“…e vedi che ti mangi!”
Mola di bari is all about… taste!
Here’s ten typical Apulian dishes that will send your taste buds on a culinary vacation. Try them all and discover your favourite bite after bite!
Disclaimer: the following images contain a high caloric content and may not be suitable for all diets. Diner discretion advised!
“Braciole” with tomato sauce
They are rare to find in restaurants. “Braciole” are roulade of very tender meat, rolled around garlic, cheese and parsley. They are delicious, exquisite, tasty, unique! They are slowly cooked for hours in “tielle” (our baking trays) drenched in tomato sauce. Find someone who will invite you over for lunch to have a taste of the real stuff. Good luck!
Chicory and fava beans
“Fefe e foggjie” or “Fefe e cicuair” (fava beans and wild chicory in molese dialect) are the typical local dish. It is an essential part of the culinary heritage of Mola di Bari. Boiled and mashed, the fava beans are served with boiled chicory leaves. It is a simple dish, with an intense flavour and embodies all of the ancient Mediterranean dietary traditions. In his comedy, Aristofane claimed that this was Hercules’ favourite dish. Apparently it gave him the energy to turn 1000 virgins’ status..try it and maybe you’ll tell the tale!
Stuffed mussels and cuttlefish
There are many ways to cook molluscs and seafood, but stuffing them with egg, bread, cheese, garlic and parsley is an idea that would make any mouth water. Stuffed mussels and cuttlefish drenched in tomato sauce are typically served either as a starter or as a delicious second course, depending on their size and how many you can eat! Delicious even cooked au gratin. Enjoy!
It’s vegan, it’s organic, it’s local. It can substitute a meal and it’s a delicious snack. With fresh tomatoes, with boiled tomatoes, with potatoes, double leavening, white, “barese” (like in Bari) and crunchy, “molese” (like in Mola) and soft, any way you will try it, it will bewitch you. It’s not hard to find, all you have to do is trust your sense of smell and you will find the closest bakery.
Deep fried fish
Deep fried fish and seafood is the culinary signature of Mola di Bari. Only here you will find such a variety of fishes, molluscs and crustaceans freshly caught by the trawlers. They paint your plate with colours and perfumes you will have never seen nor smelled before. Octopus, squid, shrimp, cod, mullet and scaldfish, do not let the bones scare you because the deep fried magic will make it super easy for you to remove them.
Orecchiette with rapini
“Orecchiette” are a typical shape of pasta produced by Apulians since the 12th century. Rapini, or broccoli rabe, is a vegetable common in our region, has a long green stalk with broccoli-like florets on the top. It has a delicate taste. Boiled and salted, then stirfried with garlic or onion, rapini makes a unique and surprisingly delicious dish. As a moral duty to your taste buds, please try this.
Deep fried or baked, the typical “molese” eats it standing, the daring eat it sitting down, with their legs spread to avoid getting burnt by the unexpected bouncing of the mozzarella and sauce, whose temperatures reach lava levels. Traditionally you would cook them at home for religious celebrations. The raising dough is often cut in pieces and blessed, to encourage “the saving of the soul” and the rising of the dough, of course.
Genuine, fleshy and of intense flavour. The common octopus is an Apulian culinary excellence. It is a delicacy that most cultures on the continent overlook. You can have it in a toasted bun, barbecued accompanied by an extra virgin olive oil dressing, or boiled and chopped into a fresh salad.
Rice potatoes and mussels
….And the courgette?
This main course is a flavour party: our favourite sea food, the mussel, is the main feature of this dish, defined the apulian “paella”.
This recipe has been passed down in families for centuries. Over time people have created some varieties, for example the version from Bari, which adds finely sliced courgettes to the original recipe with onion, garlic, parsley, pepper, potatoes and rice. It’s a rich and original dish, it is a must do!
The sea, raw and roe
During the months with an “R” (FebRuaRy, MaRch and so on) you must take advantage of nature’s fruits and try sea urchin roe. Also, a local delicacy is raw sea food: finely sliced squid (so called “tagliatelle”, right, just like the pasta), mussels, horse (here called“hairy”) mussels, clams, cockles, oysters, shrimps, prawns, octopus, cuttlefish and everything else the anglers offer at the fish market. The faint “bellied” and the allergic, beware! Take the necessary precautions and be prepared to be surprised by these unusual and acquired flavours.