“In the cuisine of modern Rome quinto quarto (literally the “fifth quarter”) is the offal of butchered animals. The name makes sense on more than one level: because offal amounts to about a fourth of the weight of the carcass; because the importance of offal in Roman cooking is at least as great as any of the outer quarters, fore and hind; and because in the past slaughterhouse workers were partly paid in kind with a share of the offal.
Until modern time the division of the cattle in Rome was made following this simple scheme: the first “quarto” was dedicated to be sold to the Nobles, the second one was for the clergy, the third one for the Bourgeoisie and eventually the fourth “quarto” was for the soldiers. The proletariat could afford only the entrails.”
– Quinto quarto – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Well, whaddya know. Just the other day, I was discussing adventurous dining and my fruitless attempts to acquire duck hearts for a dish I was looking to prepare (September 22, 2012: Heart of Duckness). Five days later, I’m sitting down to one of my most unique meals of 2012. Last night, Campagnolo Roma hosted their annual Quinto Quarto dinner with Chefs Ted Anders and Nathan Lowey serving up a Roman style feast highlighting “the odd bits”. The menu…
The dinner was served “family style”, so Akemi and I ended up sharing a table with three other diners, some friendly fellow foodies (two of who happened to be big Stargate fans). The meal started with the antipasto:
Arancine al sugo (risotto balls stuffed with fifth quarter sugo) and stioghiola alla griglia (charred intestines).
Akemi quite enjoyed the former (Of course. She’s Japanese!). The charred intestines I thought lacked the headlined charring and were possessed of an underlying gaminess that I, well, didn’t love.
Vasteddo piccolo (spleen sliders).
Similar in flavor to liver but, I found, far less intense. Also, somewhat chewier, but served slider-style, these small bites were utterly delicious. I ended up eating four in all.
Rounding out the antipasti was some very good sfincione con nduja (sicilian flatbread seasoned with soft liver sausage). Akemi and I were never actually served this dish but our table mates had been given a plate and they were more than happy to sure (Ah, the perils of family-style dining).
spaghetti con le cuore de salmone
nass river salmon hearts, garlic confit, saffron
Now THIS dish was the highlight of the night. The pasta was a perfectly prepared al dente, the accompanying sugo sweet and smokey from the shaved salmon hearts.
A whole salmon heart we brought back home as a keepsake – and, later that night, dog snack.
polpette quinto quarto
pork meatballs with everything, lemon zest, mint
The “everything” included heart, liver, and kidney. If you had served up these meatballs to someone like, say, my unadventurous buddy Carl, and not told them what they were eating, they would probably declare them the best meatballs they’d ever eaten. And they were: incredibly moist and utterly delicious.
il caponata bianca
vinegared celery, eggplant, pine nuts
I’ve never been a big fan of anything marinated but thought this was a nice change of pace for the meal. Akemi particularly enjoyed the pickled celery.
pomodoro misto e orecchio fritto
milan’s tomatoes, crispy pig’s ear, basil
Also a nice little detour. The crispy pig’s ears offered a nice, crispy textural contrast. That being said, I still prefer them sliced thicker and served with salsa verde like Refuel used to do back in the day (and I believe Fat Dragon still may do).
marzipan, ricotta & pig’s brain cream, marsala
Yes, the inclusion of pig brain gave me pause as well. I’m not a huge fan of brain (I’m not a fan of its metallic aftertaste), but it was inoffensive here. So inoffensive, in fact, that it felt a little unnecessary but for the simple fact that it maintained the dining theme and, hey, diners could tell their friend that they’d had a pig brain dessert – and liked it. Which I did.
Dining opportunities like this one are a rarity and, while I’m sure that’s a-okay for many more conservative diners, I, for one, would like to see more of these daring dining events.
A huge thanks for a job well done to Ted, Nathan, and the gang at Campagnolo Roma.
This morning, Paul swung by and we worked through the day -stopping only for tacos – to finally finish that outline. Well, more or less. More in terms of structure and less in terms of detail, but I’m sure all the minutiae will work itself out in the next couple days when I get it all down on (virtual) paper. It’s a pilot for a fantasy series and, while I have high hopes it will go to series, I’m being realistic as well. In this business, everything is a longshot. It and the potential Dark Matter series are purely speculative at this point and, even if they do come to fruition, production wouldn’t get underway until well into 2013. This is why I’m not giving up my day job (a.k.a. focusing on winning the lottery).
Paul gives the outline a thumbs up.
Continuing our trip down Stargate Atlantis memory lane…
KINDRED I (418)
According to the trailer that the network ran for this episode: “You won’t believe the last five minutes”. These words were uttered as viewers were shown the deceased but very much alive-looking Carson Beckett looking up as someone says: “Carson!”. My question was: “Why won’t they believe the last five minutes. You’ve already ruined it for them.” It was reminiscent of the network trailer for SG-1’s The Curse that showed Osiris, eyes glowing, blasting members of the team – effectively ruining our end of episode reveal. Which was, in turn, reminiscent of the TV Guide blurb for SG-1’s Solitudes: “Jack and Sam are stranded in the Antarctic”, an episode in which Jack and Sam believe they’ve been stranded off-world until they discover they’re actually been on Earth all along. In the Antarctic! Surprised? No?
At the SGA season 3 wrap party, I informed a glum Paul McGillion that I had a great idea to bring Carson back. It involved cloning, Michael, and a shocking and unexpected appearance by the beloved Scot. Well, in the end, cloning and Michael anyway.
The placeholder title for this episode was “Rise of the Googlions”. Why? Because that’s the title fellow Executive Producer/writer Carl Binder suggested and it stuck. From a former blog entry: “Oh, dear. This is what happens when you hang on to a gag title a little too long. Sooner or later, it makes it onto the schedule, the Art Department starts using it in their design updates, and producer John N. Smith can be heard uttering the words: ‘We should check out that location. We might be up there for Googlions.’ For all of you who have been racking your brains trying to come up with the hidden meaning behind the ‘Rise of the Googlions’ title, allow me to reveal it for you. … ‘Rise of the Googlions’ was nothing more than an inane title Carl came up with off the top of his head. To all those who wasted any amount of time searching the Internet for clues about the googlions, blame Mr. Binder who unwittingly sent you all out on a wild goose chase.”
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