Where to find it (still) in Italy?
There are professions that are being lost, of the mastery that is disappearing, of gestures that perhaps once, in the great restaurants of the Eighties and Nineties, was almost taken for granted. Now the new generations no longer remember the spectacularization of a table preparation with flambé or the cleaning of the lobster in front of the diners. They are gestures that have remained children of a past that we all regret. Valerio Beltrami, President of AMIRA, Association of Italian Maîtres Restaurants and Hotels in force since 1955 tells us: “You can create an entire menu with the flambé method, directly at the table. My favorite plate? Calypso-style prawn tails with Pernord sauce with anise ”. But why has everything changed in the world of the hall? “Now it costs too much personnel, the Italian law is much more stringent than in the past in hiring, in addition to the fact that often it is the customers themselves who have less time to devote to the table. Just think that to cook a flambéed fish it takes an initial preparation and at least another 10-15 minutes, depending on the quantity and type of fish ”. Many small precautions that are about to be forgotten, such as serving caviar with the aid of a bone or mother-of-pearl spoon, essential that silver is not used in large restaurants, as it could contaminate the taste of the best blue delights . On the other hand, etiquette also says it: the fish should be served whole and then filleted and cleaned at the table, both at home and in the restaurant. If the menu includes both meat and fish, the latter should be served first, obviously, as it is generally more delicate. Large fish should be served in oval serving plates, so that the tail is also contained. And there is also a label for the filleting: first of all, you start by removing the head and tail, moving them to one side of the plate. Subsequently, if you do not like it, the skin is removed with the help of the fish knife and a cut is made in the center to open the fish itself. Finally, the bone is extracted by placing it on the side, near the head and tail. Once cleaned, the fish should be eaten with the appropriate cutlery. Even better if you only use the fork, considering that it is usually a very tender meat. “Lobster deserves a separate discussion”, remembers Valerio Beltrami; “Often this much-loved crustacean already comes out of the kitchen portioned in medallions, with the meat presented on or next to the shell. But when the dining room staff is capable, it is much more spectacular to cut it and present it in front of customers. When cutting the lobster, the two claws must be broken with special pliers or with the back of a large knife, before serving. This is perhaps the only operation that we always recommend doing in the kitchen, since it often involves sketching or crushing pieces of the carapace, “says Beltrami. Then, with a sturdy and well-sharpened knife, the lobster is cut in half, first cutting the part of the head, between the eyes; then the abdomen, with sharp and decisive blows. The lobster must be held still with the left hand, with a napkin underneath. Then the meat is pierced with a fork and, with the help of a knife, it is detached. Finally, the meat is placed on the plate and served, including the antennae and the head of the carapace. yummy.