Davide Oldani: here’s my Milano nel piatto

At Gastromasa, in Istanbul, the chef presents his city in a new recipe, the meeting of risotto with saffron, a cutlet and ossobuco

29-11-2018

Milano nel piatto, the recipe dedicated to Milan that Davide Oldani presented in Istanbul at Gastromasa

In Istanbul, in front of the large audience of the 4th edition of Gastromasa, the Turkish fine dining congress organised by Gökmen Sözen – well done for the brilliant event - Davide Oldani portrays his take on Milan. «Expo made a huge difference in my city – the chef from D'O said – Think of the theme of the World Fair: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. It was a new, strong message»..

Oldani on the stage of Gastromasa

Oldani on the stage of Gastromasa

This tale of a city follows the evolution of Italian cuisine, which also makes for a chapter of Oldani’s biography: «After all, I am a part of the First Republic of Italian cuisine; I’m an old guy now, my career started 30 years ago under the wing of the Maestro par excellence, Gualtiero Marchesi, who revolutionised every perspective, at least in Italy. And he made us understand one thing: cooking is about eating, but also studying and understanding. It’s about working hard, even losing sight of one’s life, and learn to love this job. However, it also means you have to work enough, but not too much: this is and must be a competitive environment, but a "clean" one too. The approach should be to teach young generations the techniques, as well as how to be together; tell them what options are available. For me, for instance, the option was lightness».

A land where to place your feet and not just a sky where to place your dreams

A land where to place your feet and not just a sky where to place your dreams

The typical approach of someone from Lombardy, oozing pragmatism. Like when Oldani asks for the maxi-screen at Gastromasa to show something he said in 2003: A land where to place your feet and not just a sky where to place your dreams. He said: «Dreaming is good for us all, but we must remember where we come from, and keep our feet on solid ground».

Oldani with Alessandro Procopio

Oldani with Alessandro Procopio

Oldani’s homeland is Milan, «a city that made a great leap in terms of food, hospitality, and economy generally speaking, and is now much more elegant than it has ever been». To this city he dedicates a dish, Milano nel piatto (this is the new name: at D'O  it was recently called Milanese 2019, see Davide Oldani: l'arte, il design, i piatti 2018, il nuovo libro), which he prepares in front of the audience of Gastromasa, with the usual help of one of his sous chefs, Alessandro Procopio. He says: «Milanese cuisine is mostly for the autumn and winter, it’s not very colourful but it’s very rich in flavours». Milano nel piatto is the meeting of three traditional local delicacies: risotto with saffron, ossobuco and cutlets.

Milano nel piatto (photo by Tanio Liotta)

Milano nel piatto (photo by Tanio Liotta)

We start with the risotto, «and by the way they now grow saffron in the Milanese countryside...». Oldani uses it to make a wafer of rice and saffron. Then there’s ossobuco, «an "old", and rather heavy dish». The solution is to reduce it to a jus of veal ossobuco, with an infusion of rosemary and lemon zest that recalls the gremolada, all enclosed in a real bone, the shank, perfected by a craftsman from Cornaredo. Finally, the cutlet: a fillet (please note, a fillet) of veal diced and cook in a vacuum pack at low temperature (75°C) for 22-24 minutes and then roasted. «Gualtiero Marchesi already introduced cubes in 1988, he breaded them». Oldani doesn’t: the breadcrumbs arrive only at the end, they’re fried on the side, and then added on top of each cube of meat to add a crispy note that matches the extraordinarily soft fillet.

Milano nel piatto (photo by Tanio Liotta)

Milano nel piatto (photo by Tanio Liotta)

Final touch. «In the Eighties, in Milan you’d always find a slice of lemon on the side. You’d use it to squeeze a few sour drops on the fried food, in this case the cutlet». In the case of Milano nel piatto, the dish is already balanced, so there’s no need for this retro trick. «We need a less sour note, so we use some lemon zest, add some pear puree, and shape it», here’s the fake slice of lemon, sweeter than the original. There’s the hint, but the harmony is there.

«I’m here in Istanbul because as Italian chefs we’re trying to spread our identity. We’re not better than others, but we’re certainly different, perhaps unique» (Davide Oldani)

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Sections

Carlo Mangio

An outdoor trip or a journey to the other side of the planet?
One thing is for sure: the destination is delicious, by Carlo Passera