Chef Pat Pascarella of Norwalk’s marvelous Bar Sugo restaurant demonstrated his playful touch in making this delightful antipasto platter for spectators at yesterday’s Westport Farmer’s Market. Chef Pat proved to be both an imaginative cook and an intriguing raconteur as he explained the components of this marvelous platter.
Mortadella is an Italian sausage made from diced pork and pork fat, to which they add cream and egg whites, giving it a high moisture content. It is then hung to dry in caul fat. Since the sausage originated in the Bologna region it is a distant relative of the simpler American bologna sausage.
Chef Pat describes Burrata winkingly as “one of the finest foods in the world.” It is made from mozzarella and cream. It is made from scraps of mozzarella mixed with crème and used to fill an outer shell of mozzarella. The result is a creamy cheese that looks like mozzarella, but is soft and spreadable. Traditionally, this ball is wrapped in asphodel leaves to add a bit of flavor. This is a fresh cheese, and you should plan to eat it right away as it is only good for about 48 hours.
- ¼ lb Mortadella
- 2-3 Tb olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, chopped
- Salt, pepper
- 1 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup tomato puree
Pascarella’s approach is to turn Mortadella into a sauce that you can use as part of any of a number of dishes. He starts by cubing the Mortadella and sautéing the cubes in olive oil. Be careful not to burn it, but let it color a little and then remove it from the pan, leaving the olive oil behind.
- Saute the garlic and shallot slowly at low heat until translucent.
- Add salt and pepper
- Add the sherry vinegar and cook down to a syrup.
- Add the white wine and cook down again to a syrup.
- Add the Mortadella back in, and add the chicken stock and tomato puree.
- Cook slowly for an hour to make a sort of jam-like reduction.
Plating the antipasto
- Fresh cherry and other colorful tomatoes. Pat found some Zebra tomatoes at Sport Hill Farm’s stand.
- Fresh plums, red and yellow.
- Pickled peppers, freshly made from your garden
- Two balls of Burrata
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
- Fig Vincotto Vinegar
- Mustard greens (he buys them from Two Guys from Woodbridge where they raise them hydroponically). They add a sort of peppery taste.
- Purple basil leaves
- Scatter a few streaks of the Mortadella reduction on the serving plate. (At Bar Sugo, they use small pizza pans to continue the playful approach)
- Slice the tomatoes into little wedges and scatter on the plate.
- Slice the plums and scatter them as well.
- Cut pieces of the Burrata and arrange them between the tomatoes and plums
- Add a few pickled peppers
- Sprinkle the platter with olive oil and sea salt, and add a few purple basil leaves. Pat says that they have a planter of basil in front of the restaurant and collect some from it every day.
- Dot the platter with the Fig Vincotto Vinegar (or a thick balsamic vinegar)