop. A place that with time, vision and help of his wife and children, Alessandro and Pierluigi, evolved into what is today la Taverna del Porto.
A place where food is directly linked to land, to season, to availability, and to zero waste. A concept we should all adopt in our kitchens.
Taste a piece of Puglia, and this family reality at home through three of their dishes.
SPAGHETTINO, MUDDHICA, SPICALURU E FINOCCHIETTO
- 400 g (14 oz) of thin spaghetti
- 4 suro (marackarels) about 1kg (2.2lbs)
- 2 friselle d’orzo (typical Pugliese dry barley flour bread) or dry bread as a substitute
- 70g (2.4 oz) bitter almond
- 1 celery
- 2 onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon
- 100 (3.5oz) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Cold pressed)
- 100g (3.5 oz) white wine vinegar
- Wild fennel
- 2 laurel leaves
- Filet the suro, and leave the bones on the side.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil with celery, carrots, onion, bay leaf, fennel stalks, lemon peel, peppercorns, suro bones (obtained from filleting the suro), reduce and season with salt.
- Then, marinate the suro fillets with salt, grated lemon peel, pepper and chopped fennel.
- After half an hour pass the fillets in white wine vinegar to give the dish its sour note.
- Then cut the filets in small pieces and keep them on the side.
- Brown the garlic in a pan with oil and fennel, adding 5 spoonfuls of your initial fish broth reduction.
- Cook the pasta in salted water, drain it al dente and finish cooking in the pan with the broth reduction.
- Add the fish only at the very end so that it’s only touched by the heat and serve.
On a flat plate, form a nest with the spaghetti, placing the fish around it. Finish by grating the lemon peel, and placing “muddhica” (obtained by passing the friselle d’orzo with bitter almond through a mortar), oil, pepper and wild fennel.
AGLIO, OLIO, PEPERONCINO E MARE
- 400g (14oz) di Linguine
- 500g (17oz) mussels (ideally from the Atlantic)
- 250g (8.8oz) clams
- 8 white prawns
- 12 purple prawns
- 4 scampi
- 100g (3.5oz) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 30g (1oz) parsley
- Chili pepper
- Fresh thyme
- After cleaning the mussels and clams, place them in two separate pots at low heat, cover them and leave them to open.
- Once open, remove the shells and filter the broth and keep it aside.
- Brown the garlic clove in olive oil and add 4 spoons of the mussel’s cooking water and 4 of the clam’s cooking water, chopped parsley and fresh thyme.
- Reduce and set aside.
- Cook the linguine in abundant salted water, make sure to drain it very al dente, finish cooking it in the previously prepared base.
- Add the prawns and scampi in the final phase (when the pasta is starting to look creamy).
We complete the dish with a sprinkling of hot pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
TARTELLETTA MASCARPONE, CIOCCOLATO BIANCO, RIDUZIONE E CREMA DI SAN MARZANO
For the pastry
- 150g (5.3oz) re-milled semolina flour
- 150g (5.3oz) white flower
- 100g (3.5oz) of sugar
- 150g (5.3oz) of butter
- 1 egg
- 6g (0.2oz) of yeast
- 1 lemon
- 1 grated orange peel
- Sift the flour and add sugar, eggs and butter at room temperature, yeast, lemon and grated orange.
- Mix everything and wrap the mass in plastic wrap, put it in the fridge for half an hour.
- After the resting time, roll out the dough to obtain a sheet with a thickness of 1cm (0.4inch.)
- Place the pastry in round molds and bake (in the preheated oven) at 150°c (300°f) for about 15min.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the molds.
White chocolate and mascarpone cream
- 1kg (32oz) of mascarpone
- 250g (8.8oz) white chocolate
- 3 egg yolks
- Melt the white chocolate “a bagno maria” (water bath method)
- Whip the egg yolks and immediately add the hot white chocolate in order to pasteurize the eggs
- Add the mascarpone and whisk everything with a whisk to obtain a creamy mixture
For the filling and reduction of San Marzano
- 300g (10.6oz) of whipped cream
- 15g (0.53oz) of sugar
- 30g (1.06oz) of San Marzano tomatoes
- Heat the whipped cream.
- Melt the sugar in a saucepan, then add the previously heated whipped cream and reduce everything over low heat.
- Towards the end, add the San Marzano tomato sauce, continuing to stir, obtaining a velvety and creamy consistency.
Take the pastry disk, cover the bottom with the mascarpone filling, and add the S. Marzano cream using a sac à poche
(pastry bag) and finish by decorating with almonds and chocolate flakes.