Fruit tartare with lime juice: the beauty of simple things
I heard sometimes ago a famous architect say that the reason why Italians are so good in fashion and design is simply that they grow up completely surrounded by beauty. If you’ve ever been to Italy you know what I mean: centuries of art are everywhere, even in small and unknown places. A city like Milan, famous mainly for business and fashion, is full of incredible pearls starting from “Last Dinner” by Leonardo da Vinci.
I really think that working in the kitchen or eating something is like creating or watching an art work: you are sometimes enchanted by sumptuous and elaborate things, other times you are attracted by simple things, let them take over and limit yourself to enjoy the flavor. That’s what happened to me with this fruit tartare and one year ago, when I entered the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari for the first time, in the southern part of Italy. It was the first time I saw a place builded in the Norman Gothic style and I was astonished. Everything was so simple, but incredible beautiful, with these massive bright stones and no colored decorations on the walls. I felt only light.
The story of the this place is amazing so, if you’re curious and want to know the story and find the recipe of something light and simple like my fruit tartare keep reading 😉
It was 1071 when this part of Italy was conquered by the Normans. With the political change the city of Bari lost political importance and therefore commercial trading. People needed to do something to revitalize the city and they found a strange solution: in 1087 a group of sailormen organized an expedition to southern Asia Minor and came back with the relics of Saint Nicholas (I know: technically it’s a theft but I suppose it’s too late to punish them!). To honor the Saint relics that rapidly generated a stream of pilgrims giving back a great importance to the city, the Barians decided to build this church. There is a legend about this Basilica, saying that the place was builded to celebrate the Holy Grail. Bari was in fact the port used by the Crusaders to reach the Holy Land…
Going back to my recipe: the problem is that when you go to Italy you find not only beautiful art works everywhere, but also great food! So I came back after 10 days and I’m sure that my scale screamed “hey you!! Get off immediately! Do you want to kill me??!!” You know, it’s a terrible scale but she has been with me for years and I tought to preserve her cooking something light. Luckily, like the Saint Nicholas Basilica’s story tells, there’s no reason why something simple and light cannot be beautiful to see and good to eat 😉 Hope you enjoy it!
half a melon
1 spoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of rum
juice of 1 lime
Peel and cut the fruit in very small cubes. Put in a large bowl, add sugar, the juice of 1 lime and a teaspoon of rum. Toss and put in the fridge for few hours. Spoon the fruit inside a pastry ring to make a nice shape and….eat it!