Genovese the ambassador
The chef at Il Pagliaccio is the stockfish standard bearer. Plus photos from a great meal
Anthony Genovese chef at Il Pagliaccio is the new ambassador of Norwegian stockfish, after Felice Lo Basso. We report on the prize giving ceremony, the following dinner and a beautiful lunch a few days earlier
Few people know that Italy is the greatest global consumer of Norwegian stockfish. This strong connection has been tying Italy and Norway since 1400 when, thanks to the lively commerce between Flanders and Northern Italy, stockfish was exported from the Lofoten islands and Bergen.
As often the case, it all started by chance: in 1432 a tempest near the English Channel lasting weeks cast away captain Pietro Querini, a Venetian aristocrat, dragging the lifeboats to the Lofoten Islands where the captain and a few survivors were saved by local fishermen. While there, Querini discovered how they processed and used stockfish. According to the legend the first stockfish to arrive in Italy was brought from Querini himself on his way back (read our report here).
This year the Norwegian Seafood Council (Norge), a state-controlled organisation promoting and safeguarding Norwegian seafood products all around the world, awarded the two-starred French-Calabrian chef Anthony Genovese with the title of 2016 Norwegian Stockfish Ambassador, an award granted by his cuisine, capable of uniting tradition and innovation, aromas and flavours, and which stood out thanks to his creative use of stockfish. The Norwegian ambassador in Italy Bjørn T. Grydeland explained he was proud to award Genovese, «a chef capable of charming with a cuisine that has heterogeneity and respect for raw materials as its forte».His reply: «My Calabrian origins have always been part of my career and I had the chance to get to know the cuisine and food of all the world but representing a product that comes from so far away yet has become part of Italian culinary tradition is a great honour. Stockfish is an ingredient I hold very dear. It reminds me of my childhood in Calabria and my grandparents. Every year my family would serve stockfish and my grandfather was in charge of the ritual preparation of the dish, starting from the dried product which he soaked himself».
Potato, stockfish and puntarelle salad
On the occasion of the award giving ceremony last 23rd November at restaurant Il Pagliaccio in Rome, the chef presented a menu entirely dedicated to the best Norwegian seafood (cod, salmon and stockfish) with original, creative and well balanced recipes.
Stockfish ravioli, broth of Piennolo tomatoes
In a relaxing and friendly atmosphere, in the restaurant’s beautiful setting, which finely represents the soul and philosophy of chef Genovese, the dinner started with intriguing finger food paired with Champagne Joseph Perrier Blanc de noirs 2008. Roman contaminations were present in the potato, stockfish and puntarelle salad followed by Salmon (just scorched) with fresh apple and crispy fried rice.
The first course based on Norwegian stockfish was the one to stand out: Stockfish ravioli, broth of piennolo tomatoes, delicate and well balanced, before moving on to the perfectly cooked Cod with pumpkin cream and hazelnuts, all paired with Ribolla Gialla Astolfo Ducato Longobardo 2014. The sweet end was a Chestnut mousse with kumquat sauce a marvellous sequence of sweet and sour paired with a sweet Vertemate Mamete Prevostini 2013.
Cod with pumpkin cream and hazelnuts
We had visited Genovese a few days earlier too, for a lunch of the highest standard. Check out the photo gallery.