From Langosteri to La Caprese, from 13 June to Al Porto, from Il Saraceno to the LaBulle wine shop
Lombardy is an excellent place to eat good fish. It may seem strange, but in the city and province there are real gems, where to delight the palate with the traditional and always appreciated dishes based on the most classic fish, up to the most sought after seasonal fish dishes. We went to discover some of them, letting the protagonists tell us about their signature dish and the inevitable wine pairing. Let’s start from Milan city, from the 13 June restaurant, famous for its Sicilian cuisine with very fresh fish. The restaurant was founded 33 years ago, in 1988, and owes its name to the founder’s birth date. Over the years the restaurant has offered numerous fish-based dishes, which, starting from the Sicilian culinary tradition, allowed themselves to be freely inspired by French influences, then specializing in tastier and tastier proposals based on seafood, crustaceans and first fruits. Seasonal. For some years the restaurant has been going through a period of metamorphosis, in which the classics coexist (for example the salmeric bavette, the pasta with sardines, the linguine with lobster) and the new proposals (such as the crispy octopus on potato cream) . In fact, traditional Sicilian cuisine is revised to give it lightness and a touch of innovation, celebrating the flavors of the original and natural ingredients in the best possible way. So here are the seasonal fish dishes on the menu with combinations of reductions and mousses, special tartlets, and classic proposals, the strengths of Italian tradition, revisited in a tastier and tastier version. The most representative dish is Bavette with sea urchins. “If we have to indicate a more representative dish it is certainly this”, according to Edoardo Dolcimascolo, son of the founder who is pursuing his father’s passion “because it is a typical Palermo dish that perfectly tells the sea, its flavor, and at the same time the territory. When pairing wine, a lot is played with Etna, with its marked minerality, given by its volcanic territory (this area is called the Burgundy of the Mediterranean) “. Bavette con i urchins are offered in combination with both a red – as an unusual, but elegant proposal – using wines from the Nerello Mascalese grape, which grows mainly on Etna, and white wine by choosing a Carricante grape variety native to Etna. We continue our journey to discover fish-based proposals with another restaurant in town. This is the Al Porto restaurant which since 1967 has offered the Milanese all the flavor of the Versilian tradition. It was April 25 when Domenico Buonamici and his wife Anna decided to open the Al Porto Restaurant in the former toll booth of Porta Genova, and they chose that place because the restaurant overlooked the ancient port of Milan. “When we opened 54 years ago, there were only two fish restaurants back then. I already had a place in the center and I realized that the Milanese wanted to eat fish, so much so that these two restaurants were always full and many Milanese went to Liguria. So I decided to open a third restaurant dedicated to fish. From there began the adventure of Al Porto. The first menus (based on fried and risotto) were different from those of today, in fact the choice of customers has evolved over time, with a greater search for raw fish ”, says Buonamici. The cuisine of the restaurant is mainly Versilia, but then various fish-based dishes are offered, preferring seasonal fish, in order to offer dishes that are only available when the fresh product is available. An example of this are the sea strawberries – small octopus or newbies that fish from the north of Tuscany to Genoa between early May and mid-July and are offered as pan-fried appetizers with a pinch of chilli. One of the most popular dishes at the restaurant is the fish fritturina, a classic, made up of small squid (pin) and scampi fried in light oil. The dish is served in combination with a verdicchio from a small producer in the San Vito area, because it is light but full-bodied, a tasty wine that goes perfectly with fried food. On the other hand, sea bass with pigato wine which is served with Taggiasca olives in combination with Ligurian Pigato wine. And finally the red shrimp of Santa Margherita baked with fresh horseradish. This dish is proposed in combination with a Friulian chardonnay. We continue the tour around Milan, stopping at the Langosteria restaurant. Here the inspiration of the menus starts from the territory of extraction by Chef Domenico Soranno, Puglia, and from the knowledge of raw materials and flavors, top priority. Know the raw material, Touching its quality and knowing where it comes from is the basis from which to build the dishes, and choose how to present the proposal to the customer and make him excited. The concept of the Langosteria provides Signature dishes that the customer can find in all restaurants, alongside dishes that follow the seasonality of raw materials. The fish used is all rigorously fished by hook coming from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and white fish are preferred, such as turbot, scorpion fish, gurnard, red snapper, St. Peter’s, sea bream, sea bass; and blue fish such as tuna, amberjack, hake, anchovies. In the Langosteria proposal, crustaceans are unmissable: from scampi delle Tremiti, red prawns from Sicily, prawns