I love to read. No, really. I love to read. I have been known to
ignore my family’s basic needs lose myself in a good book. I also love to cook. Therefore, this new feature was a complete no-brainer for me.
This time I’m cooking, along with six other bloggers, from Kate Quinn’s The Serpent and the Pearl. The story takes place in Rome, 1492 and tells the tale of the Borgia family. One of the main characters is Carmelina, the family cook. This book will make you hungry. Very, very hungry.
Carmelina is a complicated character, but one thing’s for certain; the girl can cook. And she knows it. Carmelina sees promise in a young, but talented kitchen-boy turned apprentice named Bartolomeo Scappi, who later becomes a famous Renaissance chef in real life. Many of Scappi’s recipes still survive.
To read what my fellow bloggers have created click the links below:
- Island Vittles, Fresh Cheese & Onion Tourte
- Inn at the Crossroads, Peach Tourte
- The Mom Chef: Taking on Magazines One at a Time, Sugared Biscotti & Elderflower Frittelle
- Kate Quinn, Author of The Serpent and the Pearl, Hot Sops with Cherries
- Lost Past Remembered, Roasted Shoulder of Boar with Dates, Prunes and Cherries
- Heather Webb, Author, Asparagus Zuppa and Zabaglione
Of the many dishes mentioned in the book, I chose the capon (chicken) with white wine, garlic and coriander. I’m really glad I did because it was delicious and will surely have a place in the dinner rotation.
Scappi’s original recipe calls for a lot of soaking in saltwater and cutting up half-baked chickens. Not that realistic for today’s world. Instead, I’ve decided to dry-brine chicken quarters in salt, preserved lemon, ground coriander and thyme. Dry-brining, much like wet-brining, takes some time. But you will be rewarded handsomely for your patience.
- Preserved lemon takes some time. The above link takes at least 6 weeks. I also found this link that only requires 2 weeks. I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know if it’s the same or not.
- This is the same method I used for the Zuni Cafe Roasted Chicken. It worked beautifully both times.
- The gravy served with the chicken is more jus than gravy. If you’d like it to be more gravy-like, simply add 1 tablespoon of flour to the cooking liquid before you reintroduce the chicken back into the dutch oven or skillet before it goes in the oven.
- Clove is a very strong flavor and not everyone likes it. If you don’t like clove, don’t add it. I won’t tell. You could add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg instead. Cloves and cinnamon just happen to be very popular in Renaissance cooking. They were in practically everything.