Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sitting on my bed on a Sunday night with a glass of iced tea seems like the perfect time to extol the merits of ciccoli.

Now, I've never been too keen on foie gras or pâté, in spite of my francophilic tenets and my mom's sworn oath of allegiance to spreadable meat. While I crave buttery and creamy textures, pâté and foie gras are simply too rich for my palate. This is why I typically stay away from terrine, sweetbread, and the like.

I was dining at Delfina on 18th and Guerro when I discovered the perfect solution to this problem; ciccoli (CHEE-cho-lee)! Ciccoli is, in theory, pork pâté, made from pork shoulders, rinds, and/or fat, depending on the recipe you encounter. The paste in then served atop crostini, fried, eaten solo, etc. Delfina served it up on top of crostini-like pieces of toast, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. At first taste, the saltiness of the olives in the paste were overpowering, but as I lingered over every bite, the richness of the pork, and the fragrant salinity of the olives were a match in heaven.

The moral of the story for pâté haters and foie gras phobics in danger of losing their foodie cred? Go get yourself some ciccoli.

ps. ciccoli is noticeably more difficult to encounter than your standard charcuterie offerings. popular amongst bay area foodies is Paul Bertolli of fra'mani (based in Berkeley, CA!), and word on the street is that he has his own ciccoli recipe, found in his book Cooking By Hand. be on the look out!

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