Niederkofler, mountain taste

The chef from Alto Adige presents his menu for Contemporary Italian Chefs at Identità Expo

Norbert Niederkofler will be the protagonist at I

Norbert Niederkofler will be the protagonist at Identità Expo during the lunch events on Monday and Tuesday

Norbert Niederkofler, the second protagonist at Contemporary Italian Chefs, that is to say the lunch events on Mondays and Tuesdays with great chefs at Identità Expo, had to be an Expo-enthusiast: he loves discovering new cultures, has two innate passions for travel and cooking, which is, after all, often a journey across flavours. «This is a huge opportunity – he says – Unique, in fact: having Expo in Italy, in Milan, dedicated to food. The entire world is here, for six months».

As for him, he will use four dishes to condense his world, made of the mountains in South Tyrol which he already dishes out at St. Hubertus, the gourmet restaurant in hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano in Val Badia. For a long time the chef preferred crossing geographic and cultural borders yet today his research is focused on territory, «we have a crazy richness, a unique biodiversity: we need to use this advantage compared to other countries to the fullest».

Once upon a time there was a river trout: tartare, caviar, crispy skin

Once upon a time there was a river trout: tartare, caviar, crispy skin

The focus, therefore, is on the mountain and its products, following two imperatives: first, as already mentioned, territory, «our great traditional dishes are re-interpreted in the eyes of contemporaneity»; second, the reduction of waste to a minimum, which is the leitmotiv of the starter signed by Niederkofler this Monday and Tuesday (11th and 12th May. Remember, only at lunch, while in the evening the executive chef of Identità Expo, Andrea Ribaldone, will be at work in the kitchen): Once upon a time there was a river trout, that is to say Tartare, caviar, crispy skin.

Nothing is wasted, in this dish, and the same goes for mountain cooking, «which was often based on poor dishes, did not tolerate wastes and knew how to enhance them with creativity», just like the chef invests in terms of creativity and innovation. So this river trout bestows all its parts, as if it were a water pig: the meat becomes an exquisite, lightly smoked tartare; the skin is fried and becomes crispy; the bones are pan fried and browned, and by adding white wine they become the base for a sauce; the eggs are the sapid element in the dish, which has no use of salt.

Monograno Felicetti spelt fusilli with Tyrolean carbonara

Monograno Felicetti spelt fusilli with Tyrolean carbonara

The first course (which is in fact the second one in the meal) is delicious: Monograno Felicetti spelt fusilli in a South Tyrolean carbonara, made with egg cooked at low temperature, powdered speck and mountain ricotta. «A very fun, good looking, tasty and pleasing dish», the chef comments. Then there’s the Braised beef cheek with celery purée: the meat is cooked in a classic way and served with its sauce, the purée and the old-style marinated chanterelle mushrooms, «so we present both the sweet and sour taste and the aroma of the oil».

The sweet closing is characterised by purity and simplicity: Vanilla ice cream, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil. The seeds are caramelised, the oil would appear to be a daring combination but in fact it perfectly matches the rest, «and it’s good for your health too», Niederkofler giggles.

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Carlo Passera

journalist born in 1974, for many years he has covered politics, mostly, and food in his free time. Today he does exactly the opposite and this makes him very happy. As soon as he can, he dives into travels and good food. Identità Golose's editor in chief

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