from Santa Margherita, and our fantastic King Crab, the “King” of crustaceans, which comes from the Bering Sea, Alaska. However, the most representative dish is the Catalan-style King Crab. It is a dish born in 2007 together with the history of Langosteria, and can be considered to all intents and purposes the “King” of crustaceans. It is cooked a little, by immersing it for a very short time in warm water, and seasoned with camone tomato, peeled and bird-beaked celery, crispy red onion and Langosteria “red” sauce, to which today an ingredient is added. The new sauce is made up of 7 ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, mixed berries, mustard, salt, aromatic vinegar, sifted dried tomato, and the seventh ingredient … the secret. The “red” sauce in its new version gives King Crab 2007 a memorable experience. From the coincidence of the year of creation, from the addition of the seventh ingredient and from the new look with which it is served, the King Crab 2007 Special edition is born. King Crab 2007 Special edition is offered in combination with one of the Pinot Noirs present in the Langosteria Wine List. Moving now to the foothills of Bergamo, in Mozzo to be precise, we meet the La Caprese restaurant in Mozzo which has been offering the warmth and flavors of the island of Capri since 1975. The restaurant offers contemporary cuisine inspired by the island’s culinary tradition and seafood, offering the same simple but intense flavors of the Capri sea. Even today Bruno Federico, patron of La Caprese, transmits the magic of the island of Capri together with his daughter Antonella who is taking the restaurant into a new phase of growth. “The inspirations of our menu can be traced back to two fundamental pillars: Capri and family tradition. In fact, my father Bruno, when he moved from Capri to Bergamo, did not abandon the tastes of the island and the teachings of his grandmother, thus offering “home” cuisine to the guests of his restaurant “explains Antonella. “Obviously we have some great classics that our guests expect to find, such as tartare, fried seafood or spaghetti al nero and within the limit of daily availability we always try to satisfy but every morning we carefully choose the best raw material based on to the philosophy of “shopping at the market”, leaving the sea to choose the menu of the day “. The restaurant’s most representative dish is Crudità all’Isolana, a dish as simple as it is rich in flavor. Its origin is to be attributed to the Capri fishermen who having to work in the sea, sometimes for whole days, had to prepare their meal based on fish and crustaceans that they fished and “cooked” with the simple addition of oil and lemon. The most iconic dish could only be paired with a wine from the island: Capri Bianco by Scala Fenicia, made from an assembly of native grapes from Campania such as Greco, Falanghina and Biancolella. “This wine perfectly expresses what Capri is in its essence: solar, Mediterranean and marine. A wine that on the nose recalls the scents of the Mediterranean scrub, citrus fruits, peaches and iodine and on the palate it is harmonious, delicate but also savory, blending perfectly with our crudity to bring us back to the atmosphere of our island ”, concludes Antonella. Let’s stay in the Bergamo area to discover the Il Saraceno restaurant, located in Cavernago. It is here that the chef Roberto Proto proposes a culinary journey made of creativity and constant search for perfection, where fish is the main ingredient, together with raw materials from the territory and tradition. The restaurant focuses on marine cuisine overlooking the Amalfi Coast of which the chef is a native. Nationally caught fish, no breeding, prepared with sobriety to enhance the raw material. “My menus are inspired by the dishes and ingredients of the Amalfi Coast and the seasonality of the products but I also leave a lot of space for imagination and creativity” says chef Proto. “My favorite fish are the Pezzogna, the Dotto, the Red mullet, the Anchovies, the Royal snapper. I have a weakness for crustaceans in general, from the smallest such as Gobbetti prawns to Blue Lobster. ” The restaurant has more representative dishes, but this season surely the Risotto… I whipped a pizza, a first course on the menu. “During the lockdown I thought of a dish that could enhance Italian products and the colors that represent us (the Italian flag). The dish is made with San Marzano tomatoes, liquid buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, anchovies from Cetara, oregano from the Alburni Mountains, crumbs of pizza dough as well as rice of course “. This dish is proposed combined with Amalfi Coast Rosé DOC Marisa Cuomo. Let’s conclude this trip to Legnano, to talk about the LaBulle wine shop in Legnano. To tell us about the menu is Massimiliano Gatti who collaborated with Matteo, the owner of the wine shop for the creation of the menu. “For me and for everyone it was a very difficult year and after the first lockdown Matteo was the first to contact me to start working together. From there our collaboration began which led to the creation of the menu for the wine shop which in the proposal of fish, varies according to what the market offers (sea urchins, sea bass, turbot, tuna) “A representative dish of the restaurant is definitely the fresh Tagliolino in bisque of raw Mazzara prawns and lemon zest and licorice powder.