Davide Oldani: blood explorations

The chef from Cornaredo rendered great Lombard classics (like cassoeula) through unusual lab techniques

Davide Oldani of D'O in Cornaredo holds a co

Davide Oldani of D'O in Cornaredo holds a container with veal blood processed in a lab centrifuge machine. This resulted in an albuminous whey used as the basis for a deconstructed and lighter Cassoeula (translated from Italian by Slawka G. Scarso)

Davide Oldani is a veteran and coeval of Identità Milano: this year the congress reaches its 13th edition, his D’O turns 14. Yet since last June he’s moved 50 metres to the back: «It took us a few years but finally we’ve managed to build the more ambitious vehicle that Paolo Marchi had been invoking for a long time». Not without difficulties: «I thought we’d adapt sooner, but now we’re up to speed».

The new location in Cornaredo follows the home concept, explains Oldani on stage with the trusted Alessandro Procopio and Costantino: «There’s the kitchen and the dinette – don’t call it a chef’s table – a lounge and a veranda and even a studio for experiments, for which we invest 5% of revenues». The dishes presented in this morning lesson come from that very test kitchen. «They’re 3 new touches of Lombard cuisine», following Riso e zafferano, the emblematic dish from Expo 2015.

Oldani’s Cassoeula: served on fragments of porcelain: in the middle, the plate guests must lick

Oldani’s Cassoeula: served on fragments of porcelain: in the middle, the plate guests must lick

The first of the 3 dishes presented explores a great classic from Milan/Brianza/Lombardy, namely Cassoeula, «We wondered: can we keep the original flavour while making this recipe more elegant, light and modern?» The basic ingredients are the classic ones: «Jowl bacon and pork rind, salamino verzino and veal blood». The blood is processed in the laboratory centrifuge: «By using a speed of 7500 km/second, we separated whey from platelets and white and red blood cells». Unexpectedly, the whey is albuminous, «Something that made me immediately think of eggs. So I thought of whisking it and make a meringue». With the other residual half he created a very classic civet, a very velvety and tasty sauce. Tradition and future.

The other important component of this cassoeula is the way it’s presented: «I was inspired by my daughter who’s not yet 3. She always enjoys licking the plate at the end. This is why I designed a long and narrow plate, with two potholders so you can lift it». On top of it, he draws a thin layer of civet sauce, cabbage and onion, which you must lick from the top to the bottom. On the side there are two fragments of china, each piece is a dish by itself. On top of one piece, there’s rib and jowl bacon, on top of the other a syphoned verzino and the pork rind. Next to them, a dehydrated and then fried cabbage wafer. «I’ve always hated blood. This way I’ve broken a taboo».

Davide Oldani with Alessandro Procopio in the backstage of Identità

Davide Oldani with Alessandro Procopio in the backstage of Identità

In the second tasting, the albuminous whey is whisked with sugar so as to make a meringue which is then spread and dehydrated. On top of this, Oldani places a ganache of 74% chocolate made with two crus. «At the new D’O we also use a little caviar – it’s a first for us». The dish, beautiful and delicious in its harmonic contrasts, is called Sanguinaccio “Masapan”.

The third dish is the result of the same attempt to give a new shape to a classic from Lombardy that risks extinction: cartilage. The damp gelatine is reduced, making a thick juice that is then poured into a non-stick pan. This results in a crispy and very versatile wafer: «By adding salt, it’s a great aperitif; with sugar it’s perfect for petit fours». He completes it with a white coffee mousse. Even in this case, served on fragments of porcelain. Unrepeatable shapes.


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