Chef Vincenzzo Zizza (Chef Tony) from the award winning Italian restaurant – Fratelli Fresh has crafted a special four course menu by interesting usage of one constant ingredient — Basil. In an interview with The Talking Desk, Chef Tony takes us through a culinary journey that focuses on the Indian herb.
How would you describe Italian cuisine?
Italian food is food for the soul and the heart. Italian cuisine is simple, uses fresh and few ingredients in the dishes. Italian cuisines retains the original flavors and aromas of the ingredients used and uses accompanying ingredients to best enhance the dish. The portions of Italian cuisines are hearty, wholesome and to be share with all.
What is the Basil Food Fiesta at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel all about?
Basil food fiesta is gourmet feast inspired by the exquisite and inimitable flavor of ‘Basil’. We have crafted a special four course menu by interesting usage of one constant ingredient — Basil. We promise to dish out delectable soups, entrée, main course dishes and desserts, by skilful blending of ingredients that accentuate the subtle essence and taste of Basil.
Tell us about how you’re using basil to dish out a delectable four course meal?
The menu is a four course menu incorporating – Zucchini Impanati panna cotta, crema di basilico e parmigiano (a slice of zucchini in savory breadcrumbs, pan-fried and served with a slightly spicy panna cotta, cream of basil and parmesan) or Panzerotto napoletano canzone style pizza (Pizza pastry filled with mozzarella and basil, served with crunchy tomato). Seafood lovers can relish the Gamberi con tartare di basilico e jalapeno (cocktail of prawns with jalapeno and basil tartar sauce). Savor the fresh zest of Basil in flavorful soups like Stracciatella di carciofini e basilica (clear soup with artichoke, egg, basil and parmesan cheese) or Minestrone alla Genovese (mixed vegetable soup with basil pesto). Main course includes Penne con salsa di noci, olive e basilica (penne pasta with walnut, olive and basil pesto), Tournedo’ di sogliola con salsa carrettiera poached (fillet of Asian sole with spicy tomato-onion-basil relish) and Saltimbocca dipolloallagriglia con burrata al pesto (grilled chicken breast with parma ham topping with mozzarella and pesto relish). To sustain the tempo of Basil laced food fare; end your meal with the unusual gelato al basilica (basil gelato).
How easy/ difficult was it to craft the menu?
Crafting a specialty menu using one ingredient can be challenging. It requires a lot of creativity, a flare for combing classic and unique combination in terms of ingredients and flavours and the ability to create something wonderfully new off the same.
Why is basil an important ingredient? Enlighten us on this Indian herb.
Basil is called the ‘King of herbs’ owing to its distinct flavor and aroma. It is used widely in Italian cuisine and goes extremely well with tomato as an ingredients. Thai cuisine is huge on basil or horapa as it is called and apart from being an integral part of Thai curries it is also had raw with som tam salad. In Indian cuisine it used in a lot of wellness diets, soups and salads. Sabza or basil seeds are also a part of many a soothing summer drinks in northern India. Few basil leaves added to our nimbu paani can too enhance the flavor. Basil tea too is a trend that is catching up India.