Recipe Source: Martino of Como. The Art of Cooking. Luigi Ballerini, Ed. Jeremy Parzen, trans. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2005 p. 69
And so we come to the last of the Martino recipes, at least for this batch. I feel kind of sad about this, really. It's been fun. As a general rule a lot of the Italian Renaissance recipes are significantly sweeter than I prefer but they've still been fun. In the modern world we like to look to France as the font of all gastronomic knowledge, taste and energy. That reputation is built on a solid foundation - a foundation that was laid down by cooks from Italy, brought to France by Catherine de Medici when she married into the royal family of France. When I look at Martino's work I feel like I'm looking at the bones of modern gastronomy, just as we see the ancestors of modern Western political processes in the Roman republic and the Athenian city-state.
So yes, I do feel a little sad to be turning away from Martino for a while, but I know I'll be back. I didn't actually serve this dish on Martino Day. I served this two weeks later, on Scappi Day. I didn't have quite enough people to serve it on Martino Day, which made me sad. I was really looking forward to this dish. As it turns out I didn't have enough people to serve it on Scappi Day either - a virulent plague had broken out in our house and led me to chase everyone away. I'd already made it though so I served it anyway and I'm glad that I did. I forgot to add the sugar on top in the end - like I said I was pretty unwell - and this prevented its being too sweet for me to eat. (Not that I could have tasted it anyway, but I'll admit to having sampled a little before storing it and it was delicious.) My daughter actually loved this. It was her favorite from all the dishes on the table, and we had to use seconds of the quince pottage to induce her to eat the rest of her dinner.
Quince Pottage (serves 6; approx. $0.56/serving)
5 quinces, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch saffron
2 tablespoons butter
- Food processor
- Combine all of the ingredients up to the butter in the saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook until the quinces are very tender. This will take a while. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Transfer the contents to a food processor and puree.
- Return to the pan and add the butter.
- Heat until fragrant and the butter is melted.
- Serve hot. It is okay to cool and reheat this dish.