It's uncommon to find a Japanese household where dishes from around the world are commonly cooked. The number of cooking utensils and steps that differ from traditional Japanese cuisine can certainly be daunting to remember and master.
But there are a few cooks willing to give it a try.
“Meals Japan and Italy both center on seasonal vegetables and grain," says Italian cuisine expert Kuniaki Arima. "There are many similarities, such as the use of seasonings.”
Arima introduces bollito, an Italian-style hotpot with meat and vegetables. The key is to cook slowly over low heat. Salsa verde, or green sauce, enhances the flavor. Serves two.
1 large piece of chicken leg without bone
1/2 large carrot
1/2 large celery stalk
Seasonal vegetables (1 turnip, 1/3 head broccoli)
1 dried tomato (if available)
1 bay leaf
30 grams Italian parsley
2 cured anchovy fillets
1/2 clove garlic
1 Tbsp pine nut
1 Tbsp grated cheese
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
Cut unpeeled carrot into 3-cm slices. Peel potato and cut in half. Remove fibrous strings from celery and cut diagonally into 5-cm slices. Cut chicken into four to six pieces.
Place these ingredients, dried tomato and bay leaf in heavy pan. Add water to cover ingredients (about 4 cups), place lid but create small opening.
Place over low heat to raise temperature slowly. Bring to a boil, remove scum and floating fat to keep soup clear. Cook about 20 minutes until carrot softens.
To make salsa verde, chop parsley leaves. (Tie stalks with string and place in soup.) Chop garlic and grind in mortar with anchovies. Add pine nut and parsley, grated cheese in small amounts while grinding. Slowly add olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Add vinegar right before eating.
Check if carrot is cooked and add broccoli, unpeeled turnip cut in half and turnip leaves. Cook for another five minutes, add bit of salt in the end to give edge to flavor. Strain out ingredients and add salsa verde sauce and olive oil to taste.
From the vernacular Asahi Shimbun's Kashikoi Okazu column
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