Ascoli Piceno is the southernmost province of Italy’s Marche region, about 2 hours north of Rome. It borders the region of Abruzzo to the south, is caressed by the Adriatic Sea to the east and protected by the Apennine Mountains to the west. This little-known province is home to some wonderful delicacies. Food historian and author, Francine Segan, educated us all at a recent event held in NYC’s Princeton Club. For instance, Olive all’Ascolane is a taste sensation. These olives were already famous during Roman times for their pleasing, mild flavor. Start with the tender, succulent green olives that grow only in Ascoli Piceno. Knife peel each one by hand. Simmer 3 types of meat together and season to taste. Squeeze the meat into a small ball and wrap an olive around each one. Tap this stuffing into the olive 10 times. Dip each rotund olive into egg, flour and bread crumbs, then fry in hot olive oil. Yes, it takes hours. Yes, it’s worth it. Perfect for an antipasto or side dish, you’ll never think about olives the same way again. An unassuming little town in Ascoli Picenco, called Offida, is home to Cantina del Picchio, a restaurant where Francine swears she had the best meals of her life. The Cantina has an outstanding chef, Emilio Pasqualini, who serves up heavenly dishes on a daily basis in this out of the way place. Chef Pasqualini recently spent some time in NYC and, just before returning to Italy, prepared the olive all’ascolane for our Princeton Club event. According to Francine, he made 800 of them. Delicious.
I am passionate about Le Marche Region in Italy, follow me to discover it.
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