I'm sure he did his bit helping to evacuate the women and children or whatever, but I just love the idea that his hunk of Parmesan was of such profound importance to him that he was damned if he'd allow it to melt away in some nasty fire.
Truly a man of high principle and considered priority!
|Anchovy-fried Crostini with Parmesan shavings|
Our Sammy wouldn't have been sprinkling it on Spag Bol or Risotto which were still centuries away from London's menus, but clearly it was one of the most valuable and treasured imports at the time (some say more expensive than gold).
You can imagine the men of the late Renaissance tucking into big hunks of meat with some gently melting Parmesan on top, giving the flavour an umami boost. I'd hazard that they also whacked a bit in when making soups and stews.
Improved import channels with Parma mean that it's not so expensive these days and possibly not worth burying in the event of fire, but it's remarkable how Parmesan has stood the test of time.
We're still finding new things to sprinkle it on to make them taste even better - and here's a brand new recipe that does just that.
This is an extremely rich, buttery recipe that works best as a canape or amuse bouche.
Ingredients - makes 8:
Fresh baguette, cut into eight slices, about a quarter of an inch thick
French butter, loads (use unsalted if you don't want it too salty)
Anchovy fillets, 8-10, chopped and drained
|Watch them fish dissolve...|
Gently melt some, but not all of the butter on a low heat in a frying pan and, when it's melted, add the anchovy bits.
These should dissolve within a couple of minutes, and you'll have a purpley sludge in the pan.
Turn up the heat slightly and add the slices of bread, ensuring they all get coated with the anchovies. When the pan looks like drying out, add some more butter and continue to fry the bread. A couple of minutes on each side should do it.
You'll know it's done when the bread is starting to feel crispy, but not rigid. It will crisp up further when you take it out of the pan.
A few Parmesan shavings on top and you're ready to serve it immediately.