Pancotto con patate e erbe selvatiche
The Apulian pancotto is a unique dish of humble birth, related to the rural tradition. The antiquity of this recipe is lost deep in the past, and is best represented in the popular wisdom expression: Jesus Christ has grown with the pancotto. The pancotto with potatoes and herbs is a soup that used to be prepared with many herbs, depending on what was found. Today it’s made with wild chicory, borage, cicorione, cascigno, wild fennel. The vegetables cook in boiling water together with potatoes, garlic and tomato. The best bread to use in the pancotto is still stale home-made bread, soaked for a few minutes in the cooking soup. When the soup is ready it’s served with some extra virgin olive oil.
There are many variants of the Apulian pancotto, depending on which herbs are in it. You can add some turnip greens or some rocket, eggs, cheese or ricotta. This kind of food was enriched with more ingredients, especially during religious festivities, like the Immaculate Conception, or All Saint’s Day.
Zuppa di pesce
The fish soup of the Puglia region, also called Ciambotto, is a dish that originated in the poor kitchens and was realized with the fishermen’s leftovers after selling the better quality fish. Obviously, today it’s prepared with any kind of fish or shellfish, like scampi and lobsters, to flavour the dish. It’s the variety of ingredients that gives to the soup each time a different taste. To prepare the soup you have to lightly fry, in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley and after some time the tomato. Then, along with some water, the fish is added, being careful to put first the one that requires more cooking time. This delicious soup is beste served along with toasted bread or with short pasta, for a great first course.
Zuppa di fave e cicorie
The broad beans and chicory soup is also a dish from the poor kitchens of Puglia. It goes back in the rural tradition, when cereals and beans were the basis for the alimentation and broad beans, typical summer food, were dried and stored for many months. The soup can be prepared both with dried or fresh broad beans, the taste will be slightly different but equally amazing. The broad beans stay in boiling water until they become a dense cream, to which is added some olive oil, while the chicory is boiled and put in a pan with lightly fried garlic, oil and chilli. The soup is best served in a bowl together with the chicory, accompanied by toasted home-made bread, a real delight!