The da Fiore Cookbook – Damiano Martin
By Phil Torre
Tucked away on a small side street, a few minutes walk from the Rialto Bridge in Venice is Osteria da Fiore, considered by many to be the best Restaurant in Venice. I had the good fortune to dine there on my recent trip to Italy and it was definitely one my most memorable dining experiences.
Unfortunately, it is probably going to be a very long time before I go to Venice again and have the opportunity to dine in this wonderful restaurant once more. The good news is that with the release of The da Fiore cookbook by Damiano Martin, those of us who can’t make it to Venice, to eat there in person, can try our hand at preparing some of chef Mara Martin’s wonderful creations at home.
Da Fiore was started by the author’s parents Mara and Maurizio Martin in 1978 as a local eatery serving cichete, Venetian bar snacks. Over the years, powered by Chef Mara’s simple yet innovative cuisine, it has developed into an elegant trattoria that has been awarded a star by the prestigious Michelin guide.
It should be of no surprise that the main attraction of Venetian cuisine is seafood and The da Fiore Cookbook gives us scores of incredible seafood dishes. There are traditional dishes such as Venetian-Style Sweet and Sour Sardines, Spaghetti with Clams and Venetian Fish Soup as well as the chef’s own creations including Steamed Sea Bass with Stewed Apples and Aged Balsamic Vinegar.
Although seafood is the star, there are other great recipes such as Risotto with Aromatic Herbs, Zucchini and Basil Soup and also Pumpkin Gnocchi with Parmigianno, Sage, and White Truffles. The latter is a dish I have made several times since receiving this cookbook, and it is always a crowd pleaser.
All of the recipes in the book are clearly written and easy to follow, with introduction paragraphs that give good insight into the dishes as well as providing a window into da Fiore’s kitchen. The opening chapters, which give a brief history of the restaurant along with an overview of Venetian cuisine, also contribute to make this a very interesting and well-rounded cookbook that you are sure to enjoy.
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2003