When summer finally hits my farm in Tuscany, a dramatic change occurs in the way my mom runs her kitchen. It’s not really a matter of ingredients, but a whole around attitude about how our family likes to eat when the days get longer and temperature rises in the 90s, sometimes the 100s.
Nothing is more heartwarming than entering a home during a cold winter day and be reassured by the smell of a slow cooking boar stew and by the view of an open bottle of red wine. Summertime though is a whole different ball game, and with a few simple tricks our kitchen transforms into a pit stop for the whole family during the day, leading all the way up to a late dinner, when some breeze starts bending the dry hay in the fields and we can finally get out of the house and set up a nice table in the middle of the garden.
Room temperature dishes, cold drinks and fruit are a great way to keep up a pace in those days. Most of the food is prepared in the early morning when it is bearable to stand in front of the stove, some is left covered by nets on the dining room table and some gets its place in the refrigerator. Our summertime days have always been (for the most part) a never ending brunch: cold pasta, frittata, panini, seasonal fruit salads, cured meats and just a few cheeses. Ice tea, prosecco, beer and white wine always populated the refrigerator’s door, properly lined up, like little soldiers ready to defend our right to quench thirst.
This recipe is perfect for entertaining, if your menu is in need of a nice single position appetizer, but once ready and set on a cutting board on the kitchen table it also becomes a wonderful snack that can be enjoyed throughout the day. Play with the filling ingredients, eggs are a great way to recycle leftovers so try these cakes with those roasted potatoes from last night, some grilled vegetables, maybe a few bits of sautéed pancetta. And yes, you can skip all the cured meats and go vegetarian, maybe add some mozzarella or provolone… just remember to oil properly the molds and allow proper time to cool off the cakes. The slices of Capocollo really help the un-molding process as they crust up a bit and slide out of the pan with ease, eggs alone are a little bit more tricky.