Recipe Source: Martino of Como. The Art of Cooking. Luigi Ballerini, Ed. Jeremy Parzen, trans. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2005 p. 72
Hmm... what to say about this. Well, let me put it to you this way. The dish has eggs and zucchini, two things my husband hates. He had three helpings.
Of course, there is plenty more to say about this recipe. It's another of the recipes from the Sunday dinner I made from Martino's The Art of Cooking. Catalonia had a very strong influence on medieval and renaissance Italy (and vice versa, of course), although that's something that we don't really think about much these days. Of course the influence was stronger in the south, the part of Italy from which my own family hails, but there was influence in the north as well. A dish like this is rich - note the use of spices and especially saffron. Of course zucchini would not have been the type of squash used. The type of squash used would have been different and is nigh impossible to get here even when it is in season, never mind in December. I'm told that in flavor and texture it is very similar to zucchini and that zucchini is an adequate substitute. That's what I used.
I made some other changes as well. The original wanted to be cooked with "good chopped lard." Well of course I can't use lard. I'm allergic to lard. I probably could have done something with one my non-pork bacons to approximate the use of animal fat, but I was expecting a friend to show up who cannot digest meat. (Our social circle seems to be a magnet for weird food allergies. I don't know why.) In other parts of the same book Martino allows for the use of olive oil as a substitute for lard; I felt that it would be acceptable here. There will be some who disagree with me; they're welcome to do so and to make the dish with lard if they so desire. I also did not simmer the squash in the fat for four hours. It did not need to simmer in fat for four hours. It would have burned.
Again, this was very well received. I was out of verjus, which was an optional ingredient here or else I would have included it with gusto. I think it would have benefitted this dish immensely because without it I kind of found the dish to be overly sweet. I've been assured that it's just me though. You can vary the spices according to your taste, although I'd advise not omitting the saffron unless you really must.
Squash in the Catalan Style (serves 10; approx. $1.24/serving)
10 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 stick butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
1 pinch saffron
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup grated peccorino
- Large saucepan
- Combine the butter and the oil in the saucepan and place over low heat until the butter is melted.
- Add the zucchini and cook over very low heat until the squash is tender, stirring frequently.
- Add the broth with the saffron. Increase the heat to a simmer.
- Add the spices and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour a little bit of the hot broth into the egg yolks to temper them, then pour them back into the pot and cook thoroughly.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
- Serve hot.