Migliaccio di Polenta

file0002009660239When we think about Fat Tuesday, New Orleans’  Mardi Gras is the first event that comes to mind. The Big Easy seems to grab most of the attention, but many countries and cultures celebrate the last day before Lent and spend several days or even a week or two to get ready to tighten their belts for the forty days until Easter.

imagescarnevale okItaly is no exception. Carnevale is celebrated throughout Italy. It shares many of the same trappings as Mardi Gras, but as with many things Italian, with a little more elegance. The exquisite maschere  (masks) and fancy balls lend a more sophisticated air to the celebration. Carnevale is not just fancy clothes, it has its share of merrymaking and tomfoolery. In fact, the prevalent attitude, “A carnevale ogni sherzo vale” (anything goes at carnevale) is easily aligned with “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (let the good times roll) in New Orleans.

Food and eating is a large part of every celebration and there are certain foods that are traditionally served. These foods tend to be rich, hearty and meat laden, again to make going into the Lenten season of fasting and abstinence from meat less painful. This recipe from Naples is typical of Carnevale celebration food. It has a Fat and Sodium content that will likely require the next forty days for your system to recover. The ingredients are simple;

DIGITAL CAMERAPolenta, Salami, Italian Cheeses, and Lard.

Yes, lard. It is responsible for the almost creamy texture of this savory cake. I made a large round, thick cake, but baking it in a small sheet pan would allow cutting into bite-size squares that would be perfect for a Fat Tuesday Party. Just remember to adjust the baking time by a few minutes so it doesn’t dry out.

 

 

Migliaccio di Polenta
Print Recipe
Traditional food for Italian Carnevale. Super rich and tasty. Just the thing to have before the Lenten season.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Migliaccio di Polenta
Print Recipe
Traditional food for Italian Carnevale. Super rich and tasty. Just the thing to have before the Lenten season.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water up to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the lard. Stir until the lard melts.
  2. Add the polenta a little at a time, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Once all of the polenta has been added continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is very thick. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the polenta is cool, add the salame and cheeses. Mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Use a very sturdy spoon or your hands.
  4. Spray or brush a 10 inch spring-form pan with olive oil. Pack the polenta mixture firmly into the pan.
  5. Melt butter in a small pan and add the bread crumbs. toss to moisten the crumbs. Lightly sprinkle over the cake.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. The cake should be lightly browned with slightly darker brown edges.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes or so. Remove the sides of the pan and place on a large platter.
  8. This can be served warm or at room temperature.
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