Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Salumi.

On my way home from work I ran through the supermarket, collecting a loaf of bread and a chicken (for roasting, later in the week) along the way. I ask J. if he wants any of the salami I bought at Salumi yesterday; he sends back a text: No. Something's come up. Fine. More for me. Moving on, I can see my dinner coming together in my mind: a Caprese salad, some crusty bread, a selection of salami, perhaps some fruit to follow. The short blocks between the supermarket and home seem to disappear. It is early, but I had a late breakfast and no lunch, and I am hungry. First: the salad. There is half a tomato in a bowl in the fridge, and half a ball of mozzarella bobbing around in a plastic tub filled with water. I slice the tomato, first, and then the cheese, arranging the tomato haphazardly across a plate and laying the cheese on top. I forgo olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and forget the basil, though I remember to sprinkle everything with a generous amount of sea salt.

The crunch of the salt brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes - and they are incredibly sweet, rippled irregular blobs of heirloom tomatoes. Sadly, they were plucked from bins arranged beneath the cold fluorescent glare of the supermarket aisles instead of the warmth of someone's garden, or the farmer's market. But the mozzarella was made fresh yesterday morning, hand-pulled and twisted into a bumpy white orb. It has a texture to it, a springy bite, without being too hard or rubbery. It feels the height of luxury to sit at my dining table and eat a whole plate of thickly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, instead of a few delicate bites artfully arranged on a white plate and drizzled with some essence of this or that in some restaurant, having to share these sweet morsels. It is like having a whole jar of caviar to oneself, a whole truffle to shave over a plate of pasta or stuffed into an omelet. I feel greedy, in the best kind of way. But there is more to come.

The bread is good, too, a country loaf with a crackling crust and a soft, but not too soft, interior. I slice enough to make three small sandwiches, one of each kind of salami, and then slice each little sandwich in half. I suppose I could have used mustard, or butter, or cheese, some kind of green, more tomato, but really all I need is the salami and the bread. The hot sopressata is spicy and peppery, terrific. I think I like it best. The Agrumi is scented with orange zest and cardamom, and it is unexpectedly sweet (but non troppo - not too much so), which I find slightly unnerving. It is very good all the same, though. The molé is darker, more intense, a little spicy with ancho and chipotle peppers, rounded out with chocolate and cinnamon, which give depth and flavor without sweetness. No, maybe I like this one best. Actually I like them all, and I cannot wait to try more.

I head downtown for a spot of retail therapy and return home with a shopping bag bursting with all sorts of things (but they are not food related, and therefore unimportant), as well as a small tub of frozen yogurt, only a little melted by the short journey home. Red Mango recently opened an outpost downtown, and their plain frozen yogurt is the perfect end to the evening, slightly tart, sweetened with chunks of ripe mangoes and strawberries. And a good night to all.

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