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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cooking with Mimmo: Our Cooking Class that Began in the Morning and Ended the Next Day

Our big day.

We got up, with some difficulty, to make our 9:30 appointment to cook with Mimmo in his village restaurant Baccus.  We were surprised to find that we were the sole students for that day's class.

Mimmo had obviously listened carefully to our conversation from the previous night, as one of the items we were to prepare was panelle, a chick pea fried street food, that I had mentioned I was curious about.  The other dishes for our course included a squash salad and stuffed peppers.  We also got to see Mimmo's mother in law baking bread and the yeast she has continued to use for several decades.  

The most interesting part of the cooking lesson was hearing Mimmo tell his life story as it related to his passion for food.  He has been in the kitchen since his mother measured him for a suit, at the age of 13 in Palermo, and sent him off to work in a restaurant kitchen the next day.  He has worked in kitchens ever since, from England to Germany, and now, in the village of his wife, Rossetta, he is the proud owner of his own restaurant.

Between Mimmo's life story and Joe's love of conversation, we ran out of time to complete our tutelage.  We were invited back to continue with the wine cellar tour and dinner that evening.

At 6:30 we showed up to join 6 "Brits" for  tour of Mimmo's wine cellar followed by a scrumptious dinner. Carmalina, a strong force behind the growth of tourism in this area translated Franchesco's (Mimmo's son)  explanation of the cellar and the wine. 

The Panelle and the stuffed peppers we had helped prepare were included in the Antipasta. There was also a Pasta Bolagnese  made with fresh homemade pasta. Of course there was much Mimmo wine from two different vintages. It was all delicious. The six Brits were part of a small wine club and had travelled together just for a weekend in Sicily. They were lots of fun. 

Our night ended late with a chat with Mimmo and then a slippery walk down to our car. Thanks to Monica's wisdom we were parked away from the narrow roads and had an easy drive home. 

On the following night we joined Mimmo for one last dinner. We started with fresh pasta with mussles. It was a huge serving, intended for one, generous for two or more. Joe had the fresh grilled fish and Monica opted for the "Fish Soup". This came in a large rectangular dish filled with more than 6 different fish, prawn-like shell fish and more mussels. It took her a long time to work through this delicious meal. For dessert we each had Ghiaccio Limone and were then joined by Mimmo and his lovely wife. First the homemade Lemincello appeared followed by a Mandarin Orange version. Rossetta brought out the picture book and we were delighted to hear the stories of the restaurant's grand opening and many tales about their family. Before we parted Mimmo bestowed upon us the recipe for the Lemoncello which we are eager to try when we return to Toronto. Hopefully we can find 96% alcool at the LCBO!


